Come celebrate the Colorado Byways and visit the SLV

There are 13 of Colorado's 26 byways designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as America's Byways, which gives Colorado more national designations than any other state. The collection also includes 10 National Forest Scenic Byways and two Bureau of Land Management Back Country Byways. The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways program has been around since 1989.

The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission has helped guide the development of the state’s roadways that have exceptional scenic, ecological, cultural, and historic attributes. The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Program are holding its anniversary Symposium along Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway (129 miles) this year in the San Luis Valley from May 1-4.

Colorado Byways Symposium 2024 is expecting a little over 200 patrons from across the State of Colorado, across the United States of America and a group from Japan. The National Scenic Byways Foundation (NSBF) supports this event and will be in attendance. The NSBF is a nonprofit organization serving as The National Voice of Scenic Byways and Roads, dedicated to strengthening Byways and actively advocating for renewed Byway Federal funding. During the week, Symposium attendees will be visiting numerous sites throughout the San Luis Valley. Wednesday, attendees will be viewing our unique dark night skies, on Thursday, they will travel the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway, and Friday will be numerous breakout sessions throughout the day followed by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area’s Annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party.

The San Luis Valley is a landscape speckled in a diverse cultural richness that dates back over 11,000 years. As you crest one of the four major road passages into the San Luis Valley, your eyes lay sight on the majestic open skies, it is as if you traveled back in time. The 8,000 square mile alpine desert valley is tucked away where the southwestern culture of New Mexico tangles together with the western frontier culture of south-central Colorado. Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway will take you through the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area; an experience that will immerse you in vast, untouched natural beauty and inspiriting narratives of native tribes, explorers, frontiersmen, buffalo soldiers, ranchers, miners, and railroad boomers. Where today you can sand board down the tallest dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, have room to breathe, lay under a blanket of infinite stars in one of the nation’s darkest places, and drift through the history between quaint towns of generations past in the back of beyond. This is where Colorado began and where the old west spirit of honesty, adventure, and small-town hospitality is still very much alive.

Along its 129 mile, three-county route, interpretive markers tell the story of the land, the people, and the history that intersects in this place. The scenic drive will take you through the heart of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.  This state scenic byway links the four Cornerstone Communities of Alamosa, Fort Garland, San Luis, and Antonito, as well as the Great Sand Dunes National Park, the San Luis Lakes State Park, the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Zapata Falls, the Medano-Zapata Ranch, the Rio Grande National Forest, the Conejos River, Culebra Creek, and the Rio Grande. Smaller communities along this route include: Mosca, Blanca, San Acacio, Manassa, Romeo, Conejos, Paisaje, Mogote, Las Mesitas, and Fox Creek. There are 22 wayside exhibits along the way that provide interpretation of specific topics and sites.  Interpretive topics include the Rio Grande River, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, Conejos Canyon, Adams State University, Spanish Entradas, the Aquifers & Closed Basin, the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, dune formation, Blanca Wetlands, Zapata Falls, Paleo-Indians, Tewa Indians, Blanca Peak, Penitentes, the Alpine Desert, Fort Massachusetts, Fort Garland, Buffalo Soldiers, San Luis the Oldest Town in Colorado, La Vega, Acequias, Stations of the Cross, Lt. Zebulon Pike, Pike’s Stockade, King’s Turquoise Mine, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Jack Dempsey Museum, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

To register for the event or become a sponsor, visit