Ride The Rockies has been fortunate enough to experience the hospitality of the following host communities throughout its years: Alamosa, Aspen, Avon, Boulder, Breckenridge, Buena Vista, Cañon City, Carbondale, Castle Rock, Chama, N.M., Colorado Springs, Copper Mountain, Cortez, Craig, Crested Butte, Delta, Denver, Durango, Edwards, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Frisco, Georgetown, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Granby, Grand Lake, Grand Junction, Greeley, Gunnison, Hotchkiss, Idaho Springs, Leadville, Manitou Springs, Montrose, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Ridgway, Rifle, Salida, Silverton, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Trinidad, Vail, Walsenburg, Westcliffe and Winter Park.
In 2020 we look forward to revisiting these towns:
Durango – Cortez – Norwood – Ridgway – Ouray County – Durango
Nestled in southwestern Colorado’s Animas River Valley and surrounded by rugged peaks, Durango offers more than 300-miles of world-class mountain biking and hiking within 30-minutes of downtown. The San Juan National Forest includes the largest wilderness area in Colorado – the Weminuche Wilderness – and hundreds of miles of singletrack, world class mountain biking, epic rock climbing and backcountry skiing, plus fly fishing and boating on the gold medal waters of the Animas River. West of Durango, discover the spectacular La Plata Canyon and its beautiful U formation created by glaciers with abundant wildlife, wildflowers, high-alpine meadows, and avalanche gullies.
Durango is rated a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists and home of many cycling celebrities. Downtown Durango is on the National Register of Historic Districts and overflows with historic hotels, award-winning restaurants, art galleries, Railroad museum and boutique shopping. Durango has 100 award-winning restaurants to choose from, a culinary hotspot!
Please visit www.durango.org for more information.
Mesa Verde Country is located in southwest Colorado near the entrance to the magnificent Mesa Verde National Park. The nearby towns of Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos provide accommodations, dining, outdoor fun, and visitor services. Nearby Mesa Verde National Park is one of the nation’s first World Heritage sites and the largest archaeological preserve in the country. Cortez is a central location for visitor attractions, such as Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley and Four Corners.
Take time to look around at the beautiful scenery. If byways could claim royal lineage, the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway would rule them all. Mining towns and alpine splendor await you on this stunning journey across high mountain passes in the shadow of impressive 14,000 foot peaks.
The start of Cortez – On Christmas day 1886, Matt Hammond pulled his heavily-loaded wagon full of lumber onto the site of the old cattle roundup ground. The lumber was to be used on the construction of the first buildings for the town of Cortez. The town had been laid out by M.J. Mack, engineer for the Montezuma Valley Water Supply Company on land owned by J.W Hanna, the company’s president. Unlike many towns that formed around a river or transportation network, Cortez was built to house the men who would complete the elaborate network of tunnels, irrigation ditches, and laterals required to divert water out of the Dolores River and into Montezuma Valley. By the spring of 1887, hundreds of men were at work on the new system. The newly-formed town was born out of speculation that the sandy red soil of the Montezuma Valley would produce a wide variety of abundant crops.
Norwood – Colorado’s Best Kept Secret
Norwood sits at a healthy elevation of 7000 feet and has spectacular vistas of high alpine and wild desert country. The La Sal Mountains in the west, the Uncompahgre Plateau to the north, the San Juan Mountains in the east and to the south is Norwood’s own jewel, Lone Cone Peak. Rugged desert canyons etch the landscape in between. Norwood has an abundance of outdoor activities. Snowshoeing and cross-county skiing are popular in the winter. Hunting in the fall is a separate economy. Horseback riding is abundant and there are numerous opportunities for fly-fishing or ice fishing on nearby Miramonte Reservoir. Equestrian and agricultural heritages are deeply interwoven in the lives of Norwood residents. Cattle drives are common, and Norwood hosts the largest monetary rodeo on the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association circuit.
Norwood is only 30 miles west of Telluride. The San Miguel River flows through the canyon and you’ll enjoy the scenic drive down the red rocked rimmed San Miguel River Canyon from Tellluride to Norwood. At the bottom of the canyon, you will climb switchbacks for two miles at an 8% grade, up Norwood Hill. At the top of the hill, around the corner, you will be awed by the sight of 12,700-foot Lone Cone Mountain, our hidden gem. We welcome you to Colorado’s best kept secret!
Fun Fact: Norwood is the first International Dark-Sky Association “Dark Sky Community” on the Western Slope of Colorado and the second Dark Sky Community in Colorado. (The other town is Silver Cliff). Norwood is now part of 22 International Dark Sky Communities around the world, 15 of which are in the US. Stargazing and locating the Milky Way will be no problem in the dark sky of Norwood.
For more information norwoodcolorado.com
The Crown Jewel of Ouray County! Ridgway and Ouray are situated against a spectacular mountain backdrop in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Ouray is known as the Switzerland of America. Taking a dip into the many hot springs in Ouray County is a must do!
Ouray is set in one of the most magnificent locations in Colorado. Surrounded by high mountain walls dominated by Mount Abrams to the south, and the awe inspiring Amphitheater to the east, Ouray is truly the Gem of the Rockies.
Ridgway is a quiet western town with charismatic energy. Founded in 1890 as the headquarters of the world famous Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge railroad serving the area’s rich silver and gold mines, ranches and farms. Today local museums and events preserve the history of the now defunct railroad and the heritage of traditional ranching lifestyles.
True Grit was certainly one of the most famous Westerns ever made. The film was directed by Henry Hathaway, famed for his work on a long string of Westerns most notably in the 1950s and ’60s. The jail wagon, which John Wayne brings back from the Indian Territories, now sits in the front yard of the Ouray County Ranch History Museum, the building that was originally the Old Rio Grand Southern Railroad Depot.
Ridgeway State Park is a beautiful park, created with the Ridgway Reservoir at its heart, offers breathtaking scenery, campgrounds with modern amenities and playgrounds. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, boating, kayaking, windsurfing, standup paddle boarding, picnicking, and swimming. More information can be found at http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Ridgway/Pages/default.aspx
Fun Fact: The Grammy Awards trophy is hand crafted in Ridgeway at Billings Artworks.