Ouray, Colorado – The Location
Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, the town of Ouray at one time boasted more horses and mules than people.
Centuries before the white man arrived, the Tabeguache Ute, a nomadic band, traveled to this idyllic setting in the summer months to hunt the abundant forest game and to soak in what they called “sacred miracle waters”.
The legend of Chief Ouray envelops the town that bears his name. He once lived in a small cabin at the foothills of the Amphitheater (now a historic landmark), soaked in the “sacred hot springs,” conducted native rituals and met with the Indian and white officials in Ouray. By and large, Chief Ouray garnered the respect of the Ute Indian Nation, the U.S. Government, and the Indian nations throughout North America because of his intelligence and diplomacy.
Known as the “Switzerland of America” because of its setting at the narrow head of a valley, although Ouray is enclosed on three and a half sides by steep mountains, Hwy 550 from the north is a beautiful ride perfect for all skill levels.
The 3rd Annual Steel Horse Sisterhood Women’s Motorcycle Summit — Based at The Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs on the south edge of Ouray, Colorado, is intentionally located in the middle of Colorado’s best motorcycle riding filled with limitless potential for riders of all skill levels, as each and every woman competes in the coveted Summit Challenge.
Riders will be treated to hours of riding and dozens of beautiful choices of road options during the 3Day Summit Challenge. Suggested routes will take riders through breathtaking mountains, high desert, past alpine lakes, ghost towns and historic archeological sites like Mesa Verde or Chaco Canyon as they No other place in America offers this kind of riding in such a concentrated square mile area. You cannot miss this ride.
US 550 / Million Dollar Highway / Coal Bank Pass / Molas Pass / Red Mountain Pass: Durango ~ Ridgeway ~ Montrose ~ Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Ouray has also become a popular destination for motorcyclists, as it marks the beginning of the Million Dollar Highway and access to Colorado’s most scenic dual sport riding. This stretch of highway connects Ouray to its neighboring cities of Silverton and Durango. Dual Sport riders and jeepers can access Corkscrew, Black Bear, Engineer and Ophir Pass. The Million Dollar Highway is frequently regarded as one of the most beautiful roads in Colorado, but is also considered one of the most dangerous due to its sharp turns, steep ledges, and lack of guard rails. Popular destinations include San Juan Skyway, Engineer Mountain, and Black Bear Road. This highway, especially between Silverton and Ouray; is a section so exceptional in both road and scenery with curvy roads and scenic areas that, simply stated, it is spectacular.
From the majestic mountains of southwest Colorado to the Black canyon of the Gunnison, another bonus of this ride is a “mini” Grand Canyon in Colorado. The road following this deep gorge is an outstanding road for motorcycling. Curve upon curve. The track carries on through Montrose, Ridgway and ends in the scenic mountain town of Ouray, nestled and surrounded by red rock mountains with a cascading waterfall on one side whose stream runs through town. Awesome!
For the riders looking for a bit less adrenaline but equally stunning views, Ouray offers some great alternatives to the high paved passes including the scenic route north from Ouray to Ridgway on Hwy 550. From Placerville west, then south to Telluride along Highways 62 and 145, riders can be guaranteed a near same experience. Other popular destinations will include Gunnison, Grand Junction, Moab, and Lake City.
The Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit Challenge will be a fun competition whereby teams of riders (2 – 4 members) ride to specific numbered sites to earn points. Participants will receive custom maps and a guide book showing site locations and difficulty ratings. Points are awarded by instagramming photos of team members at these sites!
Using the custom map riders can plan their rides based on specific historic, scenic, interesting sites you’d like to visit while factoring in skill levels and distance each rider desires to ride! There are numerous sites to visit such as the silver and gold mines and mills, Box Canyon Waterfalls; ghost towns, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, etc.
In addition to the navigational element, which will send each team on their own personal adventure ride, this year’s Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit Challenge located in the Western Colorado Rocky Mountains will feature our unique event format, combining the stunning backdrop of The Twin Peaks Lodge in Ouray, Colorado while providing an atmosphere that is designed to have fun — putting as much emphasis on establishing the connective friendships being forged as competitors relax while enjoying the live entertainment, soaking in the Hot Springs, or enjoying the fresh homemade pizza and a Colorado Craft Brew at the Mineshaft Pizzeria and Tiki Bar as we reflect.
And not to be forgotten? The competitive nature of every team as they combine strategy, ingenuity and grit, to win the inaugural Summit Challenge.
Click here for Summit Challenge Details.
The Steel Horse Sisterhood Charities, is a recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to providing opportunities for women to develop and refine their skills while encouraging the art of women mentoring women while serving people in the motorcycle community.