500 mile off-road distance trail open to unicycles

For those of you who have been itching to do a long-distance hiking trail on a uni, here’s one that permits mountain bikes for at least parts of it: http://www.coloradotrail.org/ The Colorado Trail is 500 miles long, a lot of it at high elevation.

Although the PCT and AT are off-limits to wheels, the CT is not (except for wilderness areas).

I can’t tell from the website, at least at first glance, what percentage of the trail is officially designated wilderness.

Here is an extensive hiker’s guide to access, resupply, and the like.

Sounds great but far. The Long Island Greenbelts 20 Miles keep me sweating.


That would be fun but I think it’s more fun to ride in the woody trails near my town. There you can go anywhere on the network.

When I’m feeling crazy, I think about doing a tour on Adventure Cycling’s Great Divide Route, which stretches from the Canadian to the Mexican border, 95% on dirt.

I’ve been thinking about that for a couple of years now. Time to start planning?

It’s 2500 miles of dirt. Even with a support team carrying baggage, I wouldn’t expect to be able to average more than 30 miles per day, off-road unicycling on mountainous terrain. (Plus I’d want to take time in all the incredible parks along the way). So it would be a big commitment; an entire summer, more or less. I don’t see it being possible for me for at least 4 or 5 years.

Colorado Trail

You are right that the Colorado Trail allows bikes. This includes unicycles. I am not aware of any unicyclist who has tried it end to end, though many hike or bike the entire length. To assist the wheeled user in circumventing the off-limits wilderness segments, the guide book provides bike route alternatives to the portions that cross designated wilderness where mechanized travel is not allowed.

I believe the CT would be super challenging unicycle terrain, even for you upper echelon MUni riders. A significant percentage of the trail is above 11,000 feet, where small hills seem larger. On the other hand, the trail is kept in pretty good condition by all the volunteers who maintain it.

A uni trip on the CT would be memorable. You’d be treated to some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. (The high mountains of Colorado are fantastic.) You’d be along the Continental Divide for over 100 miles with great camping. Even the logistics planning would be a blast.

As U-Turn suggested, the web site http://www.coloradotrail.org is a good resource and the guide book and data books they sell are helpful. But, if any of you would like more info, you could contact me and I’ll try to help. I serve on the board of the organization that cares for the CT, the Colorado Trail Foundation. My email is bill[at]trails2000.org.

Wow, just thinking about a uni attempt on the Colorado Trail, it would be quite an accomplishment!

Bill Manning

If you’re riding fit, you can do 50 miles a day on a muni no problems. The first few days you can’t expect to do that sort of distance, but after a few days acclimatisation, you should be ok.

I’m not whether there’s the possibility for support crews on the Great Divide? Even if there is, the real hardcore way to do it would be to bivvi. You can bivvi light enough to still be able to ride muni.


I’m more interested in the reasonable than the possible. When I bike tour on roads, I usually aim for 50-mile-day averages, not because it’s impossible to do more, but because it’s no fun to just hammer every day and have no time to check out the sights. The Great Divide route passes through or near at least three national parks and some of the best scenery in the world; I’d want to take time to enjoy the ride.


From this it sounds like long crank coker riding, so 50 a day sounds more sensible, meaning probably 60 days including a few mechanicals, getting used to altitude etc. Even with that pretty high average, you’re talking 2 months off.

Up to 200 miles between food shops in some parts.

It’s been done on bike in 16 days. Although by John Stamstad who is Mr Endurance and probably had about 10 hours sleep in the whole race.

It does sound super cool and it’d be amazingly impressive to do it.

I’m riding quite a distance at the moment and I’ve been looking a bit into long distance unsupported racing and thinking about doing something like this
http://www.blackbirdsf.org/sf-portland/main.html if I can find some people stupid enough to take the bait. Basically, you pick a bunch of points a very long distance apart and have to get to all of them in order, by any route you want. I’ve had an idea for a set of places to do a 300km race between, which would pretty much force the riders to cross bang over the Pennines (a big set of hills in the middle of the UK) twice. It’d also have a selection of silly named places to go to.

