Nine miles west of Empire, just past Berthoud Falls, turn left onto the Henderson Mine Rd and continue 1.8 miles to CR202, just before the mine entrance.
The easy, slightly rough 4wd road travels above the Henderson Mine to the summit of Jones Pass (12,453 ft).
TH leads to a beautiful section of the Colorado Trail winding along the flank of Vasquez Peak. This is a popular mushroom hunting area in season and the trail will lead to some great vistas and abundant summer wildflowers.
A picturesque meadow and stream with possible wildlife and wildflower photo ops.
Acres of Indian Paintbrush in the small basin north of the road.
Fine views from the switchbacks in this area of the Indian Peaks range to the northeast and the area below the pass to the south.
Impressive vistas from the summit in all directions. The Colorado Trail crosses the road.
The Corona Pass Rd begins on the north side of US40, just west of the Winter Park ski resort.
In good conditions, this road is passable by most 2wd passenger vehicles. For the most part, it follows the grade of the former Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway to the site of a small rail stop called Corona at the top of the pass.
The Boulder Wagon Rd is significantly more difficult than the Corona Pass Rd and will likely challenge 4wd, high clearance vehicles without lo range.
Here trains crossed over the trestle, went through a loop, and passed through a tunnel underneath the trestle. It makes a fine photo op today.
A small parking area near the end of the trestle provides a photo op of the trestle from another perspective.
There is a fine vista to the south of the Winter Park ski resort with Deadman Lake and Mt Epworth in the foreground. To the north is Pumphouse Lake. Notice the remains of the old telegraph line along the side of the road.
This 1.5 mile spur leads to a small parking area. It is quite rocky and loose, and somewhat steep in spots. Lo range gearing is recommended. From the parking area, a short walk to the north to will lead you to two trestles clinging to the side of the cliff. And a short walk to the south will lead to the Needles Eye Tunnel with some nice vistas looking down on Yankee Doodle Lake along the Rollins Pass East Rd.
(11,660 ft) The TH here offers an alternative to reaching the parking area at the end of the Boulder Wagon Rd, which can then be used to complete a loop.
The Byway is reached at the intersection of US40/US34 in the town of Granby.
From Grand Lake in the north, the Byway follows US34 to Granby, then US40 through Hot Sulphur Springs and Parshall to Kremmling. At Kremmling, it follows SH9 south to the unpaved portion of the route, CR1, the Trough Rd, and ends at the intersection with SH131 in State Bridge. The Trough Rd is well maintained and, in good conditions, passable by 2wd passenger vehicles.
Heading northeast, the Byway passes Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake to reach the village of Grand Lake on the shores of Grand Lake. This section of the route offers countless photo and water recreation opportunities.
With a large network of trails, Grand Lake bills itself as the "Snowmobile Capitol of Colorado". Even the streets in town are left snow packed so that snowmobilers can use their snowmobiles as transportation.
In Grand Lake, follow West Portal Road and signs toward the boat launch area 2.7 miles to the trailhead. The short trail leads to picturesque Adams Falls.
Windy Gap Reservoir and Wildlife Viewing Area is located about a mile west of the intersection. Numerous migrating waterfowl and shorebirds make the locale their temporary home.
The Hot Sulphur Springs Resort first opened 140 years ago and continues to operate to this day. The resort contains seven natural springs and 22 mineral pools with temperatures ranging between 104 to 126 degrees.
Pioneer Park, located in Hot Sulphur Springs on Grand Avenue-CR20 on the west side of the bridge that crosses the Colorado River, offers camping, fishing, trails access and wildlife watching opportunities.
Again, an opportunity to photograph waterfowl and wildlife. The unit along the highway has a campground.
This section of the Byway offers several river access points, primarily used for fishing, they also offer fine photo ops and wildlife watching opportunities.
A large butte forms Kremmling's predominant landmark. The William's Fork Range, Continental Divide and the Gore Range complete the vista.
The Heritage Park Museum complex provides a window into the past life of early Grand County ranchers. The museum complex is home to the 1906 DNW&P Train Depot, the McElroy livery and barn, the Horseshoe Ranger Station, the old Kremmling town jail, a fishing cabin, and historic ranching machiney.
