Last May I had the enjoyment of getting a couple first time bikepackers out for an overnight. It’s always amazing to get out for a night or two, even more fun with a few good buddies. For our route we chose the first three sections of the Colorado Trail (with shuttle) from the Wellington Lake Rd Trailhead back to Waterton Canyon.IMG_0428We started the morning off early with a drive from Fort Collins to Denver for our third member. Once properly caffeinated we headed to Waterton to drop of the pick up vehicle. After the short drive up 285 to the Wellington Lake Rd TH we hopped on the trail and were greeted with some excellent dirt as this trip took place shortly after the deluge of May in Colorado’s Front Range. The singletrack on section 3 was fast and fun. The trails were in great shape and had excellent traction. Add some great Colorado weather to our day and things were looking quite nice. Some rain rolled in at the end of the section but we were able to find shelter and it passed quickly. If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait five minutes…IMG_0326As we rolled into section 2, I was excited to have these guys enjoy some of my favorite fast sections of the CT. I have been able to ride this section quite a bit in the last few years and was excited not to have to climb Top of the World, but just to descend it. IMG_0346IMG_0349 We finished the section and set up camp just beyond the South Platte, about a quarter mile up the first climb. It was crucial to stop at the South Platte to fill bottles and bladders and to make sure some of our important guests could cool down…IMG_0364I caught a few Iris on the lower part of the climb as well, impressive to see them so colorful in the wild.IMG_0360We found a previously used site with a fire ring and enjoy the cold brews. Despite the weight I always enjoy a cold brew after hours in the saddle, a wonderful treat at the end of the day. It was a great end to a fun day.IMG_0388The next day started out with sunny skies and dry trails. I love the climb out of the South Platte on section 1, challenging but quite manageable to pedal all of it with some luck. A fun ride through the woods until we reached Lenny’s Rest where we stopped for a bit. The boys were quite pleased that it was downhill to the car.IMG_0425A nice spin down the canyon and we were back to the cars. It was great to share the fun with some first timers and enjoy some of the CT. I would highly recommend these sections for folks looking for a first night out, just don’t forget a can of something delicious, Cheers!!IMG_0433


  1. Dilton Tamu

    Are there steep cliff for bikers to fall greater than ~ 5-10 feet? Few of us are seriously thinking of doing CT, however we don’t want to do anything like steep cliff (ex – or ). Is there any section in CT that has any cliff riding where if someone falls, then the he/she would most likely end up dead? If there are some, is there detour which avoids such path? Any advice/help would be much appreciate. Thank you.

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      certainly nothing like that, maybe one section on Indian Trail Ridge, but you would need to walk to the edge, the trail is carefully thought out.

  2. Nat Williams

    Great Story. You think I can do these sections on a rigid touring bike with 700c x 38 tires with a bit of traction? The pictures of the trail do not look to rough and I know the Waterton Canyon section. Just getting into bikepacking and having fun getting the old road touring bike on rougher and rougher trails. Thanks for the great articles!

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