Frequently Asked Questions
Why do the Trail Ridge tours start so early?
There are a couple chief reasons why we start our high altitude tours early in the day. First is our predominant high-altitude weather pattern: clear in the morning, clouds form mid-day and scattered rain showers and lightening possible in the afternoon. We are more likely to hit clear weather in the mornings. That said, it is not always so, weather is hard to predict, after all. This is the predominant weather pattern.
Second, Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular destination and the traffic on Trail Ridge Road is lightest in the morning. Trail Ridge Road at 9am is much calmer than 3pm in the middle of July.
How fast do you go?
Each tour will have a guide in the front of the line that will set the speed. Our average speed hovers around 18-20 mph. That said, each tour is a little different based on the abilities, desires and comfort levels of each member of the tour group. We try to accommodate those with a need for speed as well as those who want to take it slow and easy.
We want everyone to have fun and see our beautiful surroundings; we tend to take it slow rather than rush through the tour. Safety is important to us.
How much of the time are you on the bike?
Most of the tours involve a van ride on one or both ends of the tour, so the time noted for each tour includes vehicle time. In addition there is time getting fitted for bikes, stopping off at overlooks, picnic lunches, cinnamon rolls, taking photos and checking out wildlife when possible.
On average, we’re on a bike about half of the time allotted for the whole tour experience and of that time, each leg of the tours will last anywhere from 5-30 minutes.
What if the weather is bad?
Fortunately, the weather is generally cooperative and we can pull off our tours successfully even if we aren’t being offered a “blue bird” day. We do get days occasionally where it is evident that a bike tour won’t be either safe or fun due to the weather.
How many people are on each tour?
Group sizes vary. The average tour size is in the 4-8 people range.
How cold is it where we start on Trail Ridge Road?
As a general rule, there is a three degree loss for every one thousand feet of elevation gain. Our departure point in Estes Park is at 7000' and our starting point on Trail Ridge Road is just over 12,000'. 3 degrees x 5 thousand foot gain = 15 degrees colder! In addition, if the wind is blowing it could make the temperature even colder.
Bringing extra clothing, hats and gloves is recommended. As the temperature warms with elevation drop, you can put your extra layers in the van.
Where do we meet?
At the New Venture Cycling building which is BEHIND the Estes Park Mountain Shop. See map on Contact page.
Where can I park?
Parking is available at the Estes Park Mountain Shop and also on the east side of the parking lot that is near our headquarters. Guides will be on site to answer questions and direct you as needed.
What happens after I arrive for my tour?
Guides will greet you, ask you to sign a waiver and fit you for a helmet. Once that is complete, a guide will fit you for a bike and briefly go over how the gears and brakes are operated. Please show up on time for your tour as a courtesy to other guests.
Can I bring my own bike?
Sorry, but no. Our insurance provider requires that we use our own bicycle fleet.
Can I bring my own helmet?
Yes! Please note that you are using your own helmet on the signed waiver.
Will we see wildlife?
Most likely, yes! There always is a very good chance of seeing elk, marmots, and big horn sheep. Do bring your camera!
What kind of bikes are they?
We use steel-frame Giant Boulders for our tours. This is a very basic mountain bike that has 21 speeds. The gear shifters are located on the handlebars and operated with the thumbs and fingers. The bikes have front and rear hand brakes that are "V Brake" style, knobby tires and front shocks only (hard tail.)
Should I tip my tour guides?
Most guides in the outdoor industry greatly appreciate tips. In the United States, it is common to tip outdoor tour guides in the 10-20% range. Our drivers and guides will share any tips received. If you feel your tour experience was positive, then tips are accepted and appreciated.
We are able to add a tip to the credit card used to charge your reservation.
Is booking my tour in advance a good idea?
Yes! Calling 970-231-2736 to reserve or using our online reservation page is always a good idea.
You can try to walk up and get on a tour, but it could be that the tour is full or there is no tour going out. If we don't have any reservations for the next day by 6pm, there may not be a guide scheduled.
Therefore, reservations in advance are strongly recommended
Will the van follow us on our tour?
Yes, the van will follow and sometimes precede the tour, stopping at most of the major tour stops and allowing you to keep extra clothing or personal items in the van. You are welcome at any point during the tour to ride in the van for the remainder of the tour.
Do you offer any tours off-road?
Our tours are on paved roads or bike paths, with the exception of Old Fall River Road, which is briefly available in June and is an unpaved road. There are no single-track mountain bike trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you are interested in doing a single-track ride, we recommend renting bikes from the Estes Park Mountain Shop, who can also point you in the right direction for where to go.
Do you rent bikes?
No, we don't rent bikes, we just provide bikes for riders on our tours. Estes Park Mountain Shop has a retail bike shop and bicycle rentals.