Colorado is Your Backyard Full of Adventure!
There's no better time than Fall to pick your favorite Scenic Byway and watch the seasons change. Colorado's Fall colors usually peak from Mid-September through Late-October. As the nighttime temperatures start to drop down to 30 degrees, our native trees like the quaking aspen and plains cottonwood start the processes of turning their leaves to gold, orange, red and purple.
GUANELLA PASS SCENIC BYWAY connects Silver Plume and Georgetown to Grant in north central Colorado. The byway is 22 miles long and takes about 60 minutes to travel. THE ROUTE: Take I-70 west of Denver to Exit 228 in Georgetown; follow signs for Guanella Pass from the Gateway Visitors Center. OR From South Denver take CO-470 to US Hwy 285 head west to Grant, Colorado Turn onto County Road 62. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to Geneva Creek Trailhead off CR 62 on the Grant side of the pass, there is a small picnic area with restrooms.
LOS CAMINOS ANTIGUOS SCENIC BYWAY is in the San Luis Valley connecting Alamosa to the top of Cumbres Pass though the towns of Mosca, Blanca, Fort Garland, San Luis, Antonito, Conejos and Mogote in south central Colorado. The byway is 129 miles long and takes about 3 hours to travel. THE ROUTE: From Alamosa take CO Hwy 17 north in Mosca follow the signs to Great Sand Dunes National Park; at CO Hwy 150 head south to US Hwy 160 to Fort Garland. In Fort Garland take CO Hwy 159 to CO Hwy 143 till it connects with US Hwy 285 to Antonito, then head west onto CO Hwy 17 and over La Manga and Cumbres Passes. Extend your drive to Chama New Mexico for a real treat. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to Great Sand Dunes National Park a great place to stretch your legs, climb a sand dune and have a picnic lunch.
SANTA FE TRAIL SCENIC BYWAY features southeast Colorado: Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado City, La Junta, John Martin Reservoir State Park, Lamar, Las Animas, Pueblo, Pueblo West, Rocky Ford, and Trinidad. The byway is 188 miles long and takes about 4 hours to travel. THE ROUTE: As you enter Colorado from New Mexico on I-25 you will summit Raton Pass at 7,834 feet in Trinidad take exit 15 onto US Hwy 350 to La Junta. In La Junta you will head east onto US Hwy 50 through Lamar; your last stop in Colorado is Holly and then the Kansas Border. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to John Martin Reservoir State Park with picnic sites, swim beach, boat ramp and restrooms.
SILVER THREAD SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY in southwest is near Gunnison, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Lake City, Creede, Wagon Wheel Gap and South Fork. The byway is 117 miles long and takes about 3 hours to travel. THE ROUTE: Start in South Fork (from US Hwy 160) or Gunnison (from US Hwy 50); the byway connects the two Highways via CO Hwy 149. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to North Clear Creek Falls Observation Site between Spring Creek Pass and Creede there is a wheelchair accessible trail to the overlook, restroom, picnic tables, and ample paved parking.
SOUTH PLATTE RIVER TRAIL SCENIC BYWAY in northeast Colorado is near Julesburg, Haxtun, and Holyoke. The byway is 19 miles long and takes about 30 minutes to travel. THE ROUTE: Start in Julesburg, travel along Hwy 385 to Ovid and back to Julesburg along Hwy 138. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to DePoorter Lake along US 138 just south of Julesburg. This is a popular summer evening escape along the Overland Trail. Amenities: covered picnic area, restrooms, fishing, shades trees, and a wheelchair accessible pathway around the lake.
UNAWEEP/TABEGUACHE SCENIC BYWAY in northwest is near Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose, Naturita, and Nucla. The byway is 133 miles long and takes about 3 hours to travel. THE ROUTE: From I-70 in Grand Junction, take Highway 50 South. Turn onto Hwy 141 just outside of Whitewater; this is where the Byway starts. Follow Highway 141 through Gateway, Uravan, Vancorum, Naturita, and ends in Placerville. LOOKING FOR A PICNIC STOP, head to West Creek Picnic Area between Driggs Mansion and Gateway Colorado Auto Museum.
NOTE BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT: Remember to fill up your gas tank and bring your picnic lunch. Colorado requires you to wear a mask when out and about and to practice social distancing. Keeping Colorado Healthy allows for more outdoor adventure with your family and friends.
FUN FACT: Quaking Aspen are usually found on the southern slopes of our mountains and the southern side of our valleys. The reason an entire mountainside or valley will change at the same time is because all the aspen roots are connected and therefore the same tree!
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