One of the prettier canyons and scenic drives in Colorado is along the Poudre Canyon Scenic Byway.
While not super close to Denver, it’s not terribly hard to get to since it’s not very far west of I-25. If you’re catching the road from the east side, it’s almost directly west of Ft. Collins. And once you’re on the road it doesn’t take long to start enjoying the views.
The Cache la Poudre River winds its way through the rocky canyon and is a popular spot for rafting, fishing and picnicking.
Rafting on the Cache la Poudre River. There was a steady stream of rafts passing by.
The pretty river and canyon walls.
You see plenty of deer and some elk in Colorado, but rarely do you see a moose! This one was not too far off of the highway, just grazing away.
A biker on the ascent of Cameron Pass heading west.
Killer view near the top of Cameron Pass. Really rocky peaks are my favorite.
Our journey on this scenic drive began on the east side and it was a really great drive most of the way. I think the official end of the scenic byway on the western side is in Walden, Colorado, but the most dramatic views and best scenery is roughly along the section I marked on the map below. As you start the descent from Cameron Pass and the farther west you go, the more it flattens out.
Most people will probably want to drive a portion of the highway and then turn back, but we ended doing a 7-hour loop that took us through Granby and Winter Park. It was a long trek, but took us through some pretty parts of the state we normally wouldn’t visit.
For more information:
View Poudre Canyon Scenic Byway in a larger map