South of Kremmling, the byway turns onto Trough Road and begins its climb to Gore Canyon. Inside the canyon, the shelf road hugs the sheer granite walls 1,000 feet above the Colorado River.
The stretch of river from here to Radium is mainly Class II water, Needle's Eye Rapid is Class III with two large holes above 4000 cfs. This section is heavily used (about 60,000 visitors annually) by private and commercial boaters.
This site also provides access to the river for rafters, kayakers and fishermen.
The route reaches its end at the junction with SH131 at State Bridge, site of Colorado's first state-constructed bridge across the Colorado River. I-70 is just 14 miles south and the Flat Tops Scenic Byway begins in the town of Yampa, 29 miles to the north.
I-70 west to the US40/Empire exit, then northwest to Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Springs has genuine western hospitality, a world class ski resort, and nearly unlimited outdoor recreational and photo opportunities.
At the Botanic Park you can see the great variety of plants, trees and shrubs that grow at altitude in the mountains. Flowering comes to a peak in June and July. The Park is open dawn to dusk every day from May 1 to October 30. Admission is free.
This seven mile, multi use trail follows the meandering Yampa River from Walton Creek Road and Highway 40 to the James Brown Bridge on Shield Drive. Groves of cottonwood trees, natural hot springs, statuary, excellent fishing, scenic overlook benches and lovely picnic spots provide a multitude of photo ops.
Steamboat Lake State Park, a favorite amongst Colorado State Park rangers, has one of the most scenic locations of all state parks in Colorado. A beautiful lake, mountain vistas, summer wildflowers and wildlife offer many photo ops. The Tombstone Nature trail, an easy 1.1 mile loop, has been called one of the best short trails in Colorado.
The unique, privately owned hot springs is a Steamboat Springs tradition and offers some unusual photo ops. The overall seclusion combined with the natural style of construction of the pools makes Strawberry Park one of the most beautiful hot springs in the country.
Turn north on 3rd Street, then east on Fish Creek Falls Rd for approximately 3 miles to the parking area.
It's an easy 0.5 mile RT to Fish Creek Falls. To reach the upper falls:
The 283-foot cascading waterfall is one of the most photogenic in the state. Upper Fish Creek Falls is worth the somewhat strenuous hike. The spray from the falls creates a micro climate that encourages summer wildflower growth, providing many photo ops, and the aspen groves offer some fine fall foliage.
Aspens on Ripple Creek Pass
From US40/3rd St in Steamboat, south about 4 miles to SH131, then south to CR17 in Yampa.
From I-70/C470 via US40 — 144 miles 2 hr 50 mins
The eastern half of the byway is a well maintained, gravel road and, in good conditions, is passable by most 2wd passenger vehicles. The western half, into Meeker, is paved. Open to snowmobiles in winter.
The entire region has fabulous fall foliage, abundant summer wildflowers and wildlife. I recommend exploring some of the side roads (at your own risk) leading to canyons, river bottoms, campgrounds and hiking trails to discover your own unique photo opportunities.
10 undeveloped campsites near Crosho Lake. Fishing in the lake; hiking on nearby trails.
This campground offers vault toilets and 12 campsites with picnic tables and fire grates. The campground sits adjacent to Chapman Reservoir with a beautiful view of the reservoir and the Little Flat Tops.
This small, forested campground has 6 campsites set among the trees with picnic tables and fire grates. The campground is just above beautiful Sheriff Reservoir. With a fantastic view of Sand Point and the Little Flat Tops, this area offers fabulous lake and stream fishing. There is a hiking trailhead close by with trails accessing the Flat Tops Wilderness.
This is a great place to stop just off the Scenic Byway. A vault toilet is the only services available.
Many dispersed camping sites are available along the Byway, however, dispersed camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of the Ripple Creek Overlook interpretive site.
Ripple Creek Overlook Interpretive Site provides a nice rest stop along the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway. The site provides picnic facilities and restrooms. Camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of the Overlook.
Be sure to go to beautiful Trappers Lake, called the "cradle of the wilderness" for its part as one of the main inspirations for the Wilderness Act. There are 6 campgrounds, including Horse Thief which has corrals for livestock and long spurs to accommodate large trailers.
