Top of the Rockies

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Top of the Rockies

Major junctions
South endColorado 82.svg SH 82 in Aspen
North endI-70.svg I-70
Highway system
Colorado State Highways

Top of the Rockies is the name of a National Scenic Byway in Colorado, in the Western United States. Most of the byway is above 9,000 ft (2,700 m) and thus the name of the byway is Top of the Rockies. The byway goes over Tennessee Pass to the mining town of Leadville, Colorado.

National Scenic Byway Road recognized by the USDOT for one or more of six "intrinsic qualities": archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic

A National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for one or more of six "intrinsic qualities": archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation's scenic but often less-traveled roads and promote tourism and economic development. The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Colorado U.S. state in the United States

Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.

Western United States Region in the United States

The Western United States is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As European settlement in the U.S. expanded westward through the centuries, the meaning of the term the West changed. Before about 1800, the crest of the Appalachian Mountains was seen as the western frontier. The frontier moved westward and eventually the lands west of the Mississippi River were considered the West.


Route description

The byway starts in Aspen, traveling on SH 82 east over Independence Pass and near the Twin Lakes to just north of the town of Granite. The route then continues north on US 24 through Leadville to Interstate 70 (I-70). A spur of the byway continues along the entire length of SH 91 from Leadville to Copper Mountain, through Fremont Pass. [1]

Aspen, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

Aspen is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. Its population was 6,658 at the 2010 United States Census. Aspen is in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains' Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Continental Divide.

Independence Pass (Colorado) Highest paved crossing of North Americas Continental Divide

Independence Pass, originally known as Hunter Pass, is a high mountain pass in central Colorado, United States. It is at elevation 12,095 ft (3,687 m) on the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The pass is midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties.

Twin Lakes, Lake County, Colorado Census-designated place in Colorado, United States

Twin Lakes is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lake County, Colorado, United States, near the base of Mount Elbert. The population as of the 2010 census was 171. Twin Lakes has the ZIP Code 81251. The name "Twin Lakes" also refers to a small unincorporated community west of the CDP along Colorado State Highway 82.

Historic downtown Leadville DowntownLeadvilleCO.jpg
Historic downtown Leadville

Points of interest

Tennessee Pass (Colorado) mountain pass

Tennessee Pass elevation 10,424 ft (3,177 m) is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. The pass was named after Tennessee, the native state of a group of early prospectors.

Rocky Mountains Major mountain range in western North America

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 km (1,900 mi) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.

Leadville, Colorado Statutory City in Colorado, United States

Leadville is the statutory city that is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 2,602 at the 2010 census and an estimated 2,893 in 2018. Situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m), Leadville has the highest elevation of any incorporated city in the United States. Originally called "Silver City", Leadville was the first proposed capital of the state and the last place Doc Holliday was a lawman.

Major intersections

Main route

Pitkin Aspen 0.00.0Colorado 82.svg SH 82 west
Lake US 24.svg US 24 southByway continues on US 24 north
Leadville Colorado 91.svg SH 91 north
Eagle Minturn I-70.svgUS 6.svg I-70 / US 6  Denver, Grand Junction Western terminus of US 24
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Fremont Pass route

Lake 0.0000.000US 24.svg US 24
Summit 22.60536.379I-70.svg I-70 Interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

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  1. Staff. "Top of the Rockies – CDOT". Colorado Department of Transportation . Retrieved December 30, 2013.