Top Scenic Drives In Pikes Peak Region

September 16, 2011 10:11 AM

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw//Pool/Getty Images

With all of the hiking, biking, sightseeing, and all-around adventure that the Pikes Peak Region has to offer, sometimes it’s just time to put the pedal to the metal and hit the open road to really soak in the beauty of Southern Colorado. Here are a few of the most notable drives worth taking.
florissant fossil beds national monument Top Scenic Drives In Pikes Peak Region

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (credit: Jason Hussong)

Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway

With roads that follow the old railroad and stagecoach roads of over a century ago, one can literally drive back in history by driving the Gold Belt Scenic and Historic Byway. Set aside a full day to explore this 135 mile route, which is really two loops between the Cripple Creek Mining District and the Arkansas River Valley. It winds visitors through the legendary mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor, as well as other notable points of interest in Garden Park Fossil Area, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and the Royal Gorge among others.

From Florissant southward, the Gold Belt Scenic and Historic Byway is a series of two loops that take visitors through Canyon City and Florence, respectively. Parts of Phantom Canyon road can get dicey during wet weather, and Shelf Road is not recommended for anything less than four-wheel-drive. The third, High Park Road, is suitable for all type of vehicles.

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway

Another of Colorado’s classic routes if the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, which explores the Wet Mountain Valley. Nearly 200 years ago, Zebulon Pike came up through this area when he first laid eyes upon the mountain that would bear his name. In the years that followed, settlers began to occupy the valley, and Frontier Pathways takes visitors past the state’s richest collection of those historic ranches and farmsteads.

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway is a triangle of highways 165 and 96 between Westcliffe, Pueblo, and Colorado City. Interstate 25 between Pueblo and Colorado City can be used to make the trip into a loop.

1495087 Top Scenic Drives In Pikes Peak Region

Torchbearer Lawrence Riddick carries the Olympic Flame past Balance Rock in Garden of the Gods State Park during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay in Colorado Springs, Colo. (credit: Todd Warshaw//Pool/Getty Images)

Garden of the Gods

A bit less ambitious than the byways but no less breathtaking is a drive through the Garden of the Gods. As the most visited attraction in the region, the Garden of the Gods is also among the most photographed in the state due to its towering sandstone formations juxtaposed against the brilliance of the Rocky Mountain Sky.

Visitors loop through the 480 acres of the park, where there are ample opportunities to park to the side and explore the parks many famous formations, including the Hogbacks, Cathedral spires, Kissing Camels and Balanced Rock.

1805 N. 30th St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

– by Kory Kilmer for