Did you know that Colorado has 26 historic scenic byways? 11 of these are even federally recognized as being a part of America’s Byways. Whether you are looking for a nice summer drive, a road trip through the mountains, colorful views in fall, or a little adventure, Colorado has it all!
San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway connects towns such as Durango, Silverton, Telluride, and Ouray in southwestern Colorado. This route follows the famous million dollar highway. Some say it named that for its million dollar views, others say it is because the road cost so much to build, still others say it is because of all the gold ore left in the roadway’s fill. Parts of this highway hug cliffs and have very sudden drop-offs with no guard rails. Be sure and check conditions on this road before heading out.
If you really want to get away from it all, the Alpine loop offers wide open spaces, remote alpine wilderness, and will get you away from everyone. This road is only 63 miles long but will take over 7 hours to drive the whole length. And you will need a $-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. The Alpine Loop passes by Silverton, Ouray, and Lake City. You’ll only have a very narrow window to travel along the alpine loop. Due to heavy snowfall in the high altitudes, it is usually only open from June-September.
Colorado’s Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Byway winds through some amazing canyons and really get you off the beaten path without you having to go off-roading. The Dolores River Canyon is definitely a highlight of the drive. Passing by such towns as Naturita and Whitewater, you’ll see some unique landscapes and even an abandoned stone mansion!
West Elk Loop
The West Elk Loops takes a tour through the West Elk Mountains and passes through towns such as Carbondale, Paonia, Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Montrose. Along this route, you can tour historic towns, see Black Canyon National Park, and view stunning wildflowers in alpine mountain meadows.
Colorado’s Grand Mesa Scenic Byway will take you through a tour of beautiful forests, open meadows, and countless alpine lakes. Grand Mesa is the world’s largest flat top mountain. This drive will give you great views of Grand Mesa and will even take you to the top up to the amazing views from Lands End Overlook.
Does your car need to be serviced before taking a little road trip? Check out the services and specials we offer and feel free to contact us with any questions. Want to learn more about these and other scenic drives in Colorado? Read more from the Colorado Tourism Office.