Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway

Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2009)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
  • LocationCO
  • Length40 miles
Byway Visitor Information
Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway
Statewide Byway Partners
Downloadable Colorado Byways Guide
Colorado Tourism
Red Rocks against a stormy skyline reveal ancient formations and color combinations.
Public domain Photo

Overview

Along this 40-mile scenic route, Lariat Loop traverses rich foothills just west of Denver and acts as a reminder of early auto touring. The loop crosses Lookout Mountain through the five-mile Lariat Trail and connects the towns of Golden, Morrison and Evergreen. Lariat Loop offers many attractions, including open parks, museums, and heritage sites, all placed amid canyons and meadows.

Local Byway Partners
  • Care for Colorado Coalition
  • Colorado Byways Map Download

Story of the Byway

In the Royal Gorge/Arkansas River area, several ways things to experience, the Royal Gorge Bridge is 956 miles above the river, The Royal Gorge Route railroad travels along the river and under the bridge, or be adventuresome and raft down the Arkansas River. Within the fossil landscape of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument petrified redwood stumps exist up to 14 feet wide, each containing fossilized insects and plants from prehistoric times. Florissant Fossil Beds, positioned far enough from light pollution, you will be amazed at the night sky show to enjoy. Garden Park Dinosaur Fossil Area is self-guided area with trails to enjoy and will fascinate sightseers with an appreciation for Jurassic history. Considered one of the most important locations in the United States for prehistoric activity, this fossil area has uncovered skeletal remains of many dinosaurs, as well as late Jurassic remains of mammals, crocodiles, turtles and flora. Designated a National Scenic Byway by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in 2000, this 5-hour plus (enjoy some stops) drive is a time capsule for those interested in paleontology and American history alike.

Driving Directions

From Golden, take Lookout Mountain Road to US-40W, go west on I-70 to Evergreen Parkway and southeast to Bear Creek Road, then continue east to Morrison. From Morrison, head north on Mount Vernon Avenue and continue to County Road 93, then take US-40N to US-6, returning to Golden.

Points of Interest

  • Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an open-air amphitheatre built into a rock structure in the western United States, near Morrison, Colorado, ten miles west of Denver.

  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

    A park that pays tribute to the cowboy and Indian days with exhibits, events, gift shop and observation deck.

  • Dinosaur Ridge

    Dinosaur Ridge, part of the Dakota Hogback in the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil localities.

  • Denver Mountain Parks History

    Constructed between 1912 and 1941, the Denver Mountain Parks are a rural park and parkway system consisting of 47 foothill and mountain parks interconnected by scenic drives.

  • Colorado Railroad Museum

    The Colorado Railroad Museum is a non-profit railroad museum in Golden, Colorado.

Itinerary

  • Red Rocks to Historic Homesteads

    Start your day at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where you can traverse the stairs, test the natural acoustics, and enjoy the mountain views. Travel up and over the hogback on Dinosaur Ridge to witness historic dinosaur tracks. Stop in the Visitor Center to learn more about the prehistoric area. Travel to Golden for lunch and a tour of the Coors Brewery before heading to the top of Lookout Mountain. Along the way, take a break on lookouts, such as Windy Saddle, where you can witness plains and mountains in one view. Continue along the byway to the historic Hiwan Homestead Museum, a log cabin that reveals how early settlers once lived. Arrive at the Humphrey Historic Park and Museum to visit the home of the first commuters of the Lariat Trail. End your day with a rest in one of the area’s many lodging options.

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