Travel Center

Top of the Rockies

Length: 82 miles
Driving time: 2 hours

At 10,200 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated community in the United States. Yet in this setting, surrounded on all sides by 14,000-foot behemoths, the city occupies the lowlands. South of town, Colorado's two loftiest mountains - Elbert and Massive - stand side by side like Jupiter and Saturn. The colossal peaks of this area yielded fortunes of like proportions in the 19th century, as miners pulled millions of dollars' worth of mineral from the ground. The luckiest of them, Horace Tabor, became one of the titans of Colorado's silver industry. This 82-mile route crosses the Continental Divide twice and traces the Arkansas River nearly to its source in the vicinity of Fremont Pass. The small communities of Redcliff, Minturn, and Twin Lakes add charm.

Top of the Rockies was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 1998. It is one of eleven America's Byways® designated in Colorado.

A 40-mile extension to the byway was recently approved from Twin Lakes, over Independence Pass on State Highway 82 and into Aspen.  Independence Pass starts at 9,200 feet and climbs to 12,095 feet at the summit, which is ringed with peaks of 13,000 feet including Mt. Champion, Geissler Mountain, Twining Peak, Grizzly Peak and Casco Peak.


Fremont PassTop of the Rockies Map

Features:
Tennessee, Fremont and Independence passes (Independence Pass is open seasonally)
Arkansas Headwaters State Recreation Area
Pike, Arapaho, White River National Forests
Arkansas River Headwaters State Park
National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
Healy House Museum
White River National Forest
Leadville National Fish Hatchery

Local Chamber of Commerce(s):
Aspen
Copper Chamber
Leadville
Minturn
Twin Lakes

Byways Corridor Management Plan
Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway Corridor Management Plan – Amended 2008
Top of the Rockies Interpretive Management Plan

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Program Contacts
  • Logo
  • Lenore C. Bates
    Colorado Scenic Byways Coordinator
    4201 E. Arkansas Ave.
    Shumate Building
    Denver, CO 80222
  • Colorado Tourism Office
    1-800-COLORADO
    Visit the website. 
2017 Partnerships

Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways 2017 partnerships

All-American Road Sponsor:

My Scenic Drive logo

America's Byways Sponsor:

HOKKAIDO

 

Colorado Scenic Byway Sponsor:

Grand Circle Logo

Cotrip Badge

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal