Plan Your Summer Road Trip along Colorado's 26 Scenic and Historic Byways with New Free Resources

May 18, 2017

A new partnership between the Colorado Byways Program and is offering a new way to explore Colorado's 26 Scenic and Historic Byways—just in time for the summer season. provides detailed information about Colorado's system of 26 spectacular touring routes—2,565 miles—throughout the state. The site includes features that showcase electrical vehicle charging stations, visitor amenities and a road-trip planner that can be printed or exported to a GPS device.

Additionally, CDOT furnishes a free Bicycling and Scenic Byways Map that is available at Colorado Welcome Centers or by mail upon request. CDOT also provides online bicycle route maps.

The Colorado Byways program website includes a resources page with additional tourism materials, and wayfinding information.

"We encourage visitors and residents alike to take advantage of these free resources, and explore Colorado's byways," said Colorado Scenic Byways coordinator Lenore Bates. "Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, nature lover, tourist or conservationist, Colorado's byways provide a 'wow' factor that can't be denied."

The byways are located in 48 of Colorado's 65 counties, and provide access to eight national forests and two national grasslands; eight national monuments; two national historic sites; two National Heritage areas; two National Wildlife Refuges; two national recreation areas; 13 national recreation trails; and four national parks—Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde (a World Heritage Site) and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Twenty-three state parks are located on a Colorado Byway, and byways connect hundreds of thousands of acres of Forest Service, BLM lands and state wildlife areas. The CDOT-administered program is widely recognized as the strongest in the nation, with 11 byways awarded the national designation of America's Byways®—more than any another state.

In 2014, 3,010,000 visitors to Colorado accessed the state's well-known scenic beauty, historical sites and recreational areas through "touring trips," the second-highest activity after "outdoor trips" (3,220,000) among Colorado's "core 'marketable' overnight travel segments." (Marketable trips are those most subject to influence by marketing and promotion.) Two-thirds of touring travelers come from outside Colorado.

"The tourism generated by Colorado's byways is often the key supporting financial source to many of our historic-designated sites, as well as to the local businesses along the byways," Bates said. "Exploring the byways is a great way to support small businesses and communities along the byways."

Recently released, the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Strategic Plan outlines additional innovative ways the Commission is working to advance Colorado's byways. The plan highlights tactics and strategies related to the plan's main three goals for the byways:

  • Maintain a state byways system that is second to none.
  • Elevate the Colorado Byways system to become an important state asset for economic development and livability.
  • Ensure that each local byway is a fully functioning part of an excellent statewide system.

"The Commission is working to ensure our byways have the support they need to continue the great work they do across the state. It's clear the byways program is critical to so many people and communities across the state," said Amanda Hill, Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission chair.

Learn more about Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways.

The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways program is a statewide partnership intended to provide recreational, educational and economic benefits to Coloradans and visitors. This system of outstanding tourism routes in Colorado affords the traveler interpretation and identification of key points of interest and services while providing for the protection of significant resources. Scenic and Historic Byways are nominated for their exceptional scenic, historic, cultural, recreational and natural features.