Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway
Length: 40.0 mi / 64.4 km
Time to Allow: Two hours
One of the first historic byways in the country, the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway has provided access to foothills scenery and outdoor experience since 1912-1914, when the City and County of Denver built roads to bring residents and tourists to the new Denver Mountain Parks system. Two portions of the roads that make up the byway are on the National Register of Historic Places: the Bear Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive and the Lariat Trail Scenic Mountain Drive, which serve as the south and north entrances, respectively, to Denver’s historic circle drives and the modern byway.
The 36-mile loop runs through the historic towns of Morrison, Evergreen, and Golden, which have maintained their integrity and authenticity over time. These towns supplied the miners and trappers in the 1850s and the early tourists in the early 1900s. Initially, railroads brought tourists to Golden and Morrison, delivering them to the bases of three mountains, where funiculars transported people up to world-class views of the Front Range and the plains. Visit more than three dozen historic sites and buildings that line the route and interpret primary themes of the mountain west, from mining and ranching to homesteads and tourism.
The Loop rests on the edge of the Denver metropolitan area where two million people reside. Within 60 minutes, you can drive from Denver to the top of Mount Evans (elevation 14,265, once the country’s highest auto road), and visit 19th-century mountain towns to learn about pioneer culture and railroad history, learn about the discovery of dinosaurs in the west, or hear a concert at the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. You'll find plenty of recreational opportunities as well, including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and paragliding.
Drive the beautiful Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway for a magnificent experience of narrow mountain canyons with views of the Rocky Mountains and the Eastern Plains.
A scenic drive with more than natural beauty? Come to the Lariat Loop near Denver, Colorado, for scenic beauty and more: diverting museums, good entertainment, tantalizing cuisine, and the open range with elbow room for hunting, hiking, and horseplay. Here is diversity with density; the byway's forty miles are crammed with cultural, natural, and historic landmarks. Best of all, as Colorado's only urban byway, it's less than half an hour from downtown Denver.
Imagine it is 1888, and you are on a Colorado mountain road, riding your new mountain bike. Look out for that hole in the road! Oh, that wasn't so bad. Your new mountain bicycle, with its full suspension, eased the jolt. How wonderful. What are they going to invent next?
to Enjoy the Ride...
1-Day Trip: The Settlement of the Mountain West
The main story to tell along the Lariat Loop Byway is the history of settling the mountains in the West. First came the gold miners, ranchers and...