Colorado canyon tours and mountain pass tours has been the best part of touring Colorado, for me, but Colorado is rich in history, it has some of the best skiing in the world, has hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, and I have done a lot of that too! From old mining towns, ghost towns and ski towns to all the unique restaurants and Brewery’s in this state, I would be surprised if anybody could get board visiting here.
I love Colorado! Well, it’s getting more and more expensive every year, it’s getting very crowded, and like any other state, we have our challenges here, but when I ride into the mountains and visit my favorite destinations, it becomes a perfect state again! Even the mountains get crowded on the weekends and holiday’s, so when I take my time to tour, I try to do it during the week and not during a holiday!
As I’ve mentioned, I ride a Harley, and when you own a Harley, you can join the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and join a chapter. I belong to a couple HOG chapters, but the one I ride with the most is the Denver Chapter HOG. I know there are other riding organizations and motorcycle clubs that may better fit your taste or style, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a riding group. I like to ride and the Denver Chapter rides a lot! I was a Head Road Captain for three years and I’ve planned and lead a whole bunch of rides. I’ve been able to experience a lot of Beautiful, interesting, and Historic places in Colorado with the chapter that I may not have not visited on my own. If you haven’t checked out a riding group or organization yet, I’d say give it a try, it’s a great way to meet like minded people and make life long friends.
Now, did I mention, I love Colorado? I’ve toured up to the NE (Sterling, CO), SE (Lamar, CO), NW (Dinosaur, CO) and the SW (four corners) corners of Colorado and a lot of the in-between! There are still a ton of places I want to see but the places I’ve been, have been nothing short of AMAZING! I’ve seen things from Cliff side Dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, CO to old Gold Mines in Cripple Creek, CO (Gambling town also). I’ve been to Bents Fort in La Junta, CO and Bishop’s Castle in Rye, CO just to name a few.
The best areas of Colorado, in my opinion for scenic roads, is Northwest and Southwest Colorado, North central and South central Colorado. Eastern Colorado has several attractions also, but when it comes to riding in Colorado, the mountains are the best! Here is a very handy and interactive website that makes it very easy to find places to go and things to see in Colorado broken down into 5 sections, which I mentioned above, it’s called Colorado Directory, https://www.coloradodirectory.com/. If you would like to when to visit based on events and activities in Colorado… https://rove.me/to/colorado#Jul11-Jul20. Also, here is a great link for all the Mountain Passes in Colorado, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountain_passes_in_Colorado.
Northwest Colorado is known for Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Snowmass, Grand Mesa and Grand Junction.
-Highway 40 you can take a beautiful ride to Dinosaur and check out Dinosaur National Monument (https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm)
-From Dinasour, head South down Highway 64 and 139 to Grand Junction area to ride around Colorado National Monument on Rimrock Dr. for some spectacular views! (https://www.nps.gov/colm/index.htm)
This tour around Colorado National Monument can be a pretty hot ride in the summer time, so be sure to drink a lot of water and fluids while enjoying this amazing attraction.
-South of Grand Junction you can pickup Highway 141 for an awesome ride around Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/colorado/dominguez-escalante-nca)
Southwest Colorado is known for Crested Butte, Durango, Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Silverton, and Telluride, CO.
-From the Grand Junction area, continue down Highway 141 to 491 into Cortez, CO. I’ll admit, there is nothing that really interests me much about Cortez, but not far from there is Canyons of the Ancient National Monument, in the Mesa Verde area (https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/colorado/canyons-of-the-ancients), where you will find the ancient cliff dwellings. There are roads through the whole site and a lot of places to stop and see the views, hike, picnic, and even take tours of the cliff dwellings. It is a must see in SW Colorado!
-From Cortez, CO you can take Highway 145 to Telluride, CO or you can take Highway 160 to Durango, CO. The ride down Highway 160 is not one to write home about, though, Durango, CO is a must visit when in the area.
-Riding up Highway 145 is a very scenic ride to Telluride, CO. You should definitely visit the town of Telluride, the mountain range is breathtaking and this small mountain ski town is a must see!
-The other option of course is to ride Highway 160 down to Durango, CO then head up Highway 550 and ride through Silverton and Ouray, CO then take a jaunt over to Telluride, CO.
-From Telluride, head up Highway 145 to highway 62 to the town of Ridgeway, CO. I have not stayed in Ridgway yet, but from there you have the option of heading North or South on Highway 550. Head South and you’ll experience Ouray, CO, The Million Dollar Highway, Silverton, and Durango, CO. From there you can head East and visit Pagosa Springs, which has some of the best natural hot springs around, then up through Alamosa, CO to see the Sand Dunes, which is more of the South Central region (which I’ll cover next). If you head North, you will see Montrose and Delta, CO where you can ride Highway 50 to Gunnison, CO, Ride a loop around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Gunnison Gorge National, all of which are spectacular views and a tour to plan for. From there I would head East to Gunnison, CO where you will see stunning views of the Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir!
South Central Colorado is known for Alamosa, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Trinidad, CO.
-From Walsenburge, CO, on I-25, West on Highway 160 will take you up to Alamosa, CO. Just before you get to the Alamosa area, you will reach The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve (https://www.coloradodirectory.com/nationalparks/sanddunes.html).
-North of Alamosa, CO, Via Highway 285, ride up to Pocha Springs and Buena Vista, CO. You can then head NW to Leadville, Vail and Copper Mountain or head NE toward Fairplay and Breckenridge, CO…either direction you go, you will definitely enjoy the scenery! Have you ever heard of the show South Park? Well, you can visit South Park while in Fairplay.
-I feel the best way back home, to the Denver metro area, is straight up Highway 285. There is usually less traffic and it’s a much more scenic drive than I-70 or I-25.
Believe it or not, I’ve been on ALL THESE ROADS! Amazing rides, Amazing beauty, and Amazing memories! I would and most likely will be on these roads again in the future to Tour Colorado!
I could go into a great deal more detail and go On and On and On about places to go and places to see, and I probably will, but for now I think I’ve given you a good idea of what Colorado offers for the Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast!
If you’re planning a trip to Colorado I would be happy to help…Leave me a reply below or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do what I can! But for now, I will bring as many resources to this site as possible to help people find what they are looking for in Colorado.
Have Fun, Be Safe, and Ride On!