Roadtripping Colorado from East to West? Choose the route less traveled—US-50, that is. This scenic route takes you through grassland, over high mountain passes, and through winding foothills. We’ve highlighted some of the coolest stops along the way to add a little adventure (and history!) to your Colorado road trip.

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1. Picketwire Canyonlands Dinosaur Tracksite, La Junta

Picketwire Canyonlands Photo Credit cm195902 - OutThere Colorado
Dinosaur track site at Picketwire Canyonlands. La Junta, Colorado. Photo Credit: cm195902.

Expect an advanced hike into the Canyonlands at this stop located on the Comanche National Grasslands about 27 miles off of US-50. In addition to the more than 1,300 Brontosaur and Allosaur fossilized footprints (the largest known collection in North America), you will also encounter Native American rock paintings, the Dolores Mission and Cemetery built by Mexican pioneers in the late 1800s, and the historic 1871 Rourke Ranch.

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2. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, La Junta

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site - @visitcolorado - OutThere Colorado
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. Photo Credit: @visitcolorado.

This adobe reconstruction of the fort built in 1833 models the original Santa Fe Trail trading post. Located 10 miles off of US-50, the fort was also used for military staging purposes in 1846 during the Mexican-American War.

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3. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Cañon City

Royal Gorge Bridge - @visitcolorado - OutThere Colorado
Royal Gorge Bridge. Photo Credit: @visitcolorado.

Turn left on County Road 3A about 45 miles from Pueblo to walk the dramatic suspension bridge the sits 1,000 feet above the raging Arkansas River. In addition to the modern mining history associated with the site, paleontologists have also uncovered the remains of the area’s 200 million year old inhabitants: allosaurs, stegosaurs, and comptosaurs!

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4. Skyline Drive, Cañon City

Skyline Drive - Canon City - @vrachedub - OutThere Colorado
Skyline Drive. Cañon City, Colorado. Photo Credit: @vrachedub.

Hold your breath as you drive along the razor edge of the ridge line overlooking Cañon City. Though the route is narrow, a passenger car can make the journey. There are pullouts to enjoy the view and take pictures. Keep a lookout for dinosaur tracks embedded in the cliffs!

5. Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway, Monarch Pass Summit

Monarch Crest - OutThere Colorado

Begin your adventure at the 11,312-foot summit of Monarch Pass along US-50 on the Continental Divide and ascend to over 12,000 feet on Colorado’s oldest tramway. Plan to do some hiking, mountain biking, or serious selfie-taking from the top!

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6. Montrose Water Sports Park, Montrose

Montrose Water Sports Park - @itinerantunicorn - OutThere Colorado
Montrose Water Sports Park. Montrose, Colorado. Photo Credit: @itinerantunicorn.

There’s no better way to cool off at the end of your US-50 road trip. Built for both experienced white water kayakers as well as those that want to relax along the banks of the Uncompahgre River, the 1,000-foot park was completed in 2015 and features six man-made drop structures. The put-in and take-out ramps are ADA accessible, and the surrounding recreation area includes picnic sites, playgrounds, and riverside beach space.

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Curious what the “Road-Less-Traveled” route looks like? Here it is!

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