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Top of the Rockies

Length: 115 miles. Driving time: 3 hours.

Fremont PassTop of the Rockies MapAt 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.

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):
Copper Chamber
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

Americas Byways Logo

Contact Information

Greater Leadville Area Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 861
Leadville CO 80461
(719)486-3900 / 800-933-3901

Aspen Chamber Resort Association
425 Rio Grande Place
Aspen, CO 81611

Top of the Rockies Website

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

Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways 2017 partnerships

All-American Road Sponsor:

My Scenic Drive logo

America's Byways Sponsor:



Colorado Scenic Byway Sponsor:

Grand Circle Logo

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Colorado: The Official State Web Portal