Famous for its diverse landscape, Colorado is a state of the United States. Having many byways and roads popular among bike lovers, the state is an absolute dream destination for people looking forward to exploring something on their motorcycle. A hub of history, fine arts, cuisines, wine and beer, the place has something for everyone. The historical monuments are beyond appreciation and carry you into a whole new world of art, technology, and ancient culture.
Here, we bring you top 12 rides straight from Colorado for your next road trip:
- MOUNT EVANS SCENIC BYWAY
Located 60 miles west of Denver, Mount Evans Scenic Byway is one of the most popular motorcycle rides. Rising up to a height of 14,130 feet above the sea level and remaining covered in snow for a major part of the year, the ride is generally open to cars only from the Memorial Day to the Labour Day. The highest paved road in North America, Mount Evans welcomes the visitors with grooves of pine trees and beautiful scenery appealing enough to be explored further. Presenting a magnificent view of glacier valleys, the high peaks are an absolute delight for adventure bike riders.
- TRAIL RIDGE ROAD
Source: World Atlas
Popularly known as the Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway, Trail Ridge Road is a 77 km long route stretching from Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park, Colorado in the East to Grand Lake, Colorado in the west. Depending on the weather conditions, the road remains closed entirely during the winter and remains so until late spring or early summer. The best way to explore it is on a motorcycle while appreciating the pine trees and the local animals. The road doesn’t dead end and gives the visitors all reasons to appreciate its beauty and thrill.
- SANTA FE TRAIL SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY
Originally used as a trade route, Santa Fe Trail goes through the streets of Trinidad and offers the rider an amazing opportunity to explore outstanding historic buildings. Immensely influenced by history, the ride holds safe some of the deepest secrets of the nation. Stretching over a length of 184 miles, the ride is easier as compared to the other rides and is generally termed as ‘long’ rather than ‘tough’. Well, the ride is straight doesn’t mean it is not adventurous enough. It still holds its charm and any motorcycle rider curious enough would explore a lot out of it.
- SAN JUAN SKYWAY
Forming a 375 km long loop, San Juan Skyway is an All-American Road and presents the riders with an opportunity to traverse multiple mountain passes. Popular for their historical connection, the towns connected by the road are perfect for a weekend ride. With mountains looking as if they were painted, the ride invites visitors throughout the year irrespective of the season. Many Victorian buildings, registered as National Historic Sites, lie along the route and are yet another reason to explore the byway.
- UNAWEEP-TABEGUACHE SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY
Source: Interpretive Association of Western Colorado
Located in Western Colorado, the byway stretches over a length of 133 miles and is a 3 hours ride approximately. Once a point for mining Uranium, the place eventually developed into a ride after the two mighty rivers namely Dolores and San Miguel did their job. Available for a ride throughout the year, unlike other rides, it is not surrounded by snow covered mountains but rather plateaus. From desert bush to forest, the changing variety of plant life along the way is yet another reason to explore this amazing ride.
- FRONTIER PATHWAYS SCENIC BYWAY
Yet another popular ride, Frontier Pathways is a 100 miles long stretch. Beginning in the city of Pueblo, the city lies 2 hours south of Denver. Traversing the San Isabel National Forest twice, the ride takes you to the city of Westcliffe opening a whole new world of adventure activities and new explorations like horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing and many more. The unspoiled meadows and the still intact high country ranches differentiate the ride from other byways. Although visitors pour in year round, the ride is perfect to be explored on a summer evening.
- PAWNEE PIONEER TRAILS SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY
128 miles long, this byway is the perfect spot to see the fastest land mammal in North America. Boasting 54 mountains taller than 14,000 feet, the byway is known for the scenic beauty it offers. 30 minutes northeast of Denver, the ride is quite spread out and distant thus making it difficult for the visitors to access the services. These 3 hours can be an absolute delight for you if motorcycle adventure products give you an adrenaline rush like nothing else.
