Scenic Byways and Drives Scenic Byways and Drives

Colorado Scenic Byways Map
Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway


Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway Map, Colorado Click here to go to map legend

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway near Alamosa, Antonito, Blanca, Capulin, Conejos, Fort Garland, Hooper, Mogote, Mosca, Sanford, San Luis

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway

The south central region of Colorado was originally settled as part of requirements for getting and keeping a Spanish or Mexican Grant which called for establishing centers of population and developing the land. However, when the United States obtained this land, San Luis was the first permanent town in Colorado and was founded in 1851. The Los Caminos Antiguos Byway goes through this first town, as well as Fort Garland, Antonito, Alamosa, and into Chama, New Mexico, following the trails of the Spanish Conquerors (see our San Luis Valley Area Map). The byway is 129 miles long and takes about three hours to travel.

A deer in grove of grass, Colorado
Wildlife Along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway
Conejos River, Colorado
Find your Perfect Fishing Hole along the Conejos River

As you're traveling the byway, be sure to visit the oldest church in Colorado, Our Lady of Guadelupe Parish church. Joseph Machebeuf (1812-1889), spread Roman Catholicism throughout Colorado. A French missionary, he said first Mass in Colorado in a crude adobe chapel in Conejos in 1858. It was later replaced by Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church, Colorado's oldest church. The church is located in Conejos, Colorado, just off US Highway 285.

Yau can also find The Sacred Circle Mission Churches, the Stations of the Cross, and the Capilla de Todos los Santos (chapel of All Saints), which sits high on top San Pedro Mesa, also known as the Mesa de la Misericordia, or Mesa of Mercy. The Trail of the Stations of the Cross is a series of powerful bronze sculptures along the path that ascends the mesa. This depiction of Jesus' journey was created by local artist, Huberto Maestas. The Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center, 41 Church Place, includes contemporary murals, historic "Santos," wooden carvings by local Hispanic Artists, and a replica of a Morada; structures utilized as places of worship before churches were built.

Rainbow in the sky in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, Photo by Michael Hartzog
Gorgeous Views of the San Luis Valley During the Day
Beautiful sun set with The San Juan Mountains, Colorado
The San Luis Valley offers Stunning Sun Sets at Dusk

Another interesting historical spot is the Jack Dempsey Museum. Jack Dempsey, born in Manassa, Colorado, June 24, 1895, went on to become the heavy-weight boxing champion of the World. At age 14, Jack began fighting at mining camps under the name "Kid Blackie." At age 24 Jack was the first superstar of the ring, and one of the most popular champions ever. Jack died in 1983. The Museum opened in the 1960s in a one-room log cabin near the spot where Jack grew up. Displayed are boxing mementos and pictures donated by locals and the Dempsey family. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Also in the path of the byway is Fort Garland, one of the first military posts in the region. The 100+ men who manned this fort protected the early settlers of the San Luis Valley.

The San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Beauty can be Found all around in the San Luis State Park - Enjoy this Vast Mountain Valley
Zapata Falls River, Colorado
The hike to Zapata Falls offers views of the San Luis Valley and Mount Blanca

The Smith Reservoir, The San Luis Lake State Park and Mountain Home Reservoir offer many water activities. Hiking is also available at Zapata Falls. The falls also offers spectacular views of the entire San Luis Valley, the San Juan Mountains, Mount Blanca, and the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains. These areas also boast fabulous wildlife viewing opportunities. Also along the byway is the Blanca Wetlands, a birder's paradise. Also in the area is the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This Park also provides many recreational activities.

Travel back in time on one of the two historic trains: Rio Grande Scenic Railroad or the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 2012. These historic remnants of years gone by will take you through the Rio Grande National Forest crossing over the New Mexico State line several times, or to La Veta for the Mountain Rails Live Music Concerts at the top of La Veta Pass, or the Rails and Ales train in late June.

Enter the byway from The Front Range at Fort Garland, From the North at Mosca, or from the West at Alamosa.

Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

Chama Trails Inn Email link icon Web page link icon Photos on page icon
An Inn with a touch of Old New Mexico in Chama: handmade furniture, family suites, gas-log fireplaces, jetted tub. Trails nearby: ATV, hike, snowmobile. ROMANCE PACKAGES: flowers and private label wine.
Conejos County Tourism -- VACATION DESTINATION! Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Experience our heritage! Year-Round adventures await you in Conejos County, Colorado. Your family will have fun watching wildlife and discovering the outdoors. The San Luis Valley is a Vacation Destination!
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Built in 1880, the Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad is a spectacular mountain railroad zig-zagging 64 miles between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO. The ride of a lifetime! America’s #1 best scenic railroad!
Mogote Meadow Cabins and RV Park Email link icon Web page link icon Photos on page icon
On 7 acres with green lawns and shade trees: modern cabins, spacious camp sites: RV and Tent. WiFi! Mogote Meadow Park is 5 miles west of Antonito in the Conejos Canyon with trout fishing. Pets Allowed.
Platoro Properties: Skyline Lodge and Conejos Cabins Web page link icon
Trout fishing! Conejos Cabins and Skyline Lodge are on the banks of the Conejos River. ESCAPE the crowds in Platoro Colorado! Large and small cabins have kitchens, linens, BBQ grills, and picnic tables.
Rio Chama RV Park In Northern New Mexico Email link icon Reservation link icon Photos on page icon
Watch a TRAIN steam over the bridge adjacent to our RV park. Camp under Cottonwoods along Tracks Across Borders Scenic Byway in Chama, New Mexico. By the Rio Chama River, great fishing. Good WiFi!

More Activities & Information

Alamosa, Colorado includes: Blanca, Capulin, Center, Fort Garland, Hooper, Mosca, San Luis, Sanford

Antonito, Colorado includes: Conejos, Mogote

Scenic Byways in Colorado

Click to return to main Colorado Scenic Byway Map

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