The Colorado Springs area encompasses a wide variety of Colorado scenic drives that traverse everything from pristine pine and aspen forests along Pikes Peak to twisty canyons and winding mountain passes. Fall is an especially pretty time to cruise these routes, so be sure to bring your camera to capture the golden hues of the trees and other foliage.
1. Gold Belt Scenic Byway
One of the most famous routes is the Gold Belt Scenic Byway, a scenic drive that takes motorists along historic railroad and stagecoach routes where the most prominent, populated mining towns were located: Florissant, Victor, Cañon City, Florence and nearby Cripple Creek. This drive can take anywhere from two to eight hours and is about 135 miles total. Drive part of it or all of it, but don’t forget to stop to take in each of the area’s main attractions.
2. Golden Loop Historic Byway
The Golden Loop Historic Parkway was made famous during the gold rush in the 1890s. This area includes the Cripple Creek and Victor mining areas and takes you through historic mining backcountry roads.
3. Pikes Peak Highway
Another favorite scenic drive near Colorado Springs is the Pikes Peak Highway. Take the trip up to the legendary mountain’s summit and soak up wraparound vistas of the city. The 19-mile road starts at 7,400 feet and climbs up to the mountain's 14,115-foot summit past beautiful trees, serene lakes, hills and snow-crowned mountaintops.
4. Skyline Drive
Cruise a road that ascends and follows the top of a high razorback ridge overlooking Cañon City. Skyline Drive is a one-way, paved road from Hwy. 50 on the west edge of town. Soon the landscape falls away hundreds of feet on both sides, which is hair-raising yet awe-inspiring. Panoramas of the city below spread out on both sides, and there are pullouts to enjoy the view. Toward the top, there is an interpretive display to help you see the ancient dinosaur tracks embedded in the cliff face.
5. Russell Tutt Scenic Highway
Russell Tutt Scenic Highway is a hidden gem that takes drivers to the Will Rodgers Shrine inside the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It's only a 1.4-mile drive up the mountain and the route supplies amazing views of Colorado Springs. The fee for the drive is included in your zoo admission rate.
This article was originally published on Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website.