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Recreation Activities

Byways and National Trails 

River winding through scenic mountains

A number of scenic driving routes pass through Colorado's public lands. These provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy stunning landscapes and discover fascinating cultures of the past. Key attractions, points of interest and interpretative panels enhance these journeys by providing visitors with valuable learning experiences.

You can find additional information about Colorado's Byways at or at the CDOT's Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways webpage.

Featured Recreation Areas

Unpaved road with yellowing aspens

Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway

Stunning landscapes of towering mountains and alpine lakes characterize the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. Fourteeners provide beautiful scenery and opportunities for a wide range of winter sports. Travelers of this route will also have the chance to explore historic mining ruins and ghost towns.

Colorado River

Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

The journey along Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway features spectacular views of canyons, ranching landscapes and wildlife. Visitors can enjoy a variety of boating and camping opportunities, and even hot springs.

Purple wildflowers with mountainous background

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Running from Canada to Mexico, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail passes through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. A wide variety of landscapes make for challenging backpacking trips. Visitors can also enjoy winter sports and ghost towns.

Dinosaur bone fossil

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway

Visitors will see plenty of prehistoric fossils along Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway. Attractions include Fruita Paleontological Area, Dinosaur Hill, the Mygatt-Moore Quarry and the Trail Through Time. Meanwhile, other portions of the Byway feature Native American pictographs.

Cliff face

Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway

Travelers of the Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway can see historic mining sites, such as Victor National Historic Mining District, and a number of dinosaur fossil quarries. In addition, the Shelf Road Rock Climbing Area provides unrivaled climbing opportunities.

Marsh with mountainous background

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway is a cultural journey that will lead travelers to Fort Garland and to the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. The Byway also passes by Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Hiker on Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Extending from New Mexico to California, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail represents a 19th century Mexican trade route. It passes through a variety of recreational areas, providing opportunities to explore stunning scenery, archaeological sites, fossils, wildlife and more.

Painted Hand Pueblo

Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

The Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway passes through Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center, leading travelers to cultural attractions. Thousands of archaeological sites and artifacts portray the history of ancestral Native American tribes.

Hanging Flume

Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway

Beginning its journey through the Unaweep Canyon and continuing through the Dolores River Canyon, the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway features diverse, beautiful landscapes and a rich mining history. A notable attraction here is the Hanging Flume aqueduct system.