The Americas Byways Resource Center
Erin Nelson, Project Coordinator Intern
Mike Tupa, Project Coordinator
Jon Schler, Project Manager
Colorado Center for Community Development
University of Colorado at Denver
Diana Laughlin, Community Development Specialist,
CSU Cooperative Extension
This report would not have been possible without the help of the byway
groups and their volunteers. We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone
at the following Scenic and Historic Byways: Dinosaur Diamond, Frontier
Pathways, Gold Belt Tour, Grand Mesa, Santa Fe Trail, San Juan Skyway, Top
of the Rockies, and Trail Ridge Road. We would also like to thank the staff
at Rocky Mountain National Park, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Welcome
Centers, and the Interpreters at Old Bent Fort and Dinosaur Ridge. Your
help and knowledge are very much appreciated.
Americas Byways Resource Center
Deputy Director - Michelle Johnson
Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission
State Coordinator - Sally Pearce
The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission, along with the Americas
Byways Resource Center, recognized the need for a study that would provide
a basis for comparison for future studies. This study was commissioned by
the Americas Byway Resource Center (then known as the National Scenic
Byway Resource Center) in 2002 to determine the impact of designated National
Scenic Byways on awareness, economic activity and area use. This study was
designed to provide a baseline for a later, more comprehensive look at Americas
Byways in the State of Colorado.
The eight byways evaluated in this study have undergone multiple designation
changes in the last decade, the latest of which was a change in the national
brand from National Scenic Byway to Americas Byway
in 2003. A change in any product name affects brand recognition, even in
a well-known product. As this study investigated the brand equity of the
former name, we will use National Scenic Byway when referring
to the study and its results in the interest of clarity.
The purpose of this study was to explore whether the designation of National
Scenic Byway had impacts along the byways. There were multiple objectives
for the study:
1. To develop a process and products to look at measuring byway users
and their preconceptions.
2. To provide a survey template for other states to follow when conducting
their own byway audits, in an effort to ensure the most data integrity possible.
3. To gain an understanding of the awareness levels of the National Scenic
Byway brand among travelers to National Scenic Byways within the State of
4. To determine if there is a relationship between designation and overall
economic health and usage of the corridors immediately surrounding the byway
5. To measure and compare the overall effect of designated National Scenic
Byways in a controlled manner, providing a baseline for future studies.
The hypothesis is that the name National Scenic Byway has the
strength to attract visitors that would normally not go to these areas if
the roads lacked the designation. Therefore, this is essentially an evaluation
of the brand strength or equity of the National Scenic
Byway brand and the related byway brands for the byways studied.
It is difficult to attribute economic impact from designation status
based on survey data. Given survey responses, it appears that there is a
relative lack of public awareness of the Colorado and National Scenic Byway
Program. In discussions with survey respondents we found that most learned
about byway designation through state byway road signs on the route, brochures,
and maps picked up en route. Very few respondents knew anything about the
byway before they started their trip, or they had learned about the byway
route on their last trip through the area, as shown by responses of repeat
Responses to questions regarding overall satisfaction with the byway
driving experience were very positive, and many respondents indicated that
they would definitely recommend the byway experience to others.
Given the survey data reported here, it appears that National Scenic
Byway designation does not have sufficient brand equity to make an impact
on local corridor economies. However, secondary data shows that after state
byway designation there were increased traffic and expenditures along the
byways. In Colorado, the state byway symbol (Columbine flower) is used to
designate all state and national byways. There is not a separate sign for
national designation. There are a great many ways to increase public awareness
through means of differentiation such as using different signs for
levels of byway designation -- and target marketing to increase use of the
byways. Together, these strategies could help increase economic activity
in the byway corridors. The quality of visitors contacts with local
people might also impact economic activity, as may a coordination of effort
between the byways to cross-market the byways. The Colorado Scenic and Historic
Byways Commission is currently offering grassroots seminars to educate local
service people about byways in their area.
All data collection and analysis are intended as exploratory research
and a basis for further study. This report is not intended to be a comprehensive
evaluation of either the National Scenic Byway brand or its
associated individual byway brands, and it was not within the scope of this
project to determine the worth or dollar value of these brands for present
value or accumulated worth over time. To do this we recommend a more extensive
study utilizing additional methods such as focus groups, targeted measurement,
and a longer period of study with cooperation from local byway organizations.
