Mountain Biking the Colorado Trail

Tips, Tricks, and What You Need to Know for a Great Bikepacking Experience

by Michael J. Henry


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“I’ll be honest: this is not an easy endeavor. Any illusions you might have about your strength, stamina, intelligence, and sanity will be cast aside and your true self will be laid bare. Are you ready for that?

Hell yes, you are. This book will help you prepare.”

This is the essential how-to book for bikepacking on the Colorado Trail, whether you want to ride a segment or two on the weekends, or all 535 miles in one go. It is a companion resource that includes bike-specific information missed by other Colorado Trail guidebooks. It also serves as an experiential resource for riders, written in a friendly, casual style from one mountain biker to another. Join Michael J. Henry as he shares the tips and tricks you need to know for each segment of the Trail while also answering the experiential questions through stories about his time completing the whole Trail over the course of three summers.

In addition to the cold, hard data about the Trail, you will benefit from Henry’s practical and honest advice on things like:

  • Training – how to prepare your legs, your mind, and your gear
  • Your bike – what you’ll want, what you’ll need, and how to prep the machine
  • Gear – camping gear, clothing, supplies, technology
  • Food and water – what you’ll need, and a little bit about calorie and hydration physiology
  • A rough 17-day plan that can be expanded or shortened
  • Short interviews with others who have ridden the Trail
  • The good, the bad, and the okay about eating and sleeping on the Trail
  • The Zen of riding and suffering – the mindset you’ll need, how to deal with pain and self-doubt, and how keep up morale

Includes 70 b&w photographs and 18 detailed maps.



Plenty of guidebooks load you up with information. But what Michael Henry does in this invaluable pocket companion is give you real-life experience. The logistical information here tells you everything you need to know to tackle the Colorado Trail by bike in a way that is easy to digest and will prove helpful when you are out in the wild on your own. But what is even more important is this guidebook was written by someone who wants to share the dream and help you make it happen. Henry has paid his dues out on the dirt. Even more so, he taps into the real motivation of taking on such a big objective. His book also gets to the heart of why you would want to bikepack the Colorado Trail and how accomplishing the feat can help you navigate your own life.

—Doug Schnitzspahn, Editor in Chief, Elevation Outdoors magazine

Riding the Colorado Trail humbled me like no other event in my life. My first experience riding the CT wasn’t one I was at peace with. I was inexperienced, arrogant and under-researched. I stumbled through many not only uncomfortable but downright dangerous situations, cursing rather than appreciating the beautiful magnitude of this beast. My ego ultimately dragged me to a finish I had no reason to celebrate. After reflecting on the trail itself and my embarrassing execution I knew I had to tackle it again. Less ego, more appreciation, more experience. The second ride many years later took me into day-long states of zen, the discomfort just a necessary offering to unlock the Trail’s secrets. I pushed my body, expanded my mind, and finally appreciated that the beauty of this trail lies in the relentless challenges it throws at you around every corner. If you want an athletic challenge, do an Ironman. If you want a life experience, consider the Colorado Trail. Michael, through his own attempts, has managed to translate what has been for me impossible to articulate: what it is to take on the Colorado Trail by bike.

—Lachlan Morton, professional biker and record holder of the CT’s fastest completion time

Categories: , , Product ID: 3823

Additional information








Publication Date

May 25, 2023


5.5 x 8.5


Tips, Tricks, and What You Need to Know for a Great Bikepacking Experience

The Author

Michael J. Henry

Michael J. Henry

Michael Henry is co-founder and Executive Director of Lighthouse Writers Workshop, an independent literary arts center located in downtown Denver. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in places such as 5280 Magazine, Georgetown Review, Threepenny Review, Pleiades, and Rio Grande Review. Over the years, he has received a Colorado Council on the Arts fellowship, and a PlatteForum fellowship. He received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, an undergraduate degree in English from University of Rochester, and currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at Lighthouse and University of Denver. A collection of poetry, No Stranger Than My Own, was published by Ghost Road Press in the fall of 2008 and reprinted in 2012 by Conundrum Press. In 2010 and 2012, a series of poems comprised a full-length ballet, Intersection, which was performed by Ballet Nouveau Colorado–now called Wonderbound. (They also made a film trailer for the performance.) In May 2014, Conundrum Press released his second poetry collection, Active Gods.