Taking a motorcycle ride can be a great way to unwind and enjoy the scenery in our beautiful state of Colorado. As motorcycle accident attorneys, we know that riding a motorcycle is a fun pastime for many people, but we also know that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. For those who yearn for the wind in their faces and the open air, the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya has assembled a list of 10 routes that motorcyclists love.
1. Mount Evans Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 28 miles (one way)
Route: Idaho Springs to Mount Evans
Travel time: 1 hour
Mount Evans Road rises to 14,130 feet above sea level, making it the highest paved road in North America. From the historic mining town of Idaho Springs, travel south on Highway 103 to the junction of Highway 5 (the entrance to Mount Evans Road). Groves of pine trees will gradually give way to the exposed mountainside, where you’ll have a fabulous view of glacier-carved valleys and rocky peaks. You might even spot mountain goats or bighorn sheep grazing along the side of the road. But use caution: the guardrails disappear through the tight switchbacks to the top.
2. Trail Ridge Road Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 48 miles (one way)
Route: Estes Park to Grand Lake
Travel time: 2-3 hours
This path combines straightaways with winding roads to showcase Rocky Mountain National Park’s beauty to the fullest. An expanse of pine trees and rocky peaks accompany you through the route. Watch for grazing elk, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife—they’re common roadside visitors.
3. Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 184 miles (one way)
Route: Trinidad to Lamar
Travel time: 4 hours
At certain points along this historic route, you can still see the wagon ruts of the pioneers and traders who traveled hundreds of miles across the west in the 1800s. The Santa Fe Trail is almost completely straight, making it a relatively easy drive. Though a longer drive, this route will take you through some of Colorado’s treasures like Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site and the Comanche National Grassland.
4. San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 236 miles (loop)
Route: Cortez, Telluride, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, and Durango
Travel time: 6 hours
The San Juan Skyway covers several mountain passes, each of which rise more than 11,000 feet above sea level. On this route, you can ride what’s known as the “Million Dollar Highway” which runs from Ouray to Silverton. The sights of some of the highest mountains in the United States—Mount Wilson, Mount Eolus, Mount Sneffels—boast their grandeur from roadside vistas. Travel + Leisure named the San Juan Skyway one of “America’s Best Spring Drives” in 2012, but these views are stunning at any time of year.
5. Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 133 miles (one way)
Route: Whitewater to Placerville
Travel time: 3 hours
Over the years, the Dolores and San Miguel rivers slowly ate away at the soft red sandstone to create the flattop canyon you’ll be riding through known as Unaweep Tabeguache. Precambrian dinosaur and amphibian fossils have even been found within the sandstone walls surrounding the road. Be on the lookout for desert bighorn sheep that like to hang out on the rocky ledges and grassy knolls along the first few miles of the byway.
6. Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 103 miles (one way)
Route: Pueblo to Westcliffe to Colorado City
Travel time: 3.5 hours
The journey through the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway takes you from the town of Pueblo and through the San Isabel National Forest. The foothills to the Rockies were once used by Ute Indians, Spanish and American explorers, fur traders, ranchers, prospectors, and now visitors who still seek stunning mountain views and prairie buttes.
7. Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 128 miles (one way)
Route: Sterling to Fort Morgan to Ault
Travel time: 3 hours
The ride along the Pawnee Pioneer Trails is largely flat and open, dominated by the Pawnee National Grassland. You may see the fastest land mammal in North America on your trip, the pronghorn antelope, along with coyotes, prairie dogs, and hundreds of bird species.
8. Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 75 miles (one way)
Route: Twin Lakes to Minturn and the junction of Hwy. 70 and Hwy. 91
Travel time: 2 hours
The Top of the Rockies Byway crosses the Continental Divide twice and follows the Arkansas River. Millions of dollars worth of metal was once extracted from the mountains in this area in the 1800s, with Leadville being the silver queen of the Rockies. It is the highest incorporated city in the United States—at an elevation of 10,200 feet, it’s still dwarfed by the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mount Massive (14,421 feet) and Mount Elbert (14,440 feet).
9. Independence Pass
Distance: 80 miles (one way)
Route: Highway 82 southeast from Glenwood Springs to Twin Lakes
Travel time: 2 hours
This route is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day due to the high altitude and road conditions. The ski towns of Aspen and Snowmass can be accessed along this stretch of highway, as can the famous Glenwood Springs, known for the largest improved hot springs in the world. Look for lush valleys, evergreen and aspen trees, and jagged mountains.
10. Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway
Distance: 129 miles (one way)
Route: New Mexico border to Alamosa
Travel time: 3 hours
Los Caminos Antiguos incorporates many of Colorado’s historic sites. Conejos, one of the first towns you’ll drive through, is home to the oldest Catholic parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Continuing along, you’ll reach San Luis, Colorado’s oldest surviving community. Roughly 15 miles from San Luis is Fort Garland, home to Colorado’s oldest military post and once commanded by Kit Carson in the Civil War.
Enjoy the Ride!
Here at the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, we wish you fun and safe motorcycle travels. We hope that you do not have any issues or accidents on the road, but if you do, the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya can help. Our motorcycle accident lawyers will get you the medical treatment and compensation you need. For more information, contact us today.