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10 of the Best Scenic and Historic Byways in Colorado

Thirty years ago, Colorado set up a program to preserve and promote the state’s best drives. Here, some of those favorite byways to help you plan your next road trip.

Photograph by Jason Hatfield

The paths human beings travel have long been the stuff of legend, but it wasn’t until 1989 that Colorado recognized that some of its roads—most paved, a few requiring four-wheel-drive and/or high clearance—deserved an official designation. That year, then Governor Roy Romer passed an executive order to create a commission dedicated to saving treks with “exceptional scenic, ecological, cultural, or historic attributes.” Today, the state program highlights 26 roadways. And although the gorgeous views are often a giveaway, you’ll know when you’re on these iconic routes because each is marked by blue signs that feature, fittingly, an image of a columbine, Colorado’s state flower.

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