If anyone in the UK feels like doing a long distance off road trail, the South Downs Way and the Pennine Bridleway are both open to bikes / unis. I reckon the SDW is a hard 24 hour or okay 2 day ride for a 29er (100 pretty hilly miles), I dunno about the Pennine Bridleway. Alternatively, there’s loads of drover’s trails in Scotland that’d be wicked to do, we’re talking really quite technical there though.


Re: 500 mile off-road distance trail open to unicycles

On Fri, 8 Apr 2005 13:55:07 -0500, “tholub” wrote:

>So it would be a big
>commitment; an entire summer, more or less. I don’t see it being
>possible for me for at least 4 or 5 years.

Consider doing it in installments. The longest long-distance walking
trail in the Netherlands (Pieterpad) is a meagre 483 km, after all we
are a small country. A relative of mine and a few friends of hers are
doing (or have done?) it in portions, a day here, a weekend there etc.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“When it comes to the family jewels, you won’t be having fun until they’re having fun. - Jake D”

For my first attempt to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, I thought that just hiking the 2600 mile+ trail wasn’t enough. I also was going to take weather measurements every four hours for a post trip magazine article, as well as bagging 43 near-trail peaks. That would show 'em!

However, I very quickly found that the trail itself was incredibly tough, and that my feet swelled in the desert heat so that my fancy near-custom boots didn’t fit, etc etc etc. I did about 250 miles in near-torture before I finally threw in the towel.

My second attempt, 6 years later, was less embarrassing. I had worked on my gear for that entire time, and trained a huge amount – about 1300 miles the previous year. However, I ran into injury and sickness, probably from starting the trail too fast. Finally I was too far behind the window to finish the trail. I did do about 750 miles of it.

I’ll go back.

However, one of the lessons I learned is that: the trip itself is enough. If I wanted to tour Yosemite National Park (the PCT goes through it) – I could always come back. In the meantime, I would be able to see one trail all the way through the Park.

That would be true for the border-to-border trail too. The trail itself would be enough. There would be fantastic views, lots of nature, plenty of challenges – right in the trail corridor. Adding lots of side trips etc would simply make the trail impossible.

So I’m thinking of maybe doing an epic muni adventure sometime within the next couple months or year. Right now The Great Divide is on my list but it might have to wait until next summer if I do plan to do it. I might try and do the Colorado Trail this August or September…as a warm up and practice. Anyone want to join?! :slight_smile:

Plainly agree (though I am unable to stage long distance ride).
If I practice Muni it’s for the fun and for the scenery (I enjoy talking with squirrels :p). So a “long distance ride” for me would be:

  • with wonderful scenery
  • not more than 25/30km per day (but altitude is not a problem)
  • no more than a week ()
  • with comfortable inn with good food, beds and hot tubs … every evening!

(I am not challenge-inclined :smiley: )

Gracie Sorbello and Matt Burney unicycled the Great Divide trail, unsupported. Here is a link to her blog http://divideby1.blogspot.com/, and you can watch the video here https://vimeo.com/17852073 Gnarly!

The CT is incredible, Osmundo and I have ridden a few segments in the past. It would be quite a feat to do self support MUni, harder than the GDT in my opinion. I have been looking at Segments 22-26 as a multi day trip, would be doable because you could cache food in one or two spots. Segment 23 is as good as it gets for high altitude bliss, unfortunately segment 24 is wilderness so there is a uni/bike detour. This is ok because it puts you into Silverton where you could restock. The San Juan Mtns. are spectacular, i would be down for a 3-5 day tour this summer, July/Aug is best as it snows in September up that high.

part of the CT in the San Juans, its not all this buff:)


I’ll keep you in the loop Mike. Would be great if you joined at least for a few day. I actually rode up the Mt Wilson Toll Rode today and thought of you. When I reached the top it was snowing and freeZing. A guy in a truck talked with me for a bit and asked if I knew you as you had done it before not to mention going to mt baldy and doing more. That was huge climb and I can’t believe you did more after it. You are an animal!

A week in Colorado would be pretty amazing… I have been looking for some unicycle related get aways (I am based in Laos for the next three years). I had been looking at maybe bikepacking the CDT at some point in the next few years. Also had my eye on this for northern hemisphere Summer this year

I would love to get over to the US and sample some of the great riding it has to offer- Jamie I might have to hit you up at some stage to be my Muni entourage If I make it across the pacific.