RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip


Colorado Front Range Scenic & Historic Byways: An Altitude Superguide, by Nancy & David Muenker
Colrado Front Range

This road trip guidebook, Colorado Front Range Scenic & Historic Byways, packs scores of gorgeous full-color photographs and plenty of information into its relatively diminutive 62 pages. I have just returned from an RTA RoadTrip Rendezvous during which we had occasion to travel parts of four byways described by the authors in this glove-box sized book. The state of Colorado has designated twenty-four byways that explore the incredible diversity of natural and historical sites that can enjoyed on roadtrips within the state. The authors, Nancy and David Muenker, profile twelve of these byways that meander along the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Eight of these routes are within an hour's drive of Denver, and the other four are in the southern section of the "Centennial State" -- so nicknamed because Colorado became a state in 1876 -- 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The authors have done a great job of providing key details about each of the driving tours they profile. At a glance, one can view a simple map of the route, check on vehicle restrictions or likely seasonal road closures, obtain an estimate of the driving time, and see a list of events and festivals that occur along the route. We drove the "Peak to Peak" byway, a 55 mile ramble that parallels the continental divide between Estes Park and Black Hawk traveling on Colorado routes 7 and 72 and witnessed picture-perfect views of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, and the St. Malo chapel. We also used Colorado Front Range Scenic & Historic Byways to find Buffalo Bill's grave on Lookout Mountain near Golden Colorado and to view the amazing fossils that are found on Dinosaur Ridge near Red Rocks Park.

I expect to be back in Colorado in early June and look forward to using this guide book to explore the famed "Trail Ridge Road" through the Rocky Mountain National Park and the "Gold Belt Tour" near Colorado Springs. One caveat: the roadways are identified with a small sign with a columbine flower on a blue background. I found it relatively easy to lose track of the proper route (especially on the "Lariat Loop"), and the guidebook directions can be a little taxing to follow. However, with minimal effort, it was always possible to backtrack and get back on the route. This is a guidebook that we will now consider essential anytime we find our route heading back to the Colorado Front Range. Another plus is that the photos in the book are arrestingly beautiful and make armchair adventuring a delight.

Mark Sedenquist
5/15/05

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