The South Fork Campground has 18 campsites. It provides good access to fishing in the South Fork of the White River, and hiking & horseback riding in the Flat Tops Wilderness. Spring Cave and South Fork Trails leave from the campground.
The trail ends at the mouth of Spring Creek Cave. NOTICE – SPRING CAVE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO WHITE NOSE SYNDROME through July 25, 2012, unless terminated earlier by the Regional Forester. White Nose Syndrome is a disease associated with the deaths of bats in North America.
The Devil's Causeway!
From CR17/Main St in Yampa, head south on Main (CR7) 7 miles to FR900, then anther 10 miles to the Stillwater Trailhead.
The Devil's Causeway follows a narrow strip of land that connects two major sections of the Flat Tops. Both sides of the trail are 60'-80' cliffs with steep talus slopes dropping another 600'-800' into the drainage below. The rough, 3' wide crest is a spot any hiker or climber will never forget.
The trail parallels the north side of Stillwater Reservoir for 0.8 miles, reaching a registration/information board at the junction with trail #1120. Head right (N) at the junction and pass Little Causeway Lake at mile 1.6; good camping and fishing at the Lake. From here the trail climbs along and through talus slopes to a watershed divide at mile 2.3. A side trail on the left makes a steep ascent to the Devil's Causeway, mile 2.8.
On the way to Stillwater TH:
Whether you are looking for solitude or group capability, open air vistas or sun dappled forest, with 32 individual campsites available, there is a dispersed camping site for everyone. Some sites are in close proximity to trailheads or fishing areas and some take you off the beaten path. Sites are marked with numbered camping posts. All the dispersed campsites have Forest Service fire grates which must be used for campfires and most of the sites feature picnic tables, except for the grouped sites where self-contained RVs often camp. Prepare for rustic camping. Drinking water and toilets are available a few miles away at Bear Lake, Horseshoe and Coldsprings campgrounds. Toilet facilities are also located at dispersed sites #3-4 and #9-10.
A boat ramp provides access to the Yamcolo Reservoir for non-motorized and motorized boats. Ramp becomes unuseable in late summer.
Bear Lake Campground was newly reconstructed in 2002-2003, but has retained its rustic nature with most of the 43 sites naturally screened from one another. This area accesses some great fishing and hiking. Surrounded by the 235,000-acre Flat Tops Wilderness, the views are spectacular.
This is a small, quiet campground. The 7 campsites have fire rings and are dispersed among the trees, lending a feeling of privacy. This area accesses some great fishing and hiking; Smith Lake TH is nearby.
This is a small, very popular campground. There are 5 campsites with fire rings. It is an open campground with a small waterfall and a pond. With 11,000' to 12,000' mountains as a backdrop, the views are spectacular.
This trailhead serves three trails leading into the Flat Tops Wilderness as well as fishing access at Stillwater Reservoir. A vault toilet is available.
The Visitor's Center is located at the intersection of US40/Harpers Corner Drive.
A scenic, paved 32-mile road leads to the heart of Dinosaur National Monument's canyon country. Several picnic areas and the trailheads of three hiking trails are located just off Harpers Corner Drive.
The last 12 miles include several striking viewpoints and overlooks, some as high as 2500 feet above the Green and Yampa rivers.
At the end of the drive, this trail leads to a vista with nearly 300 degree views into Whirlpool, Lodore, and Yampa canyons. Early morning or evening light is especially dramatic for photo ops.
Can be accessed from Harpers Corner Road or Yampa Bench Road. This 13 mile road is steep with hairpin turns for the first several miles. The road ends at Echo Park which has a campground, boat launch, and hiking trails.
Can be accessed from either Echo Park Road at the west end or from Highway 40 at the east end. This road is for high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles and is the only road in the park that creates a loop drive.
The tour begins in the town of Rangely. Pick up a brochure and map in town to help with navigation.
There are three sections to the tour; SH64, SH139, and Rangely Dragon Rd (and other county roads used to connect with SH139). Rangely Dragon Rd and the other county roads are maintained, gravel-surfaced and passable, in dry conditions, by 2wd passenger vehicles. High clearance is recommended.
