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3 Scenic Byways: Leaf Peeping in Southern Colorado

3 Scenic Byways: Leaf Peeping in Southern Colorado
4 days

See the reds, yellows, oranges and browns create a kaleidoscope of color in the southern Colorado towns of Lake City, Creede, Alamosa, Antonito, Mosca, La Veta, Cuchara and Trinidad.

Sustainability Activity

Care For Colorado:

Our communities love sharing their wealth of natural beauty and outdoor experiences with you. All we ask is that you have an amazing time while showing our lands and people plenty of love, kindness and respect. We promise to pay it back tenfold.

Sustainability Activity
Day 1
Activity

Windy Point Overlook

Website

Heading south on the Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway, make a pit stop at Windy Point, east of Lake City. This overlook offers superb views of five fourteeners (mountains that stand more than 14,000 feet in height) and endless views of golden aspens.

Insider's Tip

Pick Up a Guide:
Stop by the Lake City Visitors Center for a Mile Post Guide prior to hitting the road and heading south toward Creede.
Lunch

Climb Elevated Eatery

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Elevated comfort food and craft cocktails served with attentive, friendly service.

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Activity

Bachelor Loop Tour

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This 17-mile, self-guided driving tour showcases amazing foliage and historic mining structures throughout Creede’s silver-mining district.
Dinner

Kip's Grill

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Kip's Grill started operating out of a caboose on the side of the Highway in Del Norte, Colorado in 1996. The goal was to create seriously fresh, handmade tacos with amazing flavors and provide... Read More

Activity

Historic Downtown Creede: Walking Tour

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Experience the history and charm of the western mining town of Creede.  Downtown is home to shops, art galleries, and eateries, as well as the nationally acclaimed Creede Repertory Theatre. Pick... Read More

Lodging

Aspen Inn & Finding Gems Gift Shop

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A small inn in a historic building of an old mining town offers accommodations in comfort and natural beauty while retreating from the modern world. The inn is listed on airbnb and booking.com... Read More

Day 2
Breakfast

Cafe Ole

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Fresh-baked pastries and light breakfast, sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch.

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Activity

Pool Table Road Scenic Drive

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Views of golden aspens line Pool Table Road, just off the Silver Thread. Scenic views of the Rio Grande River Valley are visible for the first few miles of the trip, which climbs through aspen, spruce and fir to beautiful rolling, grassy, sub-alpine parks. The 9.4-mile scenic drive is accessible by passenger car and leads to Hanson's Sawmill Site.

Insider's Tip

Head to Alamosa:

Take a drive on the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway.

Lunch

Rubi Slipper

Website

The Rubi Slipper has classic American cuisine, and is open for lunch and dinner. Famous for their $1 Taco Tuesdays, they've extended that special to every day. Enjoy burgers, salads, chili, nachos,... Read More
Activity

Scenic Autumn Drive & Conejos Canyon Overlook

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Take a brisk fall drive starting in Alamosa through the southern end of the San Luis Valley to the beautiful San Juan Mountains along the Conejos River. Climb Highway 17 along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway through colorful aspen trees and crisp mountain air. Enjoy the views from Conejos Canyon Overlook. You may even spot the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad train rumbling by.

Insider's Tip

Make a Pitstop:
If you have more time, stop at Elk Creek Bridge before you drive up the switchbacks and take a kayak or tube down the Conejos River (during low water in July and August when it’s hot). Stop to see Elk Meadow Ranch on your way back to Mogote on the southeast side of the Conejos River. 
 
Dinner

Dos Hermanas Restaurant

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For two delicious decades, Dos Hermanas Restaurant has been a destination for Antonito’s best homemade recipes and margaritas. Read More
Activity

Rio Grande Natural Area

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On the way back to Alamosa, turn right on Hwy 142 toward San Luis and drive to the Rio Grande Natural Area at the pull-off just west of the Rio Grande. You might even come across a tarantula — this is one of the few places in Colorado to find them!
Lodging

Valley Motel

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Valley Motel is a family operated independent economy motel located right of Highway 160 in the beautiful town of Alamosa in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. It makes an attractive and affordable choice... Read More
Day 3
Breakfast

Milagros Coffee House

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Drink Coffee....Love Others!  Milagros Coffeehouse not only serves a full line of delicious espresso and coffee drinks, teas, and baked goods, we also support the efforts of La Puente Home in... Read More

Activity

Colorado Gators Reptile Park

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Colorado Gators began in 1977 as a fish farm to raise tilapia for human consumption. The geothermal well is 2050 feet deep and 87 degrees. In 1987, the first alligators were brought in as ... Read More

Insider's Tip

UFO Watchtower:

Drive North past Hooper to see the UFO Watchtower. It's a 360-degree-view observation platform of the San Luis Valley. Get directions, and after you've seen the view, hop on the road to La Veta.

Lunch

Corners Diner

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Breakfast, burgers, steaks and delicious daily specials. Read More
Activity

JW Ranch Nature Excursions

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Fully guided nature excursions on a large mountain ranch in a UTV or 4x4. Observe the abundant wildlife and countless opportunities to photograph beautiful scenery and wild animals.

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Insider's Tip

Drive to Dinner:

Hop onto the Highway of Legends and head south toward Trinidad. 

Dinner

Dog Bar & Grill

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Long considered the heart and soul of the Cuchara Valley, Dog Bar & Grill is the place to enjoy lunch on the outdoor deck with your favorite canine or a casual dine-in evening for dinner and... Read More

Activity

Trinidad Lake State Park

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Pinyon-juniper woodland and short- and mixed-grass prairies occupy park uplands making for excellent photos.

Insider's Tip

Take the Long Way Round:

Take a more interesting drive to your final destination for the evening: From Trinidad Lake State Park, take the road over the Trinidad Dam (CR 18.3) to Starkville then north on Santa Fe Trail into Trinidad.

Lodging

La Quinta Inn & Suites Trinidad

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Take advantage of our pet-friendly hotel's many modern amenities, free hotel features, friendly service, and convenient location near the city's downtown hub. Read More
Day 4

Insider's Tip

Breakfast: Your morning meal is included in your stay at the La Quinta Inn & Suites.
Activity

Art Cartopia Art Car Museum

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Our wondrous array of art cars has finally opened at fantastic location just off of Interstate 25 (exit 15). The museum is open year round with 25+ art cars on display. That's not all… There is... Read More

Lunch

Mission at the Bell Restaurant

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Mission at the Bell is a cozy, family-owned restaurant, (over 20 years in business) serving Tex-Mex style menu items. Located on the basement level of the historic Bell Block building in the... Read More

Wormhole Loop Trail

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Wormhole Loop Trail is a 2.3-mile moderately trafficked loop near Trinidad. Trail run, hike or mountain bike the afternoon away.