Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One Perfect Day in the Pikes Peak Region: Gold Belt Scenic Byway Loop

Enjoy Colorado Fall colors at Mueller State Park
With the fall season quickly approaching, an absolutely fantastic scenic drive while visiting the Pikes Peak region of Colorado and following a scrumptious breakfast at a local B&B, encompasses a portion of the Gold Belt Tour along with an amazing Colorado State Park and a visit to a hidden gem within the National Park Service. The route begins by heading west on Highway 24 to the small mountain town of Divide. Traveling southward on Hwy 67, the entrance to Mueller State Park is only 3.5 miles, where the visitor will quickly learn that they have entered a peaceful landscape offering an informative visitor center, dramatic mountain views and 55 miles of hiking trails suitable for all ability levels. Golden Aspen welcome park visitors in the autumn, one of the best fall foliage viewing opportunities in Colorado. 

Cripple Creek & Victor RR
Following a rejuvenating hike in Mueller State Park, the drive continues southward to the small mining town of Cripple Creek. The historic town of Cripple Creek, Colorado sits on the southwest slopes of majestic Pikes Peak in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. More than 100 years ago, this charming community attracted tens of thousands of gold-seekers to its hillsides in search of their fortunes. The Gold Rush is part of Cripple Creek’s colorful history, and today, visitors can choose from a variety of heritage-rich experiences such as descending 1,000 feet underground on a gold mine tour or by riding the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Experience Colorado's past at Florissant Fossil Beds NM
On the road again, the route continues by traveling a portion of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway on Teller County Rd. 1.  The road passes Mt. Pisgah and soon impressive Dome Rock towers 800 feet off to the right, while offering a "backside" view of majestic Pikes Peak.  Traveling northward, the route reaches Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, a true hidden gem of the National Park Service. Experience a piece of Colorado history while learning about one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Petrified redwood stumps up to 14 feet wide and thousands of detailed fossils of insects and plants reveal the story of a very different, prehistoric Colorado. Over 14 miles of hiking trails allows visitors the ability to explore the monument in more detail. Exiting the park traveling north the drive once again reaches Hwy 24 and completes the loop drive. Outdoor activities, beautiful mountain scenes, visiting a historic mining town and experiencing Colorado's past, this peaceful drive surely does make for one perfect day in the Pikes Peak region!

To learn more visit: Gold Belt Scenic Byway , Mueller State Park , Historic Cripple Creek & Florissant Fossil Beds NM .