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Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway

San Isabel National Forest
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Type of Bike: Hybrid , Road Bike
Distance: 103 miles one way

50-mile-stretch of mountains includes 22 peaks that are over 13,000 feet in elevation.


Moderate. The area is a mountain bikers paradise with many roads and trails from which to choose. Tour biking is also popular, and the highways’ paved shoulders, typically 4 feet in width, accommodate this enormous user group.

Additonal Information:
Lake Pueblo State Park and Visitor Center: http://www.byways.org/travel/place.html?CX_PLACE=12702&CX_BYWAY=2108&CX_STATE=CO&SUBJ=S,B


Bishop Castle,Cuerno Verde Rest Area and Information Center,El Pueblo Museum,Lake Pueblo State Park and Visitor Center,San Isabel National Forest,Sangre de Cristo Mountains (west of Silvercliff),Westcliff Schoolhouse


During the winter of 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike nearly froze to death in the Wet Mountain Valley, within sight of the peak bearing his name. Yet this valley and its mountain became a beacon to 19th-century settlers who came to take advantage of the good soil and climate. Today, the valley boasts one of the state's finest collections of historic ranches and farmsteads (some date back to the 1840s) trading posts, and stage stops. This pastoral paradise contrasts well with the more severe-looking Hardscrabble Canyon, the whitecapped Sangre de Cristos, and the sharp mesas and hogbacks that flank the Arkansas River. The history of this byway is like a microcosm of the history of the West. It tells of American Indians, trappers, explorers, traders, settlers, miners, farmers and growing cities. The area is unique for its still intact high-country ranches and unspoiled meadows. The area also has many famous ''firsts''-- the first planned auto recreation in a National Forest, Colorado's first colony, and some of the first Baptist and Lutheran churches in the state. In addition to the byway's rich history, there are beautiful sights to see.

Directions to Start Ride

From Denver travel south on Interstate 25 for 112 miles to Pueblo. At Pueblo, take State Highway 96 west for 51 miles to Westcliffe. From Denver travel south on Interstate 25 for 140 miles to State Highway 165 at Colorado City. Go northwest on State Highway 165 for 52 miles to its junction with State Highway 96 at McKenzie Junction. From Pueblo take Route 96 through Wetmore, Silver Cliff, and Westcliffe. On Highway 96 at McKenzie Junction there is the option of following Route 165 south & southwest to Colorado City, going through Rye and San Isabel.

Mile by Mile

This itinerary assumes visitors are beginning the byway in the east from the town of Pueblo. Visitors beginning the byway from the west (the town of Westcliffe) can follow the itinerary by starting from the bottom of the list and moving up.


  • Pueblo Museum
    This museum, located in the town of Pueblo, allows visitors an opportunity to learn about the interaction of several different cultures: American Indian, Mexican, and American. Fascinating artifacts, colorful murals and interesting stories bring the history of the Pueblo area to life.


  • Wetmore and Early Settlements
    Located on Hwy. 96 at mile marker 26.4. Over 150 years ago, buckskin-clad French traders, scrappy American farmers, and fur traders lived in nearby settlements. In the 1830's, three French ex-trappers built a fort on Adobe Creek to facilitate trade with the Ute Indians. It was called Buzzard's Roost, or Maurice's Fort, after Maurice LeDuc. Later settlements in the area included Hardscrabble in 1844 and Wetmore in the late 1870's.


  • Sangre de Cristo Mountains (west of Silvercliff)
    Miners, ranchers, and modern-day motorists have all marveled at this breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristos. This 50-mile-stretch of mountains includes 22 peaks that are over 13,000 feet in elevation.


  • Westcliff Schoolhouse
    This school house, located in the town of Westcliffe, was built in 1891 and dedicated on Christmas Eve of the same year. No one knows why the school name, still visible above the front doors as 'westcliff,' was spelled without the 'e.'



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