This study was conducted in two sections. In Section 1 we collected primary
data using a survey designed to explore respondents byway awareness
levels and to determine what amenities and activities along the byway consumers
find useful. The survey was designed to gain an understanding of consumer
attitudes and feelings about eight National Scenic Byways in Colorado. The
same survey instrument was used for all eight National Scenic Byways over
three-day periods during high volume weekends in July and August.
In this section, we focused on the eight byways and areas immediately
surrounding byway corridors. The eight byways are: Gold Belt Tour Scenic
and Historic Byway, Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, Dinosaur
Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway, Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic
Byway, Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road Scenic and Historic Byway, Grand
Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway, San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway
and Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway. The surveys were exploratory
in nature and began to help us investigate brand awareness levels, general
attitudes toward designated National Scenic Byways and their features, and
reasons why people were traveling the byways. (Information about each of
the byways can be found in the Appendices.)
Data for the survey were collected from July 17th through August 25th,
2003, during the peak traveling season for the majority of the byways. Some
of the byways have very low travel rates during other times of the year,
and we felt that the risk of bias of collecting survey data only
in one season -- was acceptable. Crews of two or more interviewers visited
each byway for three days. Each byway was visited on the same days of the
week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
We chose survey locations with help from local byway groups and with
input from community officials. We did not feel it would be safe or effective
to stop traffic, and so we selected natural stopping places where people
would want to stay for a little while. The vast majority of the locations
we finally chose consisted of visitor centers, State Welcome Centers, sites
of interest, and large pull -off areas.
As commissioned, we used a survey instrument designed by Americas
Byways Resource Center to screen out local residents who were using the
byway as a regular means of travel for the purposes of commuting and everyday
pursuits. The survey instrument itself was designed to have two parts.
The first part of the survey was a written questionnaire that was read
to respondents by interviewers. Interviewers read each question and possible
responses, and then filled in the response categories on copies of the survey.
The survey solicited information about how respondents found out about the
byway, about respondents use of the byway, and about their recognition
of byway status. (See the Appendices for copies of surveys and data.)
This second part of the survey was web-based, and this questionnaire
took a deeper look into spending habits and specific recreational activities.
The web survey solicited more information about the respondents trip
as a whole, including visits to places outside of the designated National
Scenic Byway study areas. Respondents who consented to do the web survey
and who gave an email address were contacted to complete the web-based survey.
Respondents were sent an email with the web site address, and they were
guided through the survey, which was hosted by a third party service. The
electronic survey took about 5 to 10 minutes to complete and
was self-administered. At the end of the survey respondents were offered
a $5 gas certificate as a thank you for completing the survey.
Organization and collaboration with the various National Scenic Byway
organizations was necessary to coordinate the implementation of the survey
instrument. This questionnaire was prepared in 2001, reviewed by the National
Scenic Byway program, divided into two parts, and reduced to a size that
would be easily administered and positively received by respondents.
The surveying went well overall, and most people were willing to take
a few minutes to respond. Approximately 1300 people completed the survey.
Of these, about 30% indicated a willingness to complete Part 2 of the survey
on the web. However, only 55 respondents (4% of all respondents) actually
completed the survey on the web.
It appeared to surveyors that most people who completed the surveys were
couples from 45 to 65 years old. Few respondents were doing business-related
travel, with most citing vacation time as their reason for traveling. According
to zip code data collected, there was a heavy concentration of traffic from
Southwestern United States and from Texas. While most respondents were unaware
of the National Scenic Byway designation, the most common reason for choosing
the route was the scenic views, either as identified on a map or based on
recommendations from friends or relatives. A large portion (72%) of respondents
had traveled the route at least one time before.
The survey provided some very valuable information, and results are shown
in the charts below. The figures listed represent the eight National Scenic
Byways in Colorado as a whole and individually. The data used to create
these charts can be found in the appendices.
Respondents at each of the byways were surveyed on different weekends
in 2003. Because the dates and respondents were not randomly sampled, we
cannot infer that the information presented here is representative of all
visitors to these byways for 2003 or any other year. However, they do give
us a snapshot of day-to-day activity on the byways and the information can
be useful for planning and other purposes.
