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Pony Express Trail monument. Photo by Jim West/Alamy Stock Photo

Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways: South Platte River Trail

On the Eastern Plains, this short drive—just 19 miles—pays homage to the state’s transportation history.

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Julesburg (loop)

While the aspens are putting on their gilded show in the mountains each fall, the prairie is going through its own transformation as pasturelands turn amber before winter blankets them with snow and ice. If you still want to see changing colors but don’t want to mess with traffic, head east to this short byway that heralds the area’s connections to transportation innovations that include the Pony Express (each June, the city of Julesburg revives its role as a stop on the historic route when riders re-create the 1,966-mile horse ride between Missouri and California) and the Lincoln Highway (an early coast-to-coast thoroughfare).

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Roadside Attraction

The Hippodrome Arts Centre is celebrating its 100th birthday this year by doing what it has always done: entertain the citizens of Julesburg. Run by volunteers, the historical building shows movies on most weekends. 215 Cedar St., Julesburg, 970-474-9977

’Grammable Spot

Grab a selfie near the weathered windmill and cistern about four miles (including a quick trip down a section of gravel road) southeast of Julesburg.

Refuel

Pick a seat at one of the long tables at D&J Cafe, inquire about the daily special, and ask your neighbor—probably a local—about the constantly changing weather. 114 Cedar St., Julesburg, 970-474-0982

Go Now

Watch someone else squeal their tires at the Julesburg Dragstrip, one of the country’s oldest tracks for this type of racing. Through Oct. 6; 17454 U.S. 138, Julesburg

Get Outside

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