Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Family Road Trips on Colorado's Scenic Byways
When parents are planning the best vacations in Colorado with the kids, they can hardly miss by focusing on Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways. 

We've listed eleven of them here, with a quick description of what you can expect along the way. 

Snowmass, near Aspen, Colorado, offers vacationing families great options for lodging, including many different condominiums that can be rented on a weekly basis.

Article: Colorado Lodging for Family Travelers

Custom Search

Did You Know?

The tallest sand dunes in North America are in Colorado, at Great Sand Dunes
National Park
The dune field  covers more than 30 square miles. The dunes themselves stretch over 700 feet high in places.



Did You  Know?

The City of Denver has its own
bison herd. In fact, it has two of them.

One herd lives in Genesee Park, along I-70, and the other lives in Daniels Park, in Douglas County.

Bison (Buffalo)
Photo: Denver, Colorado has its own bison herds. (Some folks call them buffalo.) The bison (buffalo) live in two different Denver Mountain Parks.

Great Adventures in Colorado with the Kids

Photo: The view of Fall River Road from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. 
Colorado is blessed with some of America's best scenery. And lucky for folks on a Colorado vacation with the kids, much of that scenery is easily accessible to families. Along the way, you can also explore historic spots that shaped the progress of the entire nation. 

This state has so many of these beautiful, remarkable places that it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start. Fortunately, the good people at America’s Byways (part of the Federal Highway Administration) have identified eleven driving routes in Colorado that have something special to offer.  

These Historic and Scenic Byways snake across some of the prettiest places in Colorado. They include:


Colorado River Headwaters – This byway explores the waterfalls and reservoirs of the Colorado River from its birth high on the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park to the historic State Bridge near the tiny town of Bond, Colorado. It connects to the Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road byway. 


Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway – The Colorado section of this large loop byway runs from Dinosaur National Monument, in the far northwest corner of the state, south to the towns of Fruita, Loma, and Mack, near Grand Junction. As you can guess from the name, paleontology is the theme as the route takes you to exceptional dinosaur digs and museums. A generous ration of outstanding geological scenery is thrown in for good measure.


Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway – Stretching west from Pueblo, Frontier Pathways crosses the Wet Mountains on its way to the towns of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range. A spur of the byway drops south through the Wet Mountains, passing below the flanks of Greenhorn Mountain, eventually to emerge near Colorado City. The route is lousy with scenic Colorado campgrounds.


Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway – On the south-west side of Pikes Peak, the Gold Belt Tour Byway makes a double loop through history and gorgeous Colorado vistas. The towns of Florissant and Cripple Creek form entrance points at the north end of the loop, while Cañon City and Florence lie on its southern end.  The way takes you through the famous Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and into what has been called the most productive gold mining region in North America.


Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway – Cedaredge, Colorado is the pioneer town with a Colorado Department of Transportation Welcome Center that greets families traveling to the southern end of the Grand Mesa Route. Grand Mesa, a giant plateau that rises up between the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, forms a sort of wild and beautiful transition between Colorado’s high peaks and its deeply gouged red rock canyons. Bring your camera and make use of the numerous scenic overlooks.


Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway – Just west of Denver, the Lariat Loop circles through historic small towns that are now bedroom communities to the city. However, in their day, these spots were famously popular with tourists who wanted to venture into the mountains. The Buffalo Bill Museum, on top of Lookout Mountain, has an especially nice view of the city to one side, and the high Rockies to the other. Also, look for one of Denver’s two municipal buffalo (bison) herds in its meadow to the side of I-70, near the Genesee exit.


San Juan Skyway – This giant circle route passes beneath some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery. Along the way, families on vacation in Colorado can stop at the Ouray Hot Springs, and enjoy rugged mountain views while they splash and soak. Or they can tour a historic gold mine outside of Silverton, or go camping in one of Colorado’s best campgrounds. The byway also passes through Durango, southern depot of the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway. On the western end of the circle route, you can stop at Mesa Verde National Park (a world heritage site) and check out the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores. The Dolores River offers travelers surprise views of the water and high peaks beyond. Plan to spend time in Telluride, as picturesque an old mining town as there is in Colorado.


Santa Fe Trail – In the mid-eighteen hundreds, the Arkansas River in Colorado formed a border between the young United States and New Spain, her neighbor to the south. Spain was pretty standoffish about US trade, but when the Mexicans won their independence from Spain, commerce between the US and Mexico exploded. Particularly in the northern capital of Santa Fe, Mexicans were hungry for the kinds of goods Americans could produce. Almost overnight, enterprising young men with teams and wagons began freighting goods to Santa Fe. A Nineteenth Century trade highway developed, one major branch of which passed right through south eastern Colorado. A major commercial hub on that route was Bent’s Fort, near the present day town of La Junta. Families on vacation along the Santa Fe Trail can see old wagon ruts at John Martin Reservoir State Park and scout for crumbling historic Santa Fe Trail markers all along the path.


Top of the Rockies – Families on a Colorado road trip with the kids can explore the heart of the Colorado Rockies on this scenic byway. Famous towns are included, as are outstanding camping spots, cool old Victorian hotels, ghost towns, hiking trails, babbling brooks, and lots and lots of altitude.


Trail of the Ancients – This scenic and historic byway actually stretches between southwest Colorado and southeast Utah. In Colorado, it circles through land more densely populated with archeological sites than anywhere else in North America. This is the home base of the ancestral Puebloans – people who picked some of the prettiest country around to settle, built a thriving civilization with cities and farmland and trade to far off places, and then quietly packed up and left.  The Trail of the Ancients covers some of the most remote, wild country you’ll find in Colorado.


Trail Ridge Road – Beaver Meadows Road – Swinging high over the Continental Divide between Estes Park, Colorado and Grand Lake, Colorado, is the Beaver Meadows Road - Trail Ridge Road route. This byway climbs up and over the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. Once you drive it, and stop to visit the view points, hike a trail, or take in a ranger talk at the Alpine Visitor Center, you’ll know, without any doubt, why this particular piece of real estate was set aside to represent America at its absolute, most breath-taking best.  

Related Articles at

Travel Info

Check out our site map for a well-organized list of over 130 articles on great Colorado vacations for families.