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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.

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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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