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Frontier Pathways

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 37 miles / 59.5 km
  • Ride Time: 2-4 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $2.81
  • State: Colorado
Submitted by:
OpenRoadRider pro

Frontier Pathways

The Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway infuses history, nature, and recreation within its length. Stories of 19th Century people are scattered across the region and tell of survival and success. Follow in the footsteps of Native Americans, trappers, explorers, traders, miners, and farmers. Travel from place to place, allowing you to experience frontier life as they did.

Learn about several cultures and their relationships with each other at El Pueblo Museum; bright murals, interesting artifacts, and enthralling tales awaken the colorful history of American Indians, Mexicans, and Americans. Take the Gold Belt Tour through Cripple Creek to discover its rich history and explore an underground gold mine. While in town, make a stop at Cripple Creek District Museum and see artifacts remaining from the gold boom over one hundred years ago.

The Byway hosts distinctive exhibits and lands found nowhere else. Bishop Castle is one such display; a one-man project begun by Jim Bishop, he uses only a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Even more inspiring, his ongoing project participates in a non-profit organization. Comprised of over two million acres, the Pike and San Isabel National Forest showcases nature in alluring combinations. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails meander through massive mountains; rapid rivers wind through wide canyons. The majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains tower with 22 peaks reaching at least 13,000 feet; they extend for 50 miles, easily seen from a number of points along the Byway.

In addition to its remarkable landscape, the Sangre de Cristos boast numerous mountain biking trails. Novices and experts alike enjoy the variety of difficulty found in the assortment of paths. Lake Isabel offers adventure year-round; whether you enjoy fishing and boating in warm weather months or snowshoeing across a frozen lake in the cold of winter, make Lake Isabel your ideal destination. Lake Pueblo State Park provides over 7,000 acres of outdoor excitement. Camp overnight, have a picnic after a leisurely hike, and go waterskiing on clear waters. The high concentration of rugged trails and vast bodies of water create recreational opportunities galore.

Find a microcosm of the history of the West in this rural region. Relive frontier history in this pastoral paradise by perusing museums or embarking on tours. Pursue adventure in the white-capped Sangre de Cristos Mountains and the Pike and San Isabel National Forest. Escape chaotic city life and discover all that the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway has to offer.

State Highways:
State Highways 96 and 165 are maintained year-round by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). There are no seasonal restrictions. CDOT plows both highways during and after all snowstorms. It is very rare for any section of the road to be closed for a significant time due to snow accumulation.

Visitors travel the Byway year-round, thus necessitating a high level of maintenance. Aside from brief but sometimes intense thunderstorms, adverse weather affecting traffic during the summer is very rare. During the winter, visitors drive the Byway to view the snow-draped Sangre De Cristos or to ski. They rarely encounter any problems.

County Roads:
Many of the Frontier Pathways loop tours are on county gravel roads. All significant county roads are plowed quickly after storms, although plowing along these roads may take a little longer than the state highways.

US Forest Roads & Trails:
There are many US Forest Service access roads that connect with or are near the Byway. Most forest roads are maintained in the summer but are not plowed in the winter. US Forest Service trails are open year-round. Many people enjoy hiking the trails in the summer and cross-country skiing on the same trails in the winter. The only accessibility limitations to these trails occur when county roads are not yet plowed or when easy access to a trail is via a closed Forest Service road.

Please be aware:
-Wildfires are an ever-present danger in the dry summer months. Please follow all posted signs regarding campfires, and do not throw cigarettes out the car window.
-Abandoned mines are extremely dangerous -- look, take pictures, but do not explore.
-If you are driving a large RV and find you are relishing the scenery more slowly than those in your rear view mirror, please be courteous, pull over, and let them pass.
-Please respect property owners' rights; don't trespass and don't litter.
-This Byway traverses high mountain passes; be prepared for all types of weather. High altitudes bring increased sun exposure and reduced oxygen, so wear sunscreen and sunglasses and don't overexert yourself.
-There are rare winter closures due to snowfall.

Best Time to Drive
The best time to drive depends on whether you enjoy snow-covered peaks and pines or the greenery and flowers of spring and summer.

High Season
Summer is Colorado's busiest tourist season, but winter also brings a lot a ski-season traffic.

Information was obtained by permission from

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Colorado. This motorcycle route has 10 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in March. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider

Rider Photos:

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  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Frontier Pathways
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 6 for Frontier Pathways
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 7 for Frontier Pathways

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesUrban/ResidentialParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHillyLight TrafficAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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