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Top of the Rockies Byway Map

Overview

Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway journeys along some of Colorado’s most scenic wilderness, with elevations rarely measuring below a staggering 9,000 feet. However, that is not all the byway boasts – the entire byway is filled with blue, snow-capped peaks hovering over lush green valleys and canyons. Travelers will cross the Continental divide twice along this route, as well as parallel several rivers. Whether you come for the outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife, or historic mining destinations, everybody can find something magical to see along this unique route.

115 miles / 185 km, Copper Mountain and Minturn to Aspen

Key Attractions

  • Snow-capped peaks, green meadows, lush, narrow canyons, and sparkling blue lakes
  • Historic railroads, mining towns, like Leadville, and ranches, like Escondido Ranch – located near Red Cliff, CO
  • Holy Cross Wilderness and several national forests – spectacular scenery – blue ridges over green trees or meadows, lakes, and trails
  • Fishing, hiking, biking, camping, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and ATV trails
  • Wildlife includes bighorn sheep, prong horn antelope, red tail foxes,
  • Picturesque wildflowers in the warmer months
  • Some of the highest peaks in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains – including Mount Elbert, Twin Peaks, Mount Hope, and Quail Mountain
  • Cross-country skiing (Mayflower Gulch is a prime spot) and skiing/boarding (Copper Mountain, Vail, etc.)
  • Golfing (Mt. Massive Golf Course, the highest golf course in North America)

Location

  • 101 miles from Denver, CO
  • Located in the western-middle section of Colorado
  • Byway consists of three arms branching from Leadville, CO, with endpoints at Aspen, CO, I-70 (just past Minturn, CO), and Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area(just past Copper Mountain, CO)
    • Driving the byway:
      • Leadville to Aspen

      • From Leadville, drive south on US-24

      • Turn west onto CO-82 (Independence Pass Road) in Balltown, CO

      • Continue on CO-82 to Aspen, CO (or just past to Maroon Creek Bridge)

      • This arm of the byway ends here

 

      • Leadville to I-70

      • From Leadville, drive north on US-24 towards Minturn, CO

      • Continue past Minturn, CO to I-70

      • This arm of the byway ends here

 

      • Leadville to Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area

      • From Leadville, drive north on CO-91

      • Pass the Copper Mountain Ski Resort to the border of Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area

      • This arm of the byway ends here

    • There is gas, lodging, food, shopping, and camping along this byway
    • This byway provides several options for the handicapped, including the Braille Trail at Independence Pass, located on Hwy 82 at mile marker 54
    • Highway 82 is a narrow road and not very conducive to biking, however there are paralleling foot/bike trails near the city of Aspen, CO and more bike-friendly stretches of road near the cities of Twin Lakes and Leadville, CO

Other Information

(This site is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.)