Colorado’s Scenic Byways
Driving routes that highlight Colorado’s grandeur
Colorado’s 26 scenic byways connect historic sites, parks and points of interest across vast canyons, wildlife-filled prairies and the majestic Rocky Mountains. No matter which regions of Colorado you’d like to see, you’ll uncover the state’s spectacular beauty during a road trip along these idyllic routes.
San Juan Skyway
Snaking through the colorful San Juan Mountains toward historic sites and hot springs, Colorado's San Juan Skyway is a popular ride for road trippers. The seven-hour drive showcases popular mountain towns like Durango, Silverton, Telluride and Ouray.
Best explored in summer, the Alpine Loop Byway* is a seven-hour drive through wildflower meadows and the San Juan Mountains. The route crosses 1800s mining roads near Silverton, Ouray and Lake City.
Colorado's Unaweep Tabeguache Byway winds through a wild landscape full of petroglyphs, fossils and fascinating rock formations. The area’s many recreational trails permit hiking, biking and trail running.
Trail of the Ancients
Plan to spend between five and eight hours traveling this remote byway, from which you can reach national parks and monuments including Mesa Verde National Park – a World Heritage Site and International Dark Sky Park.
West Elk Loop
The West Elk Loop Byway’s lasso-shaped trajectory unites three distinct mining communities, comes close to four diverse wilderness areas and passes through towns like Crested Butte and Carbondale. Tracks Across Borders Colorado’s newest scenic byway, Tracks Across Borders promises dramatic scenery on a mountain course to New Mexico. Reach Chimney Rock National Monument at the end of this on-road adventure.
Highway of Legends
Download an audio tour to enrich your excursion on the Highway of Legends Byway. This route reveals Rocky Mountain vistas and a region steeped in mythology, history and local lore.
Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail* crosses canyons and plains heading southeast from the Kansas border to the edge of New Mexico. The four-hour drive takes you past ranches and farms where you can purchase fresh local produce.
South Central Region:
The Collegiate Peaks Byway* is where you’ll find the USA’s highest concentration of “Fourteeners” (mountains higher than 4,267 meters or 14,000 feet). Look out your window and admire majestic summits like Mount Princeton, Mount Yale and Mount Harvard.
Top of the Rockies
Open seasonally, the Top of the Rockies Byway* gives drivers glimpses of Mount Elbert and Mount Massive: the tallest and second-tallest peaks in the state.
Look back in time along the Silver Thread Byway* where historic districts and wild tracts will make you feel like you’re traveling in the 1800s.
Explore an area rich in Colorado history on the Frontier Pathways Byway. Drive through lands once inhabited by fur traders and trappers, Ute Indians and Spanish conquistadors.
Los Caminos Antiguos
Be amazed by Colorado’s natural features as you traverse the San Luis Valley. Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park and look for wildlife along the Conejos River.
Gold Belt Tour
Follow in the footsteps of those who sought gold in Colorado’s mountains as you cruise from historic gold rush towns to the shadow of Pikes Peak and ancient fossil beds.
Take Colorado's Dinosaur Diamond Byway toward landscapes where dinosaurs once roamed. Visit petroglyph sites and high-desert plains along this remote road.
Lush landscapes await along the Grand Mesa Byway.* Gaze at lakes, meadows and old-growth forests and marvel at the largest flat-topped mountain in the world.
Colorado River Headwaters
Follow the mighty Colorado River from its source. The Colorado River Headwaters Byway* begins at Grand Lake and leads to the mineral waters of Hot Sulphur Springs.
Flat Tops Trail
Seek the splendor of the Flat Tops Wilderness during a drive on the Flat Tops Trail Byway.* This scenic road is punctuated by the authentic ranching towns of Yampa and Meeker.
South Platte River Trail
The South Platte River Trail is a top spot for a sunset cruise. Fading daylight amplifies the beauty of the roadside prairie and the South Platte River.
Pawnee Pioneer Trails
Journey through a fascinating landscape on Northeast Colorado's Pawnee Pioneer Trails Byway where Great Plains beauty has charmed travelers for centuries.
North Central Region:
Cache la Poudre-North Park
Go from Fort Collins to Walden on this ranchland roadway. Add this ride to the North Colorado Loop Tour for a thrilling 580-kilometer road trip.
Peak to Peak
Attractions abound along the Peak to Peak Byway, which follows the Continental Divide. Established in 1918, it’s Colorado’s oldest scenic byway.
Just west of Denver, the Lariat Loop Byway* brings travelers past stunning sights and famed attractions from Dinosaur Ridge to Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Trail Ridge Road
Look upon the Continental Divide on this high-elevation byway. Stop to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and tour the Holzwarth Historic Site.
Built on a former burro trail, the Guanella Pass Byway* grants incredible mountain views from Georgetown to Grant. Nearby aspen and pine groves offer sensational sights in autumn.
Take a ride on North America’s highest paved road. Mount Evans beckons with high-altitude scenery and wildlife including bighorn sheep, mountain goats and marmots.
* Denotes electric vehicle friendly byways
For more information about Colorado’s 26 scenic byways, including seasonality and travel tips, click here.