The data are presented here to show, for each byway, visitors responses
to the set of questions on the survey. The reader should note that questions
were worded in such a way as to allow respondents to choose only one
answer for some questions, while others allowed them to choose
all that apply. When a question allowed the respondent to choose only
one answer, the charts often show responses as percentages of total
responses for each byway. This makes comparisons between byways easier than
using raw numbers, especially since there is such a wide range in the number
of respondents for each byway, as shown in the above table.
Charts that show responses to questions where respondents could choose
all that apply are clearly marked as such. When percent of total responses
are shown, it should be noted that the percentages shown will not add to
100%., but can still be used for comparing the responses to that question.
This question was one of a set used to determine respondents travel
purpose and their eligibility to participate in the survey. (Please see
the appendices for a copy of the National Scenic Byway Designation Impacts
Study Colorado 2003.)
Survey question number one asked respondents to indicate all the reasons
for travel that applied to their trip, and they were asked to choose all
responses that applied. (See table below.) For All Eight Byways, the highest
number of responses was for vacation (785 respondents), followed by sightseeing
(n=460), outdoor recreation (n=199) and visiting friends or relatives (n=149).
Traveling for business reasons (n=97) and other (n=78) got the
fewest number of responses for the byways as a group. Note that byway travelers
could have selected more than one reason for travel (and as many as six
reasons) in answer to this question.
The above chart shows that Dinosaur Diamond visitors, like byway visitors
in general, also tended to travel the byway as part of their vacation (n=72),
with many also traveling for visiting friends and relatives (n=37), sightseeing
(n=34), business (n=16) and outdoor recreation (n=14).
We see that visitors to the Gold Belt Byway also chose vacation/holiday
as their main reason for travel (n=96). Additional reasons for travel include
sightseeing (n=84), outdoor recreation (n=25) and visiting friends and relatives
Sightseeing was the most popular travel purpose for respondents at Grand
Mesa on the days that survey data were collected, with 97 of those surveyed
selecting this response. Other popular travel purposes were vacation/holiday
(n=74), outdoor recreation (n=65), and visiting friends and relatives (n=29).
Along the Santa Fe Trail, the most-selected purpose for travel was also
vacation/holiday (n=208), with the next most selected response, sightseeing
(n=110), being selected only about half the number of times that vacation/
holiday was chosen. Thirty-seven Santa Fe Trail travelers selected other
as one of their reasons for travel, and many of these people told interviewers
that they were on the byway to visit the Bents Fort National Historic
Site for an Encampment activity that weekend.
By far the most chosen purpose of travel for those on the San Juan Skyway
was vacation/holiday (n=111). The other purposes listed received much fewer
responses, with the next most-selected reason for travel, business (n=10),
receiving less than 10% of the number of responses vacation/holiday did.
On the Top of the Rockies, 59 respondents said vacation/holiday was their
purpose for travel that day. The next most-chosen response, sightseeing,
was selected 22 times, or less than half the number of times vacation/travel
was chosen. Outdoor recreation was selected 10 times and business was selected
8 times as a purpose of travel by respondents.
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road had a higher percentage of responses
selecting vacation/holidays (n=90) than did other byways, with a variety
of other purposes being the next most selected (n=6).
The chart below shows reasons for travel for each byway and all eight
byways combined. Here, the purposes for travel are shown on a bar chart,
with the other category being the top stripe of the chart for
most byways (except Frontier Pathways which had no other responses)
and business being the stripe at the bottom of each bar (except
Grand Mesa which had no respondents who selected business as a purpose for
This striped bar chart shows the percentage each travel purpose was chosen
as a percentage of all purposes chosen by respondents. The percentages add
to 100%, which is the total number of responses (not the total number of
respondents) because respondents could choose all that apply.
The vacation/holiday strip is the light-colored strip in the center of the
bars, and we can see that this purpose for travel was selected more often
than other purposes for travelers on six of the individual byways and for
the eight byways combined.
When asking this questions, byway Interviewers/Surveyors were told to,
Please refer to the map as needed for clarification anytime questions refer
to the Study Area. On the chart below please note that the total
number of respondents on all eight byways combined who answered that they
lived in the Study Area (n=166) comprised a very small portion of the people
who were approached to complete the survey. A large majority of those early
respondents who said they lived in the study area were traveling on the
Frontier Pathways (n=103).
