Description - This 82-mile route crosses the Continental Divide twice and traces the Arkansas River to near its headwaters. The byway provides views of one of the highest concentrations of 14,000 foot peaks in the country at this crest of North America. The area is also rich in history.
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway at Tennessee Pass
- This scenic byway travels through the White River and Pike-San Isabel National Forests, as well as the Arkansas Headwaters National Recreation Area. From its northwest end, this scenic byway travels along Highway 24 from the town of Minturn, past historic Camp Hale, over Tennessee Pass, past Ski Cooper, and through Leadville. An alternative is following Highway 91 south from from the Interstate 70 Copper Mountain exit, over Fremont Pass to Leadville. This route will take you past Copper Mountain Resort, through the Arapaho National Forest to Fremont Pass and the mine tailings of Climax Mine. When operating, Climax was the largest molybdenum mine in the country. The southern end of the byway leads from Highway 24, up Highway 82 to Twin Lakes, a large glacial carved lake and small scenic community at the base of Mt. Elbert.
The town of Leadville, which lies at the junction of Highways 24 and 91, held national significance during the silver-mining boom years of 1875 through 1890. The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army used the Camp Hale area as a training ground during World War II. Attractions for outdoor enthusiasts along this byway include two recreation areas centered upon reservoirs, that lie east of Leadville. Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lake Reservoirs provide access to water-centered activities including boating and fishing. The mountains surrounding these lakes offers trails, campgrounds, four-wheel drive roads and other recreation attractions.
Recreation - The abundant public lands surrounding the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway provide abundant recreation opportunities. Scenic driving, four-wheel driving, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing are some of the popular activities enjoyed in this area.
Climate - Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from mid-October through late April. In the summer months snow is still possible but less common. Varying conditions throughout a given day can be expected throughout the year. Remember that summer days can typically have beautiful sunny mornings and short sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon. Please prepare appropriately for your outdoor experience.
This scenic byway is runs through central Colorado and has several different branches. The main portion of the byway stretches along Highway 24 from I-70, through Leadville, to the junction with Highway 82. The byway also includes a portion of Highway 82 west to Twin Lakes, and Highway 91 from Leadville to I-70 at Copper Mountain.