Alpine Loop Trail, CO
A serious contender for one of the most scenic drives in the world — on- or off-road — the Alpine Loop Trail in southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains is also one of the highest roads in the country. Connecting the old mining towns of Silverton, Lake City, and Ouray, this 64-mile moderately challenging drive is actually a combination of the popular Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass loops, both of which top 12,000 feet. No special skills are required, other than the ability to keep your nerve as you navigate narrow dirt tracks that cling to the side of the highest peaks in the Rockies. The route puts you within striking distance of five of the state’s famed fourteeners, including Redcloud and Sunshine, and, a bonus for Western history buffs, it passes right through a half dozen ghost towns.
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