Avoid Crowds and Hit the Road: Three Great Scenic Drives

Explore Colorado’s Historic Scenic Byways as a COVID-friendly Recreation Option

Colorado has more scenic byways than any other state. In fact, Colorado is so chock-full of gorgeous drives that there’s an entire government website dedicated to the state’s 26 historic scenic byways. Many of them have an accompanying historical audio tour!

Many of these scenic byways have tourist attractions that may not currently be open or a place where you cannot properly observe social distancing. Therefore, our list of three scenic routes are routes that can provide you with the most solitude. Enjoy these byways from your car or engage in the many socially distanced activities they offer.

Safety Precautions

Before we start, a note on safety: take the regular precautions you would take for any road trip, but also make sure to pack items you may need to protect yourself from the virus. These may include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Gloves for handling gas pumps
  • Re-sealable bags for used wipes/gloves
  • Face masks for stops at gas stations and public restrooms
  • Ice chest/cooler with food and drinks

Fill up your tank and make sure that the roads are clear before you start your journey by visiting

Lost Lakes Peak as viewed from the Chinese Wall Trail in the Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado, USA.
RegionNorthwest Colorado
Length82 Miles
EndpointsMeeker and Yampa
Time of YearFall/Summer
Driving Time3 – 5 Hours

The Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway is less traveled than other byways, but it’s well worth the trip to see the beauty of the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Learn more about the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway.


Trappers Lake

Known as the “Cradle of Wilderness,” Trappers Lake is 302 acres of water known for great cutthroat trout fishing. Camping and cabin rentals are available.

Pyramid Guard Station

Built as part of the New Deal by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, the Pyramid Guard Station is on the National Register of Historic Places and an example of the US Forest Service’s legacy of custodianship.

RegionSouth Colorado
Length82 Miles
EndpointsWalsenburg and Trinidad
Time of YearFall/Summer
Driving Time2 Hours

Also closed in the winter, the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway is another of Colorado’s less traveled byways. It offers a dynamic drive that covers ranch land, forests, AND mountains.

Learn more about the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway.

State Highway 12, the Scenic Highway of Legends, ties Walsenburg, La Veta, Cuchara, Stonewall, Trinidad, and Aguilar together with a ribbon of asphalt that journeys through some of the nation’s most beautiful national forests, state parks, wildlife areas, and mountain ranges.

The Byway is home to unique geological, cultural, and historic features and includes a myriad of legends from the Native Americans, the Spanish Conquistadors, and the pioneers, miners, trappers, and ranchers who explored and then settled this region.

In Native American lore, The Tarahumare Indians believed the Spanish Peaks to be the place where all life emerged on Earth. They tell stories of their Great Prophet Grandote coming here looking for water during a great drought.

Spanish Peaks Country


Cokedale Ovens

Cokedale, Colorado is an historic mining town that, in its heyday, produced 1,500 tons of coal a day. Visit the remnants of 350 coke ovens once used to process the coal.

The Great Dikes of Spanish Peaks Country

Three sets of unique dikes—vertical granite formations formed by molten rock thousands of feet below ground—can be seen from the byway.

RegionSouthwestern Colorado
Length117 Miles
EndpointsSouth Fork and Blue Mesa Reservoir
Time of YearYear-Round
Driving Time3+ Hours

The Silver thread Scenic Byway, located entirely on Highway 149, was originally a footpath of the Ute Indians. The road passes through historic mining areas, crosses two high mountain passes, and intersects with the Continental Divide Trail.

Learn more about the Silver thread Scenic Byway.


Lake San Cristobal

One of the largest natural lakes in Colorado, Lake San Cristobal offers trout fishing, kayaking, boating, RV or tent camping, and wildlife viewing.

North Clear Creek Falls

Visit this observation site, operated by the US Forest Service, for a picnic and to enjoy the waterfall.

One More Thing—Remember Auto Insurance

Many of Colorado’s scenic byways have portions that are made of gravel and dirt. Make sure that you have adequate protection against accidents and damage before you leave. Get a quote on insurance for your car or RV by using our Agent Finder to locate someone near you.