Start With: Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway (Copper to Granite, 42 miles/68 kilometers)
The Top of the Rockies scenic byway is a fantastic starting point and introduction to Colorado’s diverse landscape. Riders will cross the Continental Divide and pass two of the state’s highest peaks—Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, at 14,440 and 14,421 feet (4,401 and 4,395.5 meters), respectively.
In addition to a majestic backdrop, there are opportunities to make historic stops in Leadville—a once-booming mining town. Check out the lavish Victorian houses, the long-since abandoned silver mines, and the Tabor Opera House to get a unique peek into the area’s past.
Up Next: Collegiate Peaks (Granite to Salida, 57 miles/92 kilometers)
Welcome to Chaffee County, home to the highest concentration of 14,000-foot (427-meter) mountains in North America: the Collegiate Peaks. These glorious 14ers, with names reminiscent of the Ivy League—Mt. Yale, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Princeton—rise 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) above the Arkansas River Valley. Riders cruise through an impressive and ever-unfolding landscape, filled with lush riversides, national forests and public lands.
Once you’ve made it through the mountainous byway, pull over for a pit stop at one of Chaffee County’s hot springs to soothe, relax and recover.
- Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center. This community center facility is the largest indoor hot springs in North America, with its lap, soaking, and private pools.
- Mount Princeton Hot Springs. Known as a scenic overnight or day retreat, Mount Princeton Hot Springs is packed with amenities, like a historic bathhouse, creekside hot springs, a waterslide, and a spa and health club.
- Historic Cottonwood Hot Springs. With a relaxed and back-to-nature vibe, Cottonwood Hot Springs is a peaceful stop with a quiet-zone and alcohol-free pools, as well as various lodging options.