Brief by Central Staff
Tourism – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine
Reader’s Digest encourages you to visit Nathrop
We just learned that we’re on one of The Most Scenic Drives in America, as proclaimed in a book of that name issued by Reader’s Digest Association last year.
Salida and Nathrop (Buena Vista just misses) are on the “Colorado Springs Loop” which starts in the Springs, of course, goes to Cripple Creek from Divide, back up past the Fossil Beds to Florissant, and across South Park to traverse Trout Creek Pass.
From its summit, attractions include:
— Collegiate Peaks Scenic Overlook, where “The view looks west across a fertile basin — spotted with willows and cottonwoods — to the snowcapped crowns of the Collegiate Peaks.” And the authors got it right, an unusual occurrence in this regard, when they went on to say that those peaks are “part of the Sawatch Range.”
— Arkansas River, whose “rapids range from the fairly tame to frothy stretches that are rated among the state’s most difficult.” It’s also a good place to see “mule deer, elk, eagles, and peregrine falcons,” although several hunters we talked to might dispute the first two species on that list this fall.
— St. Elmo, a side trip to a place “that flourished during the region’s gold rush but is now a ghost town.”
— Salida, “a small town backed by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Sightseers can tour its historic district, soak in hot springs, or stroll through Riverside Park.”
After that, the scenic tour offers the Five Points Recreation Site near Cotopaxi, the Royal Gorge, and Cañon City.
Other Colorado routes among the Most Scenic Drives include the San Juan Skyway (Durango north on 550 through Silverton and Ouray to Ridgway, then return through Placerville, Telluride, Rio, Dolores, and Mancos) and the Highway of Legends (Walsenburg to Trinidad via Cucharas Pass instead of I-25).
All in all, what we read was pretty accurate, a cut or two above the usual over-romanticized guidebook literature.