Most scenic route from Denver to Taos

You can travel in several different ways between Denver to Taos. Make sure you know your route and the locations of your planned stops before setting off on a journey from Denver to Taos. You’ll spend most of the drive on busy freeways, whichever route you select, so there will be many opportunities to stop along the way for food or gas. Even if you could complete the journey in a single, exhausting day of driving, I would strongly advise splitting it into two days so you can see all the best spots along the way. The road trip from Denver to Taos takes around 5 hours, so if you break it up over a few days, you won’t have to sit in the car for extended periods. If you’re considering a vacation from Denver to Taos, you may uncover the most picturesque routes in this article.

Day 1

Table Of Contents

354 miles — about 7 hours, 54 mins

Denver to Pikes Peak

Beginning in Denver, take I-25 north to the Pikes Peak Highway. The Pikes Peak Highway is arguably the most picturesque mountain road in the country. A visit to Colorado Springs’ 14,115-foot Pikes Peak is a must for any vacation there. Since its construction in 1915, the route has been a well-known tourist destination. The Pike’s Peak Carriage Road, which dates back to 1888, was an earlier route that was similarly well-liked by travelers. If you’re taking an enchanting journey up or down the Pikes Peak Highway, stop at Crystal Reservoir. 

Devil’s Playground is a fantastic place to stop, go outside, stroll about, and shoot stunning pictures. It would be best if you take photos at the Summit Visitor Center’s Summit Market or at the breathtaking north overlook close to the edge, where you can view for kilometers in all directions. The peak and the water combine to make the ideal scenic scene.

Pikes Peak to Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway

Follow I-25 south for 68 miles before turning onto US-24 east for 33 miles. The Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway travels through dinosaur-era prehistory and follows historical stagecoach and train routes to gold mining settlements. This “Road to Riches” drive will take you through five enthralling byway settlements and offers breathtaking scenery and plenty of recreational options. Beginning in Florissant, the picturesque circle road, the National Monument to the Florissant Fossil Beds is visible. The volcanoes’ ongoing eruptions produced the fossils in this area, which resulted in mudflows and ash storms, petrifying plants and animals. They depict a warmer Colorado than we know now since they are among the world’s most varied and abundant fossil beds.

Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway to Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway

Travel through the continent’s highest concentration of fourteens or mountains over 14,000 feet. The Rocky Mountains in this region are collectively known as Collegiate Peaks. Many of them are named after esteemed academic institutions. To reach the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway, take US-24 E south. Get ready for breathtaking views that will leave you speechless. 

And this is the ideal getaway because there are so many recreational activities, warm historic villages, a few ghost towns, and hot springs. You can certainly drive down the byway and merely take in the scenery, but to fully enjoy this region, engage in the wide variety of outdoor activities available. There are activities for every skill level and interest, including hiking, mountaineering, bicycling, off-road driving, white-water rafting, river tubing, fishing, kayaking, and relaxing in hot springs.

The word “Buena Vista” implies a “beautiful view.” Buena Vista is a great place to start exploring the area because it has year-round recreation and a historic center brimming with hotel options, eateries, boutique shops, and outfitters. From mid-June to mid-October, a Sunday farmers market is available and a great place to stock up on picnic supplies. Initially constructed in 1882, the Old Chaffee County Courthouse now serves as home to the Buena Vista Heritage Museum. A schoolroom, mining, ranching, agricultural, and railroad antiquities are among the displays, along with apparel and fashion items, a collection of minerals, rocks, and semi-precious stones. Take a break from the main route by stopping in Buena Vista.

Day 2

367 miles — about 7 hours, 10 mins

Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway to Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway

On day 2, continue your journey. Drive in the direction of Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway by following US 285 S. The Los Camino Antigua, which translates to “the ancient roads,” runs from Alamosa to Antonito and the New Mexico border, following in the footsteps of Native Americans, 16th-century Spanish explorers, ranchers, and miners. Along the route, you’ll pass through different landscapes with snow-capped mountains, lakes, marshes, extensive ranchlands, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, which has the continent’s highest dunes.

Alamosa provides a variety of hotel, dining, and retail opportunities, making it a fantastic starting point for exploring the area. We advise perusing these highlights before starting the drive. Start a self-guided walking tour of downtown historic buildings. The Colorado Welcome Center, housed in the former Alamosa Train Depot, offers walking tour maps and a plethora of information. 

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is nearby. By riding in a small gauge rail car, you may travel back in time and experience the late 1800s. Other excursions are available, including daytime rides through the challenging La Veta Pass, sunset dinner cruises, fall foliage adventures, and train rides to upscale mountaintop performance venues. Mountain Rails Live, a summertime outdoor concert series only accessible by train, is held at Fir Summit Amphitheater.

Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway to Taos

Continue on US285 from the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway and travel toward your destination. The drive from Denver to Taos is worthwhile, with many beautiful locations to stop. Taos, located in the north-central region of New Mexico, is surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountain range in a tranquil yet scorching location. Taos’s list of things to do is equally alluring and alluring in terms of what it offers while being only a short distance from gaping canyons, notable peaks, and lovely desert scenery.

Taos is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding destinations to visit in the State because it has so many exciting aspects and beautiful surroundings to discover. As the “Soul of the Southwest,” it offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to explore its incredible collection of art museums and other historical tourist destinations. Taos Pueblo, one of the State’s oldest communities, is nearby. Over the years, everyone from painters and mountain men to Native Americans and New Age practitioners has left their imprint there.

Don’t overlook the Taos Art Museum if you want to spend a lot of time in Taos. The little but excellent Taos Art Museum, which features various unique artworks and adobe architecture, is tucked away just to the north of the town center. The museum is now in the old residence of Russian-American artist Nicolai Fechin and is committed to protecting and fostering the local community’s cultural legacy.

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