Mileage from SH64. Drive south on SH139
The large draw opens to the east. It has a great number of panels and a pioneer line shack. Cross the draw to reach the panels along the northern cliffs. Panels scattered along this ledge are principally Fremont. Petrified logs are embedded in the overhang and the presence of corn stalks indicate farming occurred. Pioneer cabin ruins are about 300 yards further east along the main draw and another 400 yards along the path is a stunning Fremont panel that faces in the direction you are traveling.
This is a principal Canyon Pintado site. The rock art adorns the cliff face just across the road. This is the site that is described in the journals of the Escalante Expedition of 1776. Of particular interest is the figure of Kokopelli, the hump-back flute player of Anasazi mythology. His presence indicates a tie with the more civilized cultures of the four corners area whose relics can be seen near Mesa Verde.
Head west from Rangely on SH64. Mileages from Park Ave.
Park in the turn-out. You are on the south side of a small canyon with the Mellen Hill Caves on the north side. Walk on the ridge opposite the caves until you can see a path crossing the draw. Some agility is required to visit the three caves. Panels are generally found on the ledges at each side of cave entrances. The small overhang at the very top of the canyon and the big cave right next to it have the most art. The triangular bodied figures with the fancy headgear are Fremont but Ute art is also represented here.
On the east there is a faint dirt road leading to the bottom of the little canyon; it leads to another little cave or rock shelter that has a lovely branch antlered elk or deer figure on the rock to the left of the cave. The walk is about 50-75 feet
If the gate is open, drive west 0.9 miles. As you near the site you will see a canyon on the south side (left) of the road and the road dips to the very edge. Park here. There is a large buffalo and calf, horses, and some anthropomorphic figures at the very end on the right as you look down from the road. With a bit of care this is the place to go down into the canyon and it is maybe 50 feet to the panel.
From here you can return to Rangely of continue north to reach Dinosaur, CO in 3.4 miles and the entrance to Dinosaur Ntl Mon in another 2 miles.
Mileage from SH64/White Ave. Head south on White Ave (will become Dragon Rd).
Turn east onto the dirt road at the top of a slight hill and drive 1.3 miles to a fork. Go left 0.6 miles to the crest of a ridge and follow the signs and park off the road. Follow the trail north along the east face of the ridge for 250 yards to this eye-level panel. It is a Fremont petroglyph panel marked by soaring carrot-shaped figures.
Turn west, drive 0.15 miles and turn right just before the well site. Then go up toward the low cliff face ahead of you .15 miles. Here you will find incised horses with the brand of General Crook, the Ute depiction of a white man (top hat & great coat), some pin-up art left by a Basque Sheepherder, as well as an historic inscription (probable lamentation of some lost cowboys).
This is the Moon Canyon site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Turn west and drive 0.3 miles, pull off the road and park. Just south of the road is a small gully. Walk down the gully until you see the painted figures on the roof of the overhang. There is both pecked and painted art at this locale with soaring "carrot-men" the most stunning feature.
Wild horses near Rangely, CO.
From Park St in Rangely, drive east 10.9 miles and turn south on CR122. Drive 14 miles to CR103; turn right and continue south on CR103 for another 12 miles to CR24, the Airplane Ridge Rd. Turn left on Airplane Ridge Rd and proceed 11 miles to CR24X and turn left (N). Drive 8 miles and continue straight on CR122 to return to SH64.
This route is entirely on maintained county roads; most of them are unpaved and in rugged terrain. A four wheel drive, high clearance vehicle is recommended, especially on CR103.
One telltale sign that horses are in the area is the presence of fresh 'stud piles' or droppings along the roadways.
Look for a radio facility on the west side of County Road 103. Immediately after passing that facility watch for wild horses near the top of the Cathedral Bluffs, and on the ridge lines to the east. About four miles down Airplane Ridge Road, scan the country to the north with binoculars and you'll likely see horses. County Road 24X will take you onto 84 Mesa, a broad plateau dominated by sagebrush. This is an excellent place to see wild horses, particularly in spring and fall. If water is available in local reservoirs, you'll see horses here during the summer, too.
