Fuel up in Glenwood Springs for this 250-mile (402-km) drive that will take the better part of a day, but what a day it will be! Except for a chance encounter with a few cowboys and sheepherders, this is the road less traveled.
It’s remote and unpaved, a combination of gravel and dirt, with a high mountain pass thrown in for good measure. The Flat Tops Wilderness Scenic Byway is closed in winter and only open during “good” weather, but be prepared for mud in springtime or after heavy summer rainfall. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of some of the local residents – herds of elk, mule deer and Colorado big horn sheep. From late June through July, the wildflowers are at their most magnificent and include clusters of blue-hued Columbines, Colorado’s state flower.
To get started, travel east on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, itself an iconic Colorado drive. Take Exit 157 for Colorado 131 North toward Wolcott and Steamboat Springs. At Yampa follow the Colorado Scenic Byway signs for a drive touted to be one of the most gorgeous in the state.