Regarding nights stayed or trip length, the majority of travelers (29%)
for all eight byways combined were only visiting for the day (n=454). Of
those who stayed overnight, 16.7% (n=261) stayed for 2 to 3 nights, and
16% (n=252) stayed only one night. Just over 12% (n=191) stayed for 6 nights
or longer, and about 8% (n=123) stayed 4 to 5 nights. The total number of
responses to this question for all eight byways combined was 1281.
The chart below shows the percent of respondents (and their travel companions),
for each byway and for all eight byways combined who were in the Study Area
or on the byway for a day trip only when visitors were surveyed. The Dinosaur
Diamond had the highest percentage of respondents who stayed for less than
a day (78.8%), followed closely by visitors to the Grand Mesa (72.9%). During
the survey period, the San Juan Skyway had no respondents who were day trippers
The San Juan Skyway was the byway with the largest percentage of respondents
who stayed for one night only (37.1%), with the Santa Fe Trail (25.5%) and
Trail Ridge Road (24.1%) each having about a fourth of their respondents
staying only one night. Frontier Pathways had the smallest percentage of
their survey period travelers staying for only one night.
Of all eight byways, the San Juan Skyway had the highest percentage of
survey respondents who stayed two to three nights (35.7%). The Top of the
Rockies (28.2%), Trail Ridge Road (24.1%) and the Gold Belt Byway (23.2%)
also had a high percentage of their visitors staying two to three nights
in their Study Areas.
With 16.1% of its survey period visitors staying four to five nights,
Trail Ridge Road had the highest percentage for this category. Four byways
had close to 10% of their travelers staying four to five nights the
Gold Belt Byway, Santa Fe Trail, San Juan Skyway and Top of the Rockies.
The Top of the Rockies had the highest percentage (27.1%) staying more
than six nights, for those visitors who were in the area during the survey
period. Trail Ridge Road also had a high percentage of these longer staying
visitors (19.6%), as did the San Juan Skyway and Gold Belt Byway, both with
Below is a striped bar chart showing the length of stay for visitors
to each byway and to all eight byways combined. Note that respondents could
choose only one option, so the number listed represents the percentage of
responses and respondents. The top stripe represents the percentage of respondents
who reported that they had stayed or would be staying more than six nights.
The bottom stripe shows those visitors who were day trippers.
Respondents who noted in Question 6 that they had stayed for less than
one day were not asked about their lodging accommodations.
When asked about their lodging accommodations, the top three types were
Hotel/Motel (n=316), Campground (n=170), with Friends/Relatives (88) and
Cabin/Cottage/Condo (n=84). Respondents were asked to choose all that
apply, and the total number of categories checked was 809.
For those who stayed overnight during their travel on the Dinosaur Diamond,
the motel/hotel option was most popular (n=12. Four respondents (and travel
companions) each stayed at campgrounds or with friends/relatives.
Campgrounds (n=36) were the most popular lodging accommodations used
by visitors on the Frontier Pathways during the survey period. Also popular
were cabin/condo (n=28), with friends/relatives (n=27) and hotel/motel (n=21).
Similar to patterns at other byways, Gold Belt Byway visitors chose the
hotel/motel (n=63) option most during the survey period. Other favored options
were campgrounds (n=25), with friends/relatives (n=19), RV park (n=13) and
For travelers to the Grand Mesa during the survey period, camping was
the lodging accommodation chosen most often (n=13). The next most chosen
were the cabin/cottage/condo option (n=5) and motel/hotel (n=5).
Respondents traveling along the Santa Fe Trail during the survey period
chose the hotel/motel option (n=98) more than any other category, with the
other category being the second most popular choice (n=44).
This other category included the following diverse accommodations
-- house, truck, dorm, Koshare Indian Museum, driving through and tent.
The motel/hotel option (n=54) was again the most popular choice of travelers
along the San Juan Skyway during the survey period. Campgrounds (n=19) and
RV Parks (n=18) were next in line, but together not equaling the number
choosing the hotel/motel option.