The Byway begins at the intersection of SH14/US287 NW of Ft Collins and follows SH14 to Walden.
The entire length of the Cache la Poudre Scenic Byway is paved. It follows along the Cache la Poudre River for about 50 miles and in this stretch you'll find 11 Forest Service CG's. It then climbs up to Cameron Pass (10249 ft) and drops into North Park, prime moose viewing country.
This Byway is truly scenic; photo ops are everywhere! There are numerous pullouts offering great action shots of kayakers and rafters. The photo ops listed below are just a few highlights along the way.
There is a bighorn sheep viewing station along the entrance road to the campground. Mornings and evenings typically offer the best photo ops for these animals. Watch for the Sleeping Elephant and Profile rock formations in the next few miles.
The river rushes through a narrow chasm, almost always providing a fine photo op.
The pass offers some fine vistas of the photogenic Nokhu Crags. Watch for the best vantage points. Stop at the Moose Visitor's Center a few miles down from the pass for info on observing and photographing moose. From here to Walden is prime moose country.
With 71,000 acres of forest, jagged peaks, alpine lakes, wildlife and miles of trails, this park has it all when it comes to photo ops!
During peak migration in late May, 5,000 or more ducks may be present. Badger, muskrat, beaver, coyote, and pronghorn antelope are commonly observed. Now and then one may see a red fox, mink, long-tailed weasel, or porcupine.
Lake Agnes - Nokhu Crags
The northwest entrance to the park is located at the intersection of SH14/CR41, about 3 miles west of the Moose Visitor's Center.
The park has 219 campsites, a corral at the Bockman CG, 6 cabins, 7 yurts, 9 picnic sites, 80 miles of motorized roads and trails, 70 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 50 miles of signed snowshoe and skiing trails, and the largest moose herd in Colorado.
With 71,000 acres of forest, jagged peaks, alpine lakes, wildlife and miles of trails, this park has it all when it comes to photo ops! This park is all about getting out and exploring.
The trail is 2.5 miles one-way in winter. Short hike into the Lake Agnes scenic area. Spectacular views of Nokhu Crags. Fly and lure fishing at Lake Agnes. Historic cabin located at the trailhead. No camping or fires permitted.
Most passenger vehicles can travel the first mile to the car parking area or the Ruby Jewel Yurt. 4X4's can continue for another two miles where the route dead-ends at the Ruby Jewel Trailhead. Dispersed vehicle camping is permitted.
Perfect trail for ATVs or motorcycles in the summer. This is a popular destination in the winter for extreme skiing. High avalanche-prone areas.
The loop trail starts either at the Moose Visitor Center or at Ranger Lakes and parallels the middle fork of the Michigan River. Great moose habitat along the trail. Fly & lure fishing permitted.
13 miles one-way in winter. This trail is a true 4X4 route experience. Vehicles will encounter lots of rock, dips and steep conditions. At it end, it's only a short walk to the top of the ridge for spectacular views in all directions; North Park fans out to the west and the Neota Wilderness to the east. Wildflowers put on a tremendous display immediately after snow melt and continue through most of the summer. Used to access Montgomery Pass Yurts & Trail. Dispersed camping.
Overlooking a wetland area
The refuge entrance is 8 miles south of Walden on SH125.
The Refuge was established to provide suitable nesting and rearing habitat for migratory birds. Meandering streams, streamside willows, and meadow habitats found at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge create excellent wildlife habitat.
A self-guided 6-mile wildlife auto tour route, the Brocker overlook and interpretive display, and the interpretive nature trail near the headquarters offer a chance to learn about, observe and photograph the refuge, its wildlife, and wildlife habitat.
Bird life is abundant during the spring, summer, and fall; waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds make up the bulk of the nesting species.
Mule deer, pronghorn, elk, and moose use the Refuge habitats throughout the year. Small mammals are represented by white-tailed prairie dogs, Richardson's ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, badgers, beavers, muskrats, minks, and weasels. Amphibians include leopard, wood, and striped chorus frogs, as well as tiger salamanders; reptiles are limited to the wandering garter snake.