Experience Hayden’s history, scenery with Ride the Cog fundraiser

Ride the Cog will take place in Hayden on Saturday. The bike ride benefits the Hayden Heritage Center.
Ride the Cog/Courtesy photo

HAYDEN — The annual Ride the Cog fundraiser is way more than a scenic bike ride. It showcases historic Routt County while raising money for the Hayden Heritage Center. The seventh edition of the event is Saturday with registration beginning at 8:45 a.m. at the museum.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know the little town of Hayden’s got a museum,” said event organizer Wes Dearborn. “It’s a neat little spot that’s a train station. It’s exactly like Steamboat’s train station. They have a lot of artifacts or historical goodies they want to display. … We’re trying to bring some awareness to the museum by having an event in Hayden. That’s really the cause. The bicycle ride is a good ride to display Hayden and the surrounding areas and that it does have some great gravel riding around, but that’s sidelined to the cause.”

Dearborn started the event seven years ago as a ride to benefit ALS. The Hayden Heritage Center took over the event and is now the main beneficiary of the ride.

The Heritage Center uses the money raised by the ride to continue putting on the event, as well as fund museum projects. Over the past few years, they’ve constructed sheds on the property to house artifacts and donations they don’t have on display. Eventually, the museum plans to expand the existing building so every item can be on exhibit all the time.

The Hayden Heritage Center didn’t just take over the fundraiser to raise money but also to highlight the history of the area, which aligns with its mission.

“The routes that we send people on have been used historically for ranching, hunting practices, and you can even see … the valley where the settlement of Elkhead used to be,” said Emily Waldron, vice president of the Hayden Heritage Center board. “Even though most of those houses and homesteads you can’t see where they were anymore, that valley, at one time, had quite a lot of homesteaders in it. There’s a natural historical connection.”

Ferry Carpenter, a rancher whose homestead on Routt County Road 80 is locally protected, used to bike to and from town in the early 1900s. The Hayden Heritage Center has photos of Carpenter and his bike, as well as other old bikes.

Ferry Carpenter, a well-known figure in Hayden, sits astride his bicycle at Oak Point. Carpenter would ride the Cog regularly from his homestead to town in the early 1900s. At Saturday's Third annual Ride the Cog fundraiser, participants can take part in three different bike rides while supporting the Hayden Heritage Center.
Courtesy photo

Ride the Cog offers four distance options ranging from the 19-mile Breeze Basin Breezer to the 43-mile Combined Ride. Online registration is open now at, and in-person registration is available on the morning of the ride.

The rides begin between 10 and 11 a.m. and conclude at the historic Hayden Granary, where an after party will be taking place. Each participant will be given two drink tickets to the event, which will be catered by Sage and Spirit. There will also be live music by 3Wire. Nonriders are welcome as well with an entry fee of $15.

Contact the Hayden Heritage Center at or call 970-276-4380 for more information.

Unlike its neighbor to the east, Hayden doesn’t have a packed schedule of bike races and rides. Ride the Cog could begin a trend of getting more events in western Routt County. There are miles of gravel roads that see far less traffic than the roads around Steamboat.

“The thing about Hayden, even though it’s only 25 miles west of Steamboat, it’s totally different,” Dearborn said. “It’s an arid desert kind of climate, and it’s completely different with the cogs and gulches and the landscape and the wildlife, generally, and sagebrush and rolling hills.”

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