At the Top of the Rockies, again, motel/hotel was the most chosen lodging
accommodation option (n=18), closely followed by campground (n=16) and cabin/cottage/condo
(n=12). The other category (n=10) was also popular with respondents,
and here this category included such things as house, time share, semi,
private residence and driving through.
Survey respondents on the Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road followed
the pattern of choosing the motel/hotel option (n=45) more than any of the
other categories. Only about a fourth as many respondents reported that
they had or would stay in a campground (n=12), cabin/condo/cottage (n=11)
and/or with friends/relatives.
Below is another striped bar chart that shows how the lodging accommodations
options fared with respondents. Since respondents could choose all that
apply, the 100% here is for the total number of responses for each of the
byways and for all eight byways.
The motel/hotel option is represented by the stripe at the far left of
the bar chart, with the other stripe on the far right. Note
that the third stripe from the right, B&B has the lowest percent of
responses for all byways except Trail Ridge Road, the San Juan Skyway and
Below is a bar chart that shows the percent of respondents for each byway
who replied in the affirmative to this question. For three of the byways
San Juan Skyway, Trail Ridge Road and the Gold Belt Byway
over half of respondents were traveling the route for the first time. On
three other byways Dinosaur Diamond, Top of the Rockies, and Grand
Mesa, close to forty percent had not traveled the route before. About eighty
percent of travelers on Frontier Pathways during the survey period were
In response to this question, the vast majority of survey takers reported
driving their own vehicle (62.6%) The next largest category was rented auto
(9%). Relatively few respondents reported driving an RV (2.5%), and 5.3%
were on motorcycles. Eight-tenths were on bus tours, and 1.6% reported using
some other mode of travel. Most of the other responses
were respondents who were driving a vehicle that was owned by some other
entity such as a business or a church. One respondents mode of transportation
was a train, one drove a school bus, a couple was on bikes and one was hitchhiking.
For this pie chart and others showing responses for Question 9, the largest
slice of pie is own vehicle on the bottom left with
979 responses, and the options shown in the legend move counter clockwise
with rented auto showing 140 responses for the eight
byways, RV with 39, tour bus with 13, etc.
On the Dinosaur Diamond, during the survey period, most respondents drove
their own vehicle (70.8%) The next largest category was rented auto (12.4%).
Almost 9% drove an RV, and 3.5% were on motorcycles. None reported being
on bus tours, and 4.4% used some other mode of travel.
Frontier Pathways saw a very high percentage of their survey period travelers
who drove their own vehicle (41.2%). Other categories were checked less
often, with rented auto at 1.9%, RV at 1.4%, motorcycles with 2.5%, 1% on
bus tours and less than 1% using some other mode of transportation.
On the Gold Belt Byway, 68.2% of respondents reported that they drove
their own vehicle. Just over ten percent drove rented autos, RVs were used
by 6.2%, and 4.3% were on motorcycles. Just over one percent reported being
on a bus tour and less than one percent used some other mode
Almost 72% of survey respondents on the Grand Mesa drove their own auto.
Just over 5% drove a rented vehicle, and about 3% drove an RV. No respondents
reported being on a bus tour, and almost 20% were traveling by motorcycle.
Along the Santa Fe Trail, over 70% of survey respondents drove their
own auto. Just over 5% were in a rented vehicle of some type, and less than
one percent were in an RV, on a bus tour or on a motorcycle. Just over 2%
were using some other mode of transportation.
The San Juan Skyway, like all the other byways, had a high percentage
of their survey period travelers driving their own vehicle (70.7%). Other
categories were checked less often, with rented auto at 12.1% and RV with
0%. There were a relatively high percentage of respondents on motorcycles
(11.4%), only about 2% on bus tours and almost 3% using some other
mode of transportation.
Respondents on the Top of the Rockies reported driving rented vehicles
at higher rates (22.4%) than did those on almost all other byways. They
mostly drove their own autos (62.5%), with few numbers traveling by RV (3.5%),
none on bus tours, just over 1% on motorcycles, and 2.4% using other
modes of transportation.
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road had the highest percentage of respondents
who drove some type of rented vehicle at almost 30%. Just over 62% of survey
respondents drove their own auto, none reported driving an RV, and none
reported being on a bus tour. Just fewer than 4% were on motorcycles and
2.7 were using some other mode of transportation.
