Perfect timing for a summer of travel by vehicle!
As winter is somewhat waning (come on spring!), and our thoughts are turning to warm weather and travel, Colorado has given us a few more things to get excited about. Recently, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced the addition of two new Scenic and Historic Byways in the southern part of the state. Both were designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway this year, becoming one of 13 America's Byways designated in Colorado.
The first, The Scenic Highway of Legends runs along Colorado Highway 12 and US 160. Along the 82-mile route, you'll travel the historic Spanish Peaks area, as well as links to Trinidad, La Veta, Walsenburg, and Aguilar.
"You will enjoy the dramatic settings that have inspired tall tales among Native American nomads, Spanish explorers, and Anglo and Hispanic settlers for hundreds of years. From the impenetrable heights of the Sangre de Cristos and Spanish Peaks to the ominous redrock abutments of the Dakota Wall and the Devil's Stairsteps, this land is truly larger than life," says the CDOT website.
The second route, The Silver Thread, is a 117-mile stretch that will give you a glimpse into the state's mining history. Running along CO 149 and US 50 in the Creede and Lake City area, you will get to see the state in its mountain glory and rough and tumble past.
"The colorful old mining camps of the Silver Thread byway offers history, scenic beauty, and a heavy dose of authenticity. The heights around Creede and Lake City remain strewn with abandoned mining structures, most of them accessible via rugged backcountry roads. Between the two towns, CO 149 shadows the upper reaches of the Rio Grande, serving up a bounty of natural wonders: sparkling North Clear Creek Falls, the Slumgullion earth slide, and the shark-like fin of Uncompahgre Peak," says the CDOT website.
A recent analysis of economic impact showed Scenic Highway of Legends provides nearly $180 million in economic benefit and the Silver Thread more than $67 million.
In total, Colorado has 26 byways and 13 are designated as America's Byways, making our beautiful state the tops when it comes to national byway designations.
Ready for a road trip? Check out all of Colorado's scenic byways on the CDOT website.
What is your favorite scenic byway (I'm partial to the San Juan Skyway)? Let us know in the comments.