Take these two roads straight into beautiful scenery and Colorado's rich past.
The Trail of the Ancients Scenic and Historic Byway and Highway of Legends Scenic Byway, both in southern Colorado, received honors from the National Scenic Byway Foundation (NSBF) for efforts to preserve and make public historical sites and information.
The Trail of the Ancients Scenic byway winds its way through southwest Colorado's Native American history and the Four-Corners area.
"The Trail of the Ancients highlights both remote archaeological sites and significant cultural and historic sites in Southwest Colorado. Trail of the Ancients is the only National Scenic Byway totally dedicated to archaeology and, unique to this byway, the traveler must get out of the car to truly experience everything the byway has to offer," says trailoftheancients.com.
The byway received the NSBF Public-Private Partnership Award for its overlook and information at the McElmo Creek Flume stop. The flume site was a joint effort of public and private entities to preserve and protect history.
"In 2011, this flume was the only surviving of the original 104 flumes on the Montezuma Valley Irrigation system that was constructed in the 1890s," said the National Scenic Byway Foundation in a press release. "Delivering water to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s reservoir north of Towaoc, it sustained damage in the mid-2000s. As the preservation of the flume began in 2011-12, TOTA was awarded a National Scenic Byways Program grant – in its last year of funding – to construct a parking area and overlook."
The Highway of Legends Scenic Byway (Highway 12) in the Spanish Peaks region also earned an honorable mention in the NSBF marketing and communications category for its unique audio tour app on TravelStorysGPS. The app discusses history, geology, local lore, and more, all made possible by the Huerfano Tourism Board and a grant from the Colorado Tourism Office.
Have you driven either of these scenic byways? Do you have any suggestions on how to get the most out of the trip? Let us know in the comments.