These scenic and historic byways can be “paired” with some of Colorado’s award-winning wineries:
Trail of the Ancients
The 114-mile Trail of the Ancients travels between Mesa Verde National Park and two remote national monuments (Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients).
Wine time: Southwest of the town of Cortez, stop into Guy Drew Vineyards, located in McElmo Canyon, which sources fruit only from Colorado vineyards.
Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway
The Grand Mesa byway traverses the largest flat-top mountain in the world along 63 miles of picturesque canyons, forests and several of the mesa's more than 300 stream-fed lakes.
Wine time: After traveling southeast on this route from I-70, stop in Cedaredge, where the Neal Family purchased a 50-acre farm in 1989 to establish Stoney Mesa Winery.
Dinosaur Diamond Scenic & Historic Byway
Dinosaur Diamond is a meandering, 486-mile byway weaves through the northwest corner of the state, where dinosaurs were abundant, leaving fossils and footprints.
Wine time: About 10 miles east of the byway’s terminus in Grand Junction is the DeBeque Canyon Winery in Palisade, well-known for its oak-aged wines.
Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic & Historic Byway
Wine time: Along the byway in the town of LaPorte, check out Ten Bears Winery, which uses a winter-hibernation process (as its name might imply) for a smooth, easy flavor.
Gold Belt Tour Scenic & Historic Byway
The Gold Belt Tour is anchored by the communities of Cripple Creek, Victor, Florissant, Florence, Cañon City and several mining ghost towns. A 113-mile circuit, it offers unpaved and paved roadways, as well as a 4-wheel-drive route along Shelf Road.
Wine time: The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City no longer has monks within its quiet walls, but does offer wine tastings and a gift shop with an extensive array of wine-related items.
South Platte River Trail Scenic & Historic Byway
The only 19-mile South Platte River Trail is the location of Colorado’s only Pony Express station, the Transcontinental Railroad and the Lincoln Highway Loop, the first coast-to-coast automobile road in the U.S.
Wine time: South of Julesburg are remains of the Italian Caves, also reported to be an underground palace, which was dug by Uberta Gibello in the 1880s. He proceeded to dig this palace after his marvel of an irrigation system, complete with concrete lined ditches, did little to help the vineyards survive. Though the wine dried up long ago, the area’s history still can be enjoyed.
For more information about the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, visit www.ColoradoByways.org.