Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway

National Scenic BywayColorado
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.

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