Two New National Scenic Byways for Colorado

News Release

February 18, 2021 - Central/Eastern Colorado

DENVER – Two more of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways are now part of the National Scenic Byway System. 

Also known as America’s Byways®, the state’s newest National Scenic Byways are:

  • Scenic Highway of Legends (Southeastern Colorado – CO. 12/U.S. 160) Features the Spanish Peaks where gold-seeking conquistadors and Comanche, Pueblo and
    Tarahumara Indians once traveled. The route links Trinidad, La Veta, Walsenburg and Aguilar.
  • Silver Thread (South-Central & Southwestern Colorado – CO 149/U.S. 50) This route allows travelers to roam through wonderfully isolated swatches of the San Juan Mountains and includes both historic main streets and top-of-pass scenic overlooks. It stretches from South Fork, Creede, Lake City, and Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison.  

“These new designations are a tribute to this great state and characterize the breadth of its beautiful landscapes, history and culture,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “In addition to providing new and exciting adventures for travelers, our Scenic and Historic Byways help protect these much-valued areas of Colorado.” 

Designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Scenic Byways are recognized for their outstanding scenic and historic attributes. Colorado has 13 National Byways, more than any other state. 

“What a remarkable nod to our State's timeless beauty and a well-deserved recognition for the efforts of Colorado citizens to share it with everyone,” said Nathan Boyless, chair of Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways Commission. “The open road beckons, scenic travels!"

In addition to providing exploration opportunities, the state’s byways are an important asset for economic development. The most recent analysis shows a cumulative statewide economic impact of nearly $4.8 billion over a six-year period, with the Scenic Highway of Legends providing nearly $180 million in economic benefit and the Silver Thread more than $67 million.   

The Scenic and Historic Byways program was established by CDOT in 1989.  In addition to supporting the state’s 26 byways, the program also supports two All-American Roads, 10 National Forest Scenic Byways, and two Bureau of Land Management Backcountry Byways.  The statewide system is comprised of nearly 2,600 miles of roadway through 48 of Colorado’s 64 counties.