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North Clear Creek Falls. Photo by Tomas Kaspar/Alamy Stock Photo

Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways: Silver Thread

Water and rock define this 117-mile stretch of road that features both mountains and rivers—and plenty of public land.

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U.S. 50 and CO 149 to South Fork

When you drive down this road, marvel at the fact that the area around you is mostly public land, which makes up 95 percent of Mineral and Hinsdale counties. There’s lots of space for you to explore, from Creede—a town you must drive a scenic byway to reach—to spots like Love Lake, an alpine pool surrounded by aspens (about 10 miles off CO 149). Mountains dominate the views, but the waterways—the Rio Grande, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, and multiple reservoirs—are the area’s lifeblood.

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Roadside Attraction

The ground is moving quite literally at the Slumgullion Earthflow, a series of massive landslides that started at least 700 years ago. Some parts are still slowly shifting to reveal gold, amber, and pink soils (and leaving trees growing sideways). CO 149 between Creede and Lake City

’Grammable Spot

Test your manual-photography-setting skills (hint: make sure to slow that shutter speed way down) at picture-perfect North Clear Creek Falls.

Refuel

From barbacoa tacos to “frickles” (fried pickles), there are several ways to fill your tank at Kip’s Grill. 101 E. Fifth St., Creede, 719-658-0220

Go Now

Gold leaves get all the glory—except at Cruisin’ the Canyon Fall Color Truck, Motorcycle & Car Show, where gleaming chrome is the hue of choice. Sept. 20 to 22; Creede

Get Outside

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