Colorado's Highest Cycling Climbs

#1
Mount Evans
USA, CO
#2
Pikes Peak
USA, CO
#3
Trail Ridge West
USA, CO
#4
Trail Ridge (Estes Park)
USA, CO
#5
Trail Ridge
USA, CO
#6
Independence Pass East
USA, CO
#7
Cottonwood Pass
USA, CO
#8
Independence Pass West
USA, CO
#9
Loveland Pass from Keystone
USA, CO
#10
Loveland Pass from Georgetown
USA, CO

Climb List: Colorado's Highest Cycling Climbs
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

Cycling Colorado's Highest Cycling Climbs

Cycling Highest Colorado bike climb - Mt. Evans - garmin headset, handlebars, elevation 14,080', dear, road

Mt. Evans is the highest paved road in North America.

We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to climb so many spectacular mountains around the world, including all of the US Top 10 Colorado Bike Climbs.  Nine out of Colorado’s top 10 highest cycling climbs are in Colorado (only the mighty Mauna Kea in Hawaii breaks a clean 10 for 10 sweep for the fourteener state!).    

THE HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN NORTH AMERICA, US, CO

MT. EVANS

Cyclist and Mountain Goat at Summit of Mount Evans, Colorado

This is it . . . the highest bike climb in all of North America.

27.4 miles, gaining 6,744’ to 14,130’.

Mt Evans, Colorado -- the highest paved road (therefore the highest paved climb by bike) in North America!  For all that strive to climb the hardest, the longest, the steepest, the highest, this is a must-do!  We go above tree line around mile 16 and the views from there to the top are unobstructed of the striking Rocky Mountains and several natural and beautiful lakes along the way.

Cycling Highest Colorado bike climb - Hwy 3, road to Mt. Evans, mountains in background 

Mt. Evans Road leading to Summit Lake six miles below the summit.

THE SECOND HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN COLORADO

PIKES PEAK

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks 

Cycling Pikes Peak, the second highest paved road in North America.

Ride 24.2 miles gaining 8,0347’ to 14,115’ at 6.1%

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks

42% less oxygen at the top of Pikes Peak than at sea level.

Cycling Highest Colorado bike climb - Pikes Peak summit sign with 3 cyclists on bikes on road passing it.

The summit - Official elevation 14,115’.

We have ridden Pikes Peak three times and consider it one of the most epic climbs in the world.  If we use the traditional and common definition of “epic” to equate to “legendary” or “monumental”, you would be hard pressed to ignore Pikes Peak.  This mountain is well known, if not famous.  It has been host to The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (aka Race to the Clouds) every year since 1916, the Pikes Peak Peak Ascent and Marathon (since 1956), and the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb.  Pikes Peak leaves nothing off the Most Epic Bike Climb Checklist: difficulty (#4 US/#23 world), elevation (#2 US), distance (#19 US) and varied scenery -- forests, lakes, hairpins, and unobstructed views of surrounding mountains and the Colorado Plains 8,000’ below.

THE THIRD HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN COLORADO

TRAIL RIDGE

Cycling Highest Colorado bike climb - Trail Ridge - cyclist on bike on road surrounded by trees with mountain in background.

Cycling Trail Ridge, CO

43.9 miles to 12,151’ gaining 7,770’ at 3% average grade. 

Cycling Top US Bike Climbs - Pikes Peak video - hairpins, switchbacks

Trail ridge has the distinction of being not only the fourth highest US bike climb,

but also the second longest US/fifth longest World.

At a finish elevation of 12,151’ (3,704 meters), Trail Ridge is the fourth highest bike climb and the highest continuous (i.e., not a dead end) paved road in the United States.  Traversing Rocky Mountain National Park, this climb offers spectacular views along the giant switchbacks 20 miles below a summit that tops out at just above 12,000'.  

THE FOURTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN COLORADO

INDEPENDENCE PASS

Bike climb Highest Colorado bike climb - cyclist at Independence Summit sign with bike

Independence Pass is yet another Colorado bike climb above 12,000’.

Indepence Pass is the highest pass in paved actual pass in the US at 12,095’. Mt Evans, Pikes Peak, Mauna Kea are higher but end at the top. Cottonwood Pass is a bit higher, but is not paved on one side.  Trail Ridge is slightly higher, but its high point is not marked as a “pass” (Iceberg Pass is down from the Trail Ridge high point at 11,827’).   Thus, Indepence Pass claims the prize for highest paved pass in the US.

THE FIFTH HIGHEST BIKE CLIMB IN COLORADO

COTTONWOOD PASS

Cycling Highest Colorado bike climb - cyclist at Cottonwood Pass summit sign with bike

Cycling Cottonwood Pass

Ride 19 miles gaining 4,258’ to 12,122’ at 4.1%.

Cottonwood Pass is an up-and-back ride, as the back side of the pass is not paved.  This is also one of only three of the 13 Colorado Top 100 U.S. Climbs that ends at the Continental Divide  (the other two being Independence Pass and Wolf Creek Pass).

 

View from the top of Cottonwood Pass.