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Ride Rating System

The BAC has a Ride Rating system that can tell you what to expect while on one of our rides. Learn more...

Historic Roaring Fork Valley

  • Arrival
  • 8/7/2023
  • Departure
  • 8/17/2023
  • Ride Director
  • Mark Janer
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Christine Bartlett
  • Driver
  • Boyd Peart
  • Starting Location
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Finishing Location
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $2600
  • Deposit
  • $1500
  • Number of Riders
  • 24 (min. 21 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 0
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating


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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $85 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

Experience a ‘Rocky mountain high’ when riding in Colorado’s most stunning scenery. Stay in historic towns and four unique upscale hotels including 3 nights in downtown Aspen! During this 10 day ride in the Roaring Fork River Valley, you can visit some truly spectacular places on your bike. Most of the required move-day routes are on paved and well-maintained dedicated bicycle paths that follow former railroad grades.  This very popular ride was developed and directed by Bob and Anne Smith since 2015 with high ratings from participants. We are taking over the reins from them with the same hotel locations and routes. 

You will have the opportunity to hang out at the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool. Bike and hike to the scenic crystal clear Hanging Lake. Explore Redstone Historic District and the Crystal River Valley. Bike scenic Marble Colorado which is the source of some of the world’s finest white marble. Bike the Frying Pan River Valley, a fly fishing gold-rated destination. Spend three idyllic days in Aspen (elevation 8,000 feet) which is a historic silver mining town and today is a world-class winter and summer destination. It is also a great base to explore and bike optional higher elevations including 12,100 foot Independence Pass or Maroon Lake (9,600 feet) where you can hang out for a while and bask in the shadow of the Maroon Bells, two of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks. With an easy 3-block walk you can enjoy the old downtown in Aspen where you can buy ice cream (a BAC favorite) and have coffee while listening to the summer musicians playing on the street corners. And cap off your day in the hotel pool to soothe your tired muscles.  All bikes are accepted, including tandems, ebikes and rentals. 

The ride begins and ends in Glenwood Springs and parking is available for those who want to leave their cars during the ride.  There are 4 required ride days as we move between hotels and a minimum of 2 consecutive nights at each location (Aspen is 3 nights) which allows time to explore the surrounding areas. The hotels in Redstone and Aspen have pools if you would rather spend a day relaxing. 


All participants must be fully vaccinated including boosters prior to starting the tour and be prepared to present vaccination documentation for viewing by Ride Leader if requested. If we still have a Covid risk, we will follow all the necessary rules and change activities as needed to remain Covid compliant and keep the tour as safe as possible.

This tour is at high elevations and could be more difficult than the ride rating indicates.  Glenwood Springs is 5671 feet which is 400 feet higher than the mile-high city of Denver. The rating for this tour is 2A!. For the standard rides, the average daily elevation gain is 1767 feet, averaging 30 miles per day. The last day of the ride is 43 miles which exceeds the A-rating but is mostly downhill with a gradual elevation decline of 2,500 feet. Several of the optional rides are out and back so you can ride as far as you choose or in some cases add distance. 

There are four required riding days as we move between hotels. The daily distances and elevation gains for those days are as follows: move to redstone: 30 miles/1661 ft elevation gain, move to Basalt: 28 miles/717 ft elevation gain, move to Aspen: 20 miles/1728 ft elevation gain, move to Glenwood Springs: 42 miles/633 ft elevation gain (and the elevation decline on this day is 2,783 ft).

There are no steep grades on this ride, unless you decide to make the optional climb up Independence Pass, which is rated as a 4B with a 4100 ft climb over 19 miles from Aspen to the pass, topping out at 12,095 feet. Aspen is 8000 ft. and the planned optional rides are uphill from there. Of course, that means that the return portion of the ride is mostly downhill.  For instance, Aspen to Maroon Lake is a climb of about 2000 feet with a moderate grade (the road portion to Maroon Lake is mostly closed to vehicles during the day except for a few busses). With the exception of about 10 miles in and out of Redstone and the off day routes in Basalt and Aspen, the majority of the routes are on the paved Rio Grande Trail. All roads and routes are paved and typically lightly traveled.

After you are accepted on the ride, GPS data, cue sheets, daily itineraries and route details will be available for saving offline and self-printing from the BAC website under the Ride Leader Docs section for this ride listing.  RWGPS tracks will be provided for all routes, but it is up to you to know how to use your GPS device before the trip begins. Participants wanting paper cue sheets will need to print them from the RWGPS files provided.  No hard-copy paper documents will be provided.

August is typically the most comfortable time to bike in the Colorado Roaring Fork region. Average temperatures in Glenwood Springs in early to mid-August range from lows in the upper 40s and highs in the lower 80s, and in Aspen averages are lows in the mid-40s and highs in 70s. We may experience afternoon thunderstorms throughout the valley with precipitation averaging an inch for August. 

The tour includes 10 nights accommodation in 4 hotels, 5 continental breakfasts,  4 group dinners, and 10 social hours with snacks and beverages. The first two nights are at the Historic Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs and we will return to the same hotel for our final night. Other locations we will be staying are two nights at the Historic Redstone Inn, two nights at the renovated Basalt Mountain Inn in Basalt, and three nights at the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Hearthstone House in Aspen, which is conveniently located near the center of town.  In Glenwood Springs, free parking for the duration of the trip is available at the Hotel Colorado's north parking area off Pine Street with a parking permit issued by the hotel registration desk. 

