Increased Tourist Flow Scenic Byway

Brief by Central Staff

Tourism – June 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

Even though it often appears that Colorado cares only about its interstate highways and adjacent sacrifice zones, that’s not quite true. Among Colorado’s roads now are 21 Scenic and Historic Byways, selected by a commission named by Governor Roy Romer in 1989.

None passes through Fairplay, Buena Vista, or Salida (guess there’s not enough scenery and history along Trout Creek Pass), but some designated byways weave around the borders of Central Colorado:

Top of the Rockies: Twin Lakes to Balltown, up to Leadville, one fork over Tennessee Pass to Minturn, or the other fork over Frémont Pass to Wheeler Junction (if you call it that instead of Copper Mountain, people will think you’re an old-timer).

Frontier Pathways: Westcliffe east on Colo. 96, then a choice of veering down to Rye past Bishop Castle, or on to Pueblo through Wetmore.

Gold Belt Tour: Three routes from the Cañon City-Florence area north to Victor, Cripple Creek, and finally Florissant — Phantom Canyon, the Shelf Road, and High Park Road.

West Elk Loop: Gunnison north to Crested Butte … never mind — the stretch between Sapinero and Crawford is one of the most gorgeous and uncrowded chunks of real estate left in Colorado, and why give it any publicity? Couldn’t we just keep this one to ourselves?

Los Caminos Antiguos: What’s the point of having an official language if the State of Red won’t use it? “The Ancient Roads” start at Cumbres Pass on the New Mexico border, head east to San Luis, Colorado’s oldest town, then to the Sand Dunes, east to Mosca, and south to Alamosa.

Naturally, none of this byway represents any of the real routes of antiquity: Taos Trapper’s Trail, North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail, Sangre de Cristo Pass, Mosca Pass, etc. They should have called this byway “Los Caminos Nuevos.”

Anyway, these “elite ribbons of roads” are identified by a blue columbine sign, and have been featured in a KUSA-TV program and a section of the May 14 Denver Post.