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Recreation Activities

Heritage Tourism

Historic cabin

Historic sites play an integral role in reviving Colorado's spectacular heritage. A number of these locations are preserved so the historical and cultural value can be appreciated for years to come. From pictographs and pueblos to mining sites and ghost towns, visitors will find endless opportunities for exploring this region's fascinating past.

It is important for all visitors to play their part in respectfully protecting historical and cultural resources so future generations will be able to enjoy learning about Colorado's heritage.

Preserving Cultural Resources

If you think you may have witnessed theft or vandalism of historical or cultural resources, please report any information you have to the local BLM Field Office.

Featured Recreation Areas

Unpaved road with yellowing aspens

Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway

The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway features a variety of cultural resources. Visitors will discover evidence of Native Americans who once hunted and gathered here. Meanwhile, attractions like Animas Forks townsite illustrate the history of miners who later came in search of valuable metals.

Red pictographs

Canyon Pintado Historic District

Hundreds of Native American pictograph sites decorate Canyon Pintado Historic District; visitors can access and photograph seven of these fascinating archaeological locations. Interpretive panels detail the history of the Fremont and Ute cultures.

Scenic red mesas

Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

Traces of past cultures abound within Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. These include a number of petroglyph sites. The area also features a rich mining history, and the Old Spanish National Historic Trail takes visitors on a journey traveled long ago by Mexican traders.

Cliff face

Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway

The Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway follows a historic narrow-gauge railroad bed and an old stage road that connect various historic mining locations. Notable attractions include Cripple Creek, Florence, and Victor National Historic Mining District, site of the world's largest gold rush.

Marsh with mountainous background

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway offers visitors an opportunity to discover the cultural roots of a region once used by Native Americans and later by Spanish explorers. Fort Garland and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad are notable attractions.

Hiker on Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail represents a 19th century Mexican trade route. In addition, it accesses various sites of historical and cultural significance, allowing visitors to explore past Spanish religious locations, Native American archaeological sites and petroglyphs.

Virgin de Guadalupe

Penitente Canyon Recreation Area

Long ago, the peaceful Penitente Canyon Recreation Area was once chosen by a Spanish religious group as a site for spiritual practice. More recently, the prominent "Virgin de Guadalupe" was painted onto one of the canyon walls.

Painted Hand Pueblo

Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

The Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway leads visitors through Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center, painting a portrait of the area's past Native American cultures. Travelers of this route will view thousands of archaeological sites and artifacts.

Hanging Flume

Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway

Both copper and uranium mining were historically significant along Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway. Remnants of Hanging Flume, which provided the water necessary for these processes, are still evident today.