The Grapes of Byway

August 30, 2013 - Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest Colorado/CDOT Regions 2, 3, 4, and 5 - A partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Scenic and Historic Byways Program, the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), and Colorado Department of Agriculture is highlighting agritourism around the state.

It is designed to showcase Colorado’s agricultural roots and provide tourists a way to connect with farms, ranches and wineries.

In recent years, winemaking has become a valuable contributor to Colorado’s agricultural industry.  Many vineyards are located along the state’s designated byways, pairing history, scenery and wine.  But before doing so, please remember to designate a sober driver while enjoying the trip.

The following Scenic and Historic Byways can be “paired” with some of Colorado’s award-winning wineries:

  • Trail of the Ancients National Scenic and Historic Byway is a 114-mile route across the broken, arid terrain of the Colorado Plateau. Located in McElmo Canyon, southwest of Cortez, is Guy Drew Vineyards.
  • Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway traverses the largest flat-top mountain in the world along 63 miles of picturesque canyons, forests, and more than 300 stream-fed lakes. After traveling southeast on this route from Interstate 70, you will end in Cedaredge, where the Neal Family purchased a 50 acre farm in 1989 to establish Stoney Mesa Winery.
  • Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic and Historic Byway is a 486-mile, multistate byway.  It includes portions in Colorado and Utah. Dinosaurs were abundant in this area, leaving fossils and footprints. About 10 miles east of the Byway’s terminus in Grand Junction is the DeBeque Canyon Winery in Palisade.
  • Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic and Historic Byway was established in 1993 as a State Scenic Byway and a National Forest Scenic Byway. It leads visitors from Fort Collins along the Cache la Poudre River to the quiet, bowl-shaped valley of North Park, located just west of the Continental Divide.  Ten Bears Winery is along this byway in LaPorte.
  • Gold Belt Tour National Scenic and Historic Byway is anchored by the communities of Cripple Creek, Victor, Florissant, Florence, Caňon City and several mining ghost towns. Also known as a BLM Backcountry Byway, this 113 mile circuit offers unpaved and paved roadways, as well as a 4-wheel drive route along Shelf Road. The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Caňon City no longer has monks, but offers wine tastings and a gift shop.
  • The South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway is only 19 miles long, but rich in nineteenth century history. It is the location of Colorado’s only Pony Express station, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Lincoln Highway Loop, the first coast-to-coast automobile road in the United States. South of Julesburg are remains of the Italian Caves, also reported to be an underground palace, which was dug by Uberta Gibello in the 1880s. He proceeded to dig this palace after his marvel of an irrigation system, complete with concrete lined ditches, did little to help the vineyards survive.  Though the wine dried up long ago, the area’s history still can be enjoyed.

The state has 25 Scenic and Historic Byways, 42 state parks, four national parks, 26 ski areas and resorts, 12 mountain ranges, 54 Fourteeners, 10 scenic and historic trains, six national monuments, 11 national forests, and 222 state wildlife areas.  Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways connect tourists, preservationists and local communities. For more information about the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, visit