Charming Colorado towns along the US Pro Cycling Challenge route

Owl Creek Pass from Visit Montrose
Owl Creek Pass (Photo courtesy Visit Montrose) Click the photo to go to Visit Montrose on Facebook.

Colorado is now home to the most challenging cycling race in the United States, the US Pro Cycling Challenge. The race is 683 miles, attracts world class cyclists and winds its way through some of Colorado’s most charming towns.

There are 126 riders in the race from 24 countries including Boulder, Colorado’s own Taylor Phinney, who secured two fourth place finishes at the London, Olympics.

The US Pro Challenge gets underway on Monday, August 20 and runs through August 26.

The race is reason enough to head up to the Rockies during the week of US Pro Challenge, but here are some extra incentives from the Mayor of HeidiTown.

Stage One – Durango to Telluride

Durango is home to one of my favorite breweries and it’s not just the Durango Brewery beer that makes me love this place – it’s the hammock chairs on the brewery’s patio.   Plus, this is the 3rd oldest micro-brewery in Colorado, which is pretty damn cool.

Telluride is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visted. If you haven’t witnesses it for yourself, it’s time to go.

Stage Two – Montrose to Crested Butte

There are two reasons to love Montrosechocolate and wine. Of course, there are other reasons too, like fly fishing, hiking, biking, golfing, rafting, Black Canyon National Park and more, but chocolate and wine do it for me.

The Crested Butte Wild Flower Festival. It’s already happened this year, but you can still see lots of wildflowers in this breathtaking region of Colorado.

Aspen Colorado downtown by Jeremy Swanson
Downtown Aspen, photo by Jeremy Swanson. Click the photo to go to

Stage Three – Gunnison to Aspen

The area around Gunnison is truly wild. Scenic byways and wildness areas abound. Be sure to pack your camera when visiting.

I enjoy reminding people that Aspen, Colorado is more than just a ski town and more than just a place to spot celebrities. Aspen is an authentic historic mining town. The Aspen Historical Society tells the real story of Aspen.

Stage 4 – Aspen to Beaver Creek

I check a lot of calendars and get a lot of press releases, and there’s always something happening in Beaver Creek, whether it’s a wine and spirit festival, a culinary event or live music, you can always find a refined event taking place here. Like their tag line says, Beaver Creek, not exactly roughing it.

Stage 5 – Breckenridge to Colorado Springs

I like Breck because it’s a real town, not just a ski resort. Breckenridge has history and community, and you can feel both when you visit. Plus, they have some outstanding festivals like Breckenridge Oktoberfest, Ullr Fest and the International Snow Sculpture Championships.

Colorado Springs is home to my all-time favorite zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. When you go, please say “hi” to the grizzly bears for me.

Aerial View Boulder Colorado
Aerial view of Boulder, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Stage 6 – Golden to Boulder

I was married at Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain in Golden, so the town will also hold a special place in my heart. It’s also home to Coors and the Colorado Railroad Museum, so you just can’t go wrong when you visit this town.

Lately, my fondness for Boulder has been food-related, and that’s because the city is home to some of my favorite restaurants in Colorado including The Kitchen and The Mediterranean. To keep up with the food scene in Boulder, I recommend following food blogger, Grace Boyle at Grace (full) Plate.

Stage 7 – Denver

What can I say? I love Denver, and it’s quite impossible for me to pick the one thing I love the most.

So there you have it; the seven stages of this seven day race and my two-cents about the towns that will be hosting each stage. Go to  to learn more about the US Pro Cycling Challenge.


  1. I personally think Montrose is one of the more underrated towns on the Western Slope. Yes, its in the valley so it’s not a mountain town. And yes, it’s basically surrounded by a desert. But if you like outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, motorcycling (on or off road), fly fishing (hello…the Black Canyon is my mecca), rafting, and all sorts of other outdoorsy stuff, Montrose is a killer place to visit or live. It’s less expensive than Telluride, but it’s close-by. It’s less hot and more interesting (IMHO) than Grand Junction. And it’s really close to some of the awesomest places in Colorado like Ouray, Durango, the Black Canyon (see above), Uncompaghre plateau, and the Adobes are fun to cruise through on a dirt bike. Just thought I’d help plug a cool town!


    1. I LOVE it when people plug Colorado towns they love on HeidiTown! Thanks for stopping by, Marcus. We’ve only drive through Montrose, but we want to go back and check out the Black Canyon. Looks like an amazing area for hiking and camping.


      1. If you want an awesome short hike (30 minutes down, an hour back up), check out Chukar Trail at the Black Canyon. It’s a nasty drive getting back there. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle with high clearance, but you can park at the trailhead and hike down to the bottom of the canyon. A lot of rafting trips start here. The fly fishing there is amazing. I’ve never camped there it but it seems like an amazing place for an overnight camp trip too, but pack lightly.


  2. Also, I’m stoked about the Pro Cycling challenge! What a cool event to be hosted in Colorado!


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