Leaf peeping on three southern Colorado byways

Colorado Department of Transportation

Three scenic byways in southern Colorado have joined forces to feature a road trip that offers an infusion of fall colors, wide open spaces and some very quirky stops along the way. 

In this region of Colorado, the traffic is light, homemade pies are plentiful and local establishments are mostly one of a kind. The spectacular geological backdrop is shaped by the Spanish Peaks, the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountain ranges.

Trinidad and Walsenburg are gateways to the 82-mile Scenic Highway of Legends that boasts world-class geological features including a system of radial dikes unique in North America, the K-Pg Boundary (that marks the extinction of the dinosaurs) and the Dakota Sandstone Wall.

Fort Garland, Antonito, San Luis, Mosca and Alamosa are gateways to the 129-mile Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway that reaches from Alamosa to the Great Sand Dunes National Park through the culturally rich San Luis Valley. Here, travelers can tour Spanish mission churches or ride the historic Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. 

Lake City and South Fork are gateways to the 117-mile Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway. Windy Point, located just east of Lake City, boasts superb views of five 14ers framed by unending miles of goldenrod aspens. The North Clear Creek Falls is photographed more than any other waterfall in Colorado. This high-elevation byway has self-guided walking tours in Lake City and Creede, both historic silver mining towns. The Bachelor Loop Tour outside Creede connects visitors with ghost towns and an underground mining museum. 

For itinerary details, see www.colorado.com/colo-road-trips.

This story was posted on September 26, 2020.