What is Ride The Rockies?
In 1986, 1,500 cyclists pedaled off on a 300-plus mile citizen’s tour that crossed three mountain passes and became an annual tradition called Ride The Rockies. The tour that Outside Magazine called a “celebration of fitness” now celebrates its 33rd year as a beloved Colorado institution sponsored by the Denver Post Community Foundation. Ride The Rockies embraces not only cyclists but the towns, sponsors, volunteers and Colorado residents who enjoy following the annual multi-day event.
While the Tour route changes each year, the benefits and responsibilities of each host community remain the same. Benefits include publicity, positive economic impact, fundraising opportunities and a grant provided to an eligible non-profit agency in each host town by The Denver Post Community Foundation. Cyclists in 2018 spent an average of $250,000 in a 24-hour period in each town and many planned to return at a later date as tourists. Host communities provide alternative lodging, inexpensive community meals and entertainment.
Riders on past Ride The Rockies have represented all 50 states and 18 foreign countries. Ride The Rockies is a non-competitive event open to cyclists of all ages and participants are encouraged to ride at their own pace.
Proceeds from Ride The Rockies benefit The Denver Post Community Foundation. All funds raised are returned directly to Colorado nonprofits.
The 35th annual Ride the Rockies features the stunning roads of southwest Colorado, with this year’s start and finish situated in Durango, one of the Centennial State’s most popular outdoor recreation and tourism destinations.
Along with easy access to some of Colorado’s best road and mountain bike riding, Durango offers visitors a plethora of recreation and leisure opportunities. Ride the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, raft the rollicking whitewater of the Animas River, or simply enjoy delicious food and drink at one of the town’s many great restaurants and bars. Durango has it all.
And for the second year in a row, the Ride the Rockies route is a loop, simplifying logistics while taking riders on a breathtaking adventure around one of the most scenic areas in all of Colorado. Besides Durango, other host communities along this 6-day, 418-mile clockwise tour include Cortez, Norwood, and Ouray County. Along the way are challenging uphill encounters with Lizard Head Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Molas Pass, and Coal Bank Pass, which together account for the bulk of the route’s 28,484 feet of climbing.
During — and between — those ascents is a bounty of spectacular scenery. Indeed, the 2020 route rolls along the banks of the Animas River, winds through Southern Ute Tribal Land, climbs the Uncompahgre Plateau, and ventures deep (and high) into the San Juan Mountains. This year’s route also includes a few forays off pavement and onto packed dirt roads, which means less time on busier roads and a little extra adventure. Add it all up and this will truly be the bike ride of a lifetime. Here’s a day-by-day breakdown.