Vanilla is boring. Rocky Road — that’s the taste of adventure. In more ways than one. Consider this: why do explorers always set their sights on conquering mountains? Mountains are big. They’re big and rugged and wild. That’s why they’re so damn sexy. Explorers and adventurers don’t get excited about vanilla. They want that Rocky Road. So do bikers. For motorcycle enthusiasts, a mountain is a dream ride. There’s only one way to get around it. You have to follow its contours. Which is why mountain routes are so wonderfully curvy (and delicious). And why they make for some of the best motorcycle rides in Colorado, home of the southern Rocky Mountains.
If you’re a lover of the Rocky Road, you’re going to drool over the curviest motorcycle rides in Colorado listed below.
If you like vanilla. We’re about to change your mind.
San Juan Mountain Skyway
When looking for curvy motorcycle rides in Colorado, a good place to start is with a loop. That way, you’ll definitely be going round some corners. The San Juan Mountain Skyway is more than just a loop though.
This mountainous motorcycle ride cuts a circular path through Southwest Colorado, taking in some of the Rock Mountains’ most scenic vistas. Full of cliff-edge hairpin turns and almost endless descents and climbs, this alpine route is not for the faint at heart, taking your ride above 10,000 feet in places. The loop begins in Ridgway, on Route 62, heading east to Durango and then west to Cortez. From then on it takes a northerly trajectory towards Telluride on Route 145, and then Placerville where you rejoin the 62 back to Ridgway.
So, who’s keen for a mountainous 225-mile motorcycle ride in Colorado?
The Walden Loop
From one loop to another. But this loop is one of the more special motorcycle rides in Colorado. That’s because the Walden Loop takes you across the Continental Divide. Twice. Channel your inner frontiersman and set a course for adventure and breathtaking scenery, riding past mountain lakes, through Poudre Canyon, and along the Poudre River.
The curviest section of the route is perhaps the 70-mile stretch of twisting, winding road from Fort Collins to Walden, on Route 14. From here take Route 125 south towards Granby, the switch north on Route 34 heading to Loveland to complete the trip. Be sure to keep an eye out for Big Horn Sheep, Moose, Elk and even Bald Eagles as you carve your way around and through Rocky Mountain National Park.
This is definitely an Instagram-worthy motorcycle ride.
The Black Canyon Run
At the risk of driving you loopy, here’s the first of our non-loop motorcycle rides in Colorado. The Black Canyon Run is a bit of a ‘there and back again’ route, coming in at about 32 miles. But what a 32 miles it is.
Starting at the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the ride twists you along a shelf of mesas and mountains, dipping in and out of canyons, moving from scrub desert to alpine aspen groves. Join Route 92 at Sapinero and head west towards Crawford, enjoying every mountainous up and down, twist and turn along the way.
Then, turn back, and enjoy it all again.
The “High 5” to Mount Evans
‘Short and sweet’ springs to mind with this particular route from Idaho Springs to Mount Evans. At 12 miles each way (it’s a 24-mile round trip) this is one of the shorter motorcycle rides in Colorado. But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in curviness.
From Idaho Springs, head south on the 103 and continue winding your way up Mount Evans to an altitude of about 14,264 feet. For context, skydivers typically exit an aircraft between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, deploying their parachutes at around 6,000 feet. In short, you get pretty high on this route. So make sure you take in all the views.
Pikes Peak Run
If you’ve got a head for heights, then consider the Pikes Peak Run. The ascent to 14,150 feet (the top of Pikes Peak) is full of tight turns and twists all the way from Crystal Creek Reservoir to the summit, making it one of the curviest motorcycle rides in Colorado.
The route starts at Manitou Springs and heads west on Route 24 before jumping off onto the Pikes Peak Highway. Be warned, this soon turns into Pikes Peak Toll Road which will set you back about $15 (at time of writing). But it’s worth it. The road is sumptuous and the views are stunning.
Just keep an eye on the temperature. It can get a bit chilly on the way up.
Old Fall River Road
So far in our rundown of the curviest motorcycle rides in Colorado, all the routes we’ve mentioned are paved and reasonably well-maintained. The Old Fall River Road offers you something a little bit different. A little more exciting. And even, a little bit dangerous.
This narrow one-lane dirt road winding through the Rocky Mountain National Park is a real challenge and true test of stamina. Full of cliff-face twists and turns, Old Fall River Road is an 11-mile mountain path from Horseshoe Park up to the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass, taking you to 11,796 feet above sea level.
Essentially, it’s the shorter, more rugged baby brother to the Trail Ridge Road, which runs parallel.
Trail Ridge Road
The jewel in the crown of motorcycle rides in Colorado has got to be the Trail Ridge Road. Also known as The Highway to the Sky, this particular route claims to be the highest paved road in the United States, rising to 12,183 feet.
Prepare yourself for a dream ride across 54 miles of alpine beauty, running from Estes Park to Grand Lake. Moose and Elk are a common sight along the route, and the views are dazzling. Sweep your way around this curvy motorcycle heaven and make sure you stop for photos. This is ‘peak’ Instagram territory.
Now you know the best and curviest motorcycle rides Colorado has to offer, isn’t it time you started planning your next trip out there?
Go on. Enjoy some Rocky Road.