We will meet in the hotel lobby for a brief opening meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 7, 2023, then proceed on a short walk to a local brewpub for dinner. On Day 3 we will have a catered happy hour & dinner at the Redstone Inn. On Day 8 we will have a BBQ Taco Buffet dinner at the Hearthstone House. Our closing dinner will be on Wednesday, August 16 at the Hotel Colorado and the ride officially ends the following morning, Thursday Aug 17, 2023. Breakfasts are not provided at the hotels in Glenwood Springs and Redstone but both hotels have restaurants where you can purchase your own breakfast if desired.

The ride begins and ends in Glenwood Springs at the Hotel Colorado.  The first meeting will be at 5pm on Monday August 7, 2023.  The ride will end Thursday morning, August 17.  Glenwood Springs can be reached via the Aspen airport (43 miles from town via taxi or free bus for those 65 years and older on the RFTA), Denver International Airport (220 miles), or Eagle Airport (70 miles). Colorado Mountain Express provides service from DEN directly to Glenwood Springs, and the Hotel Colorado is one of the standard stops, making it easy to get from DEN to Glenwood and back. Glenwood Springs is also accessible via AMTRAK

The Hotel Colorado, where we stay at the beginning and end of the ride, will provide secure bike storage and excess luggage storage for the duration of trip. If you'd like to ship your bike and have it assembled or you plan to rent a bike, several bike shops are in the area and arrangements must be made directly with them and are the sole responsibility of the trip participant renting the bike. A google maps search is one way to find them.  

Please note: if you are planning on renting an e-bike in Glenwood Springs, be sure to explain to the shop your expected daily riding miles and elevation in order to rent the appropriate bike.  In 2021 there was limited availability of e-bike models that could reasonably be expected to meet those requirements however the shops had plenty of less-capable e-bike models because most of their renters are single day and weekend tourists who visit the immediate area.  Contact the ride director for more information.  If you definitely need an e-bike for this ride you should reserve one well in advance.  Do not expect to walk into a shop and find one when you arrive.

A van will be available to transport luggage and supplies.  Participants are expected to complete the required rides as the van will not serve as a sag vehicle, however the van will be available to assist with any emergencies, or to accommodate riders who are sick or injured.

This ride was previously led by Bob and Anne Smith between 2015 and 2021.  We are grateful to them for developing the ride and routes.  This ride in 2023 will mirror the prior years which has been highly rated in participant surveys.   The estimated cost is $2600 + $50 non-refundable BAC registration fee. Register by clicking on the Sign Up link above the Ride Description. Following your acceptance and receipt of your $1,500 trip deposit and the $50 BAC admin fee, your name will be added to the Participant List. The deposit and BAC Fee will be collected via credit card when you sign the Release of Liability (ROL) form electronically. Final payment of $1,100 is due no later than March 31, 2023 and will be collected via credit card. Single riders will be accepted who are willing to share a room. The SOLO supplement (limit 1) is $1,120 due no later than December 31, 2022.  Note the following section on this subject. 

A “single” is a member who signs up by himself or herself and wishes to share a room with another participant. A “solo” is a member who signs up by himself or herself and does not wish to share a room. 

Singles: There are limited room types and availability in all locations except Glenwood Springs. It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own.  Singles will be asked to stay on the pending list until they find a roommate. There will be a limited time-frame to do so if there are more BAC members registered on the wait list. If a single is unable to find a roommate, they have the option to pay the $1,120 solo supplement (solos will be limited to a maximum of one). If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The Ride Director will introduce singles to find roommates, but singles must make their own rooming decision. 

Solo: Due to limited room available in all locations except for Glenwood Springs, a solo option will be available only if the tour does not fill within a few months and will be a maximum of one.  A solo supplement payment of $1,120 will need to be sent to the BAC office by Dec 31, 2022. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. They should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

The BAC Ride Registration Fee and Payment Processing Fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is canceled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the canceling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the canceling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from the Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and cleanup. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

Before participating in any BAC tour, you should assess whether your medical and travel insurance coverage is sufficient. BAC maintains insurance that covers expenses related to accidents. This coverage applies when touring inside the US, regardless of your nationality. It’s assumed that members’ personal insurance will cover medical emergencies such as sudden and unexpected sickness, so these have not been included in the BAC policy. You may want to consider personal coverage for emergency evacuation, as this is not included. The costs of treatment or quarantine for Covid and other unexpected illnesses are not covered. You should ensure that your vaccinations are up to date.

Participants need to be aware of their physical health and limitations when engaging in physical activity at higher elevations. Some medical conditions may be exacerbated at higher elevations and you may want to discuss this with your physician before signing up for this tour. The ride begins at 5,700 ft in Glenwood Springs to 8,000 ft in Aspen.  Routes provided for days while staying in Aspen can take you 2,000-4,000 ft higher depending on your selected route and destination. Consider arriving a day or two earlier to begin to acclimate to the elevation.

To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description.  When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List.  At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit of $1,500 by credit card.  As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List.  To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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