Travel Blog: Riding an EagleRider through Colorado
This article is a paid sponsorship facilitated by Colorado Tourism, Eagle Rider,and Denver tourism who supplied some video and imagery content and was written by Jon Warner in consultation with said companies.
This blog will be updated daily until Friday 8th October so you can follow the amazing journey through Colorado on a Harley Davidson provided by EagleRider.
A few years ago my best mate and I decided we wanted to ride Harley Davidsons through the USA, namely Colorado. We chose to go with a friend of ours who runs Full Throttle Tours, based in Australia.
Let the adventure begin…
Denver – RiNo, food halls, street art
Discover RiNo (River North) Art District, which is rapidly becoming the hot-spot for artists, foodies and designers. While retaining its industrial character, RiNo is filled with colorful street art murals, art galleries, innovative restaurants and craft breweries featured on the Denver Beer Trail. And, there is something for everyone at urban food halls like The Source and Denver Central Market where you’ll find tempting tastes from a pizzeria, an ice cream shop, a bakery, a bar serving craft cocktails and more.
Denver music scene, venues & Red Rocks
Denver’s music scene is hot. Hear live music any night of the week at unique venues like Nocturne, an intimate jazz and supper club or Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, a former brothel turned music venue and eatery. And, don’t miss a concert under the stars at the world-famous Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. During the day, you can hike the park’s scenic trails amidst ancient, giant boulders.
Denver outdoor activities, urban adventure, sport
Explore the walkable city center without ever needing a car. It’s easy when you take the train from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station, which is also home to farm-to-table restaurants, The Terminal Bar, Cooper Lounge and an ice cream shop. Then, you can hop on the free 16th Street Mall shuttle or rent a bike to explore more of downtown and its neighborhoods.
Denver is home to seven professional sports teams that offer behind-the-scenes tours of their venues. Cheer on the Colorado Rockies (baseball), the Colorado Avalanche (hockey) or the Denver Nuggets (basketball)!
Welcome to Denver – beer trail and food & drink on outdoor patios
Denver, Colorado is a walkable, outdoor city with 300 days of sunshine, brilliant blue skies and breathtaking mountain scenery. Denver offers urban adventures for all ages, spring, summer, fall or winter. Getting into the city center is easy with direct rail service from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station, just steps from the 16th Street Mall free shuttle that runs through the heart of the city center. Explore “The Mile High City” without ever needing a car!
With 300 days of sunshine, Denver’s outdoor patios are the perfect place to enjoy farm-to-table cuisine and local craft beer, wine and spirits. Sample creative cuisine at chef-owned restaurants in historic Larimer Square, Denver Union Station and throughout the city’s neighborhoods. Let the Denver Beer Trail be your guide to some of The Mile High City’s 150 unique craft breweries, many of which are located in the walkable city center.
I had been anticipating the day we crossed the Rockies throughout our whole Colorado ride – and it didn’t disappoint. Starting off with the Trail Ridge ride we start our ascent to the tip of Rocky Mountain National Park. The views and the wildlife I caught on camera here really speak for themselves on this incredible ride.
We finish the day at Estes Park – the gateway town for Rocky Mountain National Park – and enjoy a beer at the Estes Park Resort, located on the waterfront of Estes Lake. One of the best hotels we stayed in on the trip.
Here finishes our time navigating the mountains of Colorado as we swap for some time in the gateway city of Denver. Colorado is a spectacular place for a summer road trip and – if you’re so inclined as I am – some of the best motorbike riding in the world. I will definitely be back!
A special thank you goes out to the people at www.eaglerider.com, as well as the guys at Full Throttle Tours Andy and Nikki who put together a spectacular trip.
We arrived to the Bross Hotel Bed & Breakfast in Paonia with a Thanksgiving dinner laid out for us, completed with a few beers in the rocking chairs out the front. The following morning continued the ride through the Glenwood Canyon. What really struck me as I rode alongside the Colorado River was the sheer amount of water the state has. Most of the rides have fast running streams or rivers beside the highway and this ride is no exception. As we ride on we see kayakers and white water rafters enjoying the rapids and the snow run off. After building an appetite, we ride into the historic town of Frisco and enjoy lunch at the Lost Cajun.
After Ouray, we finish our Million Dollar Highway ride at the town of Ridgway, with lunch at the True Grit Café.
The café is dedicated to “the Duke” John Wayne and the walls are lined with paraphernalia. Incidentally the True Grit movie starring John Wayne – and filmed in this region – is 50 years old this year and a self-guided tour of movie locations is a great way to explore.
After lunch we ride through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Although very different from the Million Dollar Highway – and with safety rails this time – it is an excellent ride with the canyon’s steep walls stretching out before you as you get further into the park.
After staying at Silverton’s Grand Imperial Hotel (which played a huge role in the town’s mining boom years) the skies clear the next day and the vista around us becomes clear. The town of Silverton is surrounded by mountains and is mostly accessed by an original steam train on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which takes you on the same route that miners took into the mountains so many years ago.
Silverton is well worth a wander round and any motorbike enthusiast should take a look in the world’s highest Harley Davidson store.
From here, we ride the “Million Dollar Highway”. I’ve ridden for nearly 40 years now and this is by far some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. The Rockies shoot up beside you and this being another snow-covered road in winter, there are no guard rails, so some extra caution is advised. This is a ride that once done won’t be forgotten. We end with a stop in the town of Ouray which is one of the prettiest towns I’ve visited. The mountains rise up as if out of the town itself and natural hot springs make for a relaxing end to a day on the road.
Lunch at Durango’s Diamond Bell Saloon is an experience to say the least. The staff are in “Saloon Clothes” and the place has a real atmosphere taking you back to the Old West. The saloon is part of the historic Strater Hotel, which has been a landmark in the town since 1887. A stay in the hotel is recommended, where you can take a real look at the local history, with some great antiques and traditional furnishings to transport you back.
From here we fuel up to ride the San Juan Skyway – known to be one of the most spectacular rides in the world. We unfortunately got some weather closing in as we were leaving Durango which certainly made the ride more interesting, albeit one to be taken with care. The scenery and roads on the descent into Silverton are jaw-dropping.
We start our journey in Las Vegas where we collect our bikes from EagleRider. I must commend the team from EagleRider as they had our bikes lined up with our names clearly on them and fueled up ready to go. Once we got through the paperwork it was time to pack what would be our best friend for the next few weeks.
We enter Colorado, with our first stop being the UNESCO Heritage Site, Mesa Verde National Park. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip in particular for the spectacular riding, as well as the amazing history of Mesa Verde – which was home to the Ancestral Pueblo people for more than 700 years. More than 5,000 archaeological sites – including 600 cliff dwellings – are protected by the park, which are the best preserved in the U.S.