- TOP OF THE ROCKIES
Source: Top of the Rockies Zipline
A national scenic byway in Colorado, Top of the Rockies is located at a height of 9000 ft. Major attractions along the ride are Tennessee Pass, Leadville (Colorado), Valley of the Ghosts and Mount Elbert. Approximately 82 miles long, it takes around 2 hours to traverse the path completely. It was designated as a ‘National Scenic Byway’ in 1998 by the US Secretary of Transportation. The byway is quite popular among the motorcyclists for the scenery that it presents and the thrill that the ride brings along. Following the beginning of the Arkansas river, the ride also gives an opportunity to explore lakes in the area and have an awesome stop by. Leadville, located at a height of 10152 feet, is another major reason to explore Top of the Rockies. It is the highest incorporated city in the United States. Thus, the two hours ride will be filled with thrill, adventure, wonder and what not!
- INDEPENDENCE PASS
Source: Independence Pass
Originally known as ‘Hunter Pass’. Independence Pass is another popular byway in Colorado waiting to be explored. It is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of Central Colorado in the United States. At an elevation of 12,095 feet, the pass is open in the warmer weather and is a popular tourist destination. Offering the visitors an amazing opportunity to witness the alpine tundra environment above treeline, the pass is also famous for giving an excellent view of Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. Popular for rock climbing, the pass also has water-based recreational facilities available for the tourists. However, the pass is closed during winter and The Colorado Department of Transportation has restricted the use of Highway 82 through the pass. Even when the pass is open, not all vehicles are allowed. Overweight and oversized vehicles are strictly prohibited and driving through the pass is quite challenging.
- LOS CAMINOS ANTIGUOS SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY
This is the only scenic byway which is left untouched by the advancements of technology. Life doesn’t seem to have progressed much here since the 1960s. Approximately 148 miles long, the byway is a 5 hours 17 minutes drive. Popularly known as ‘Ancient Roads’, the ride is a legacy of 16th-century Spanish explorers. Diverse landscapes of snow clad mountains and lakes, the byway is one of its kind when it comes to the scenery along the way. The most famous and a must-visit tourist attraction on the way is the ‘La Capilla de Todos Los Santos’. People from all religious and spiritual affiliations visit the shrine with immense hope and devotion. The oldest standing church in Colorado ‘San Acacio Mission Church’ can also be found along the way. The byway further takes you to Antonito, revealing a lot of Spanish and Mexican explorers and the legacy they left behind.
- ALPINE LOOP
Yet another byway on the list, Alpine Loop is approximately 12 miles long and is a mere 49 minutes drive. Perfect to be explored in Summer and the Fall, the roads are gravelled and must be explored with proper motorcycle safety gear. The byway gives you a chance to explore Colorado’s rich mining and logging history. More than for motorcycle, the roads here are car friendly. The scenic drive passes through rugged Alpine Canyons of the Wasatch Range and hence derived its name. Open from late May to late October, it is mandatory for the visitors to buy a recreation pass to use and explore the facilities of the area.
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
Source: Yang Lu Photography
A 1 hour 2 minutes drive, open in all seasons, Colorado National Monument is approximately 25 miles long. Located more than 2000 feet above the Colorado River, the ride is an awesome way to explore a semi-desert terrain. Also known as ‘The Monument’, it contains many hiking trails varying over different difficulty levels. Although it is more of a national park, yet a ride through the park gives a tough competition to any scenic byway of Colorado and is equally thrilling if not more!
Thus, these were the top 12 Colorado Motorcycle Rides. Some of these are accessible throughout the year while others are open to the visitors only for a particular number of months. You need proper motorcycle accessories for your safety while setting out on these trips along with a lot of zeal for adventure. Good luck!
Jessica is a traveller by heart. Along with frequently penning down her thoughts related to travel experiences, she is an avid biker and an expert reviewer of motorcycle adventure products too.