Colorado Scenic Byways Map
Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway
Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway
Colorado's newest scenic byway, the Collegiate Peaks Byway, was designated in November of 2005 in order to connect several important cities in South Central Colorado, while providing scenic vistas, undeveloped ranchlands, and recreational activities such as skiing, fishing, mountain climbing, rafting and kayaking. The byway stretches 57 miles north to south connecting Salida to Granite.
The byway provides many opportunities to explore the past. Scattered with many historic buildings, such as the Old Nathrop Schoolhouse built in 1881 or the Gas Creek School built in 1890 and used till 1942. Be sure to also visit the Hutchinson Ranch, an 1870's homestead registered with the National Historic registry. The Buena Vista Heritage Museum, completed in 1883, gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about Buena Vista.
The Midland Tunnels are also worth your exploration. The tunnels are the remains of the Midland Railroad, the area's first standard gauge railroad. The Midland Railroad Company had to dig into the hillside, creating a series of short tunnels for the train to pass through. These tunnels offer an enjoyable hike for deep exploration.
The byway runs through the Collegiate Peaks wilderness area, named so because of the many nearby fourteeners of the Sawatch Range with names of prestigious universities: Mt. Oxford, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Yale, Mt. Princeton, and Mt. Columbia. Also worth your time is the Highway of the Fourteeners, a 19-mile stretch of highway with views of 10 of Colorado's fourteeners. From this highway you can view Mounts Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Belford, Oxford, Huron, La Plata, Elbert, and Missouri Mountain, and the area is filled with many lakes, scenic overlooks and the 13,000' Buffalo Peaks. Explore these roads off the Collegiate Peaks byway to discover the wilderness area in more depth.
Location: Start in either Salida or Poncha Springs and make your way north to Highway 25. From here, you'll pass through Centerville, Nathrop, Buena Vista, and Riverside. Find the end of your trip at Granite. This byway also connects to the nearby Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway and West Elk Loop Scenic Byway.
Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do
Buena Vista is mountain back-country adventure! Have a Colorado Experience: ride a Jeep or ATV have a fantastic time getting to our highest peaks, see ghost towns, wildlife. Rentals: Hourly, half-day or full-day.
Near Buena Vista, Salida, fishing, rafting, hiking, hot springs pools, off-roading. Cottages have kitchen and bathroom. Some campground sites along Chalk Creek. Large full hookups RV sites! FREE WiFi!!
Walk Bunny Lane to Wrights Lake, rainbow trout stocked - fish. Near Mount Princeton Hot Springs. Enjoy your mountain vacation at this historical log cabin built in 1878 with a kitchen, BBQ grill, claw-foot tub.
BIG RV RIGS and Tenters: large sites with lawns, trees, WiFi, views of snowy peaks near Buena Vista. NEW clubhouse guest rooms. On the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway with campfires, live music, trails.
More Activities & Information
Buena Vista Area, Colorado includes: Johnson Village, Nathrop, St. Elmo
Leadville & Twin Lakes Area, Colorado includes: Granite, Twin Lakes
Salida, Colorado includes: Howard, Monarch, Poncha Springs