Under a section heading labeled Trip Planning, respondents were next
asked to tell how they chose the route they were on. For all travelers on
the eight byways, the category checked most often was recommendation (n=465),
followed by highway signs (n=186), chance (n=159), brochure (n=146) and
the Internet (n=120). A large number of respondents reported choosing the
route by some other method, though this option was not listed
on some surveys. The most often cited other methods of choosing
were maps, tour books, AAA and past experience.
For survey respondents on the Dinosaur Diamond, most chose the route
because of highway signs (n=37), with 33 respondents following a recommendation
and 19 using a brochure to choose the route.
Over a hundred Frontier Pathways respondents chose this route because
of a recommendation (n=109), with different options falling far behind,
such as the 18 who relied on chance.
The Gold Belt Byway was also traveled because it was recommended, according
to 66 survey respondents who said this was how they chose the route. Other
important ways the route was chosen were chance (n=44) and brochure (n=38).
Recommendations (n=102) also figured prominently as reasons travelers
were on the Grand Mesa during the survey period, with over half of this
byways survey respondents saying that they chose the route because
of a recommendation. Less than a quarter of respondents chose the route
because of highway signs (n=42), and an eighth used a brochure (n=24) to
help them make their route choice.
Mostly past experience and maps, in the other category, influenced
101 respondents to choose to travel the Santa Fe Trail during the survey
period. Other influences were recommendations (n=76), with about 10% citing
the Internet, highway signs and chance as influencers.
Fifty people chose to travel the San Juan Skyway during the survey period
because of recommendations. Maps and/or past experience were some of the
other ways 25 people chose the byway, and 24 respondents said
they were influenced by a brochure.
Maps and past experiences (n=47) were again among the other
influencers of Top of the Rockies respondents regarding their choice of
routes, with over 55% listing other things as important. Recommendations
were next in line, with 18 citing this as a reason for their route choice.
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road also had a large number of respondents
(n=38) who relied on past experience or maps, among some other things, to
help them choose a route. The Internet was also an important influence (n=18),
as were brochures (n=16).
When asked to select the response that best described their reasons for
selecting the route they were on, for survey respondents on all eight byways
combined, the most common response was most scenic (n=653),
followed by most direct (n=371), most interesting
(n=350), fastest (n=229), and most familiar (n=126).
Respondents could choose more than one option.
For travelers on the Dinosaur Diamond during the survey period, most
cited as the best description of the reason they selected that particular
route was that it was most direct. Fifty-six respondents said
it was most scenic, and fifty-two said it was the fastest.
Frontier Pathways travelers cited most scenic the highest
number of times as the best description of the reason for traveling the
route. Sixty survey respondents cited most interesting.
That it is most scenic best describes the reason 118 respondents
chose to travel on the Gold Belt Byway. Other reasons were cited much less
often, with most interesting being the second most cited descriptor
of the reason they were on the route (n=38).
Grand Mesa survey respondents also selected most scenic (n=146)
as the reason that best described their choosing to travel that route. Far
behind was that the route is most interesting (n= 41).
During the survey period, travelers on the Santa Fe Trail said the best
description for their reason to travel that route was that it was most
direct. The second best description was that that it was fastest.
For survey respondents on the San Juan Skyway, 70 respondents said that
most scenic best describes their reason for traveling this byway.
Forty-seven respondents said that most interesting best describes
their reason for traveling there.
On the Top of the Rockies, 38 people said that most scenic
best describes their reason for traveling this byway. Thirty-one said it
was most direct and 21 said it was most interesting.
According to survey respondents on Trail Ridge Road, most scenic
best describes their reason for traveling this byway. Far behind were most
direct and most interesting with 21 responses each.
Survey respondents were asked if they were aware that the route they
were traveling was a Scenic Byway. The bar chart below shows the number
of positive responses for individual byways and for all eight byways combined.
For Dinosaur Diamond, almost 49% of those who answered the question were
aware of the designation. Almost 29% of Frontier Pathways respondents were
aware of the designation, and 43.6% of Gold Belt Byway travelers during
the survey period were aware. With the highest percentage of the eight byways,
almost 70 % of Grand Mesa travelers knew about the designation. Almost 30%
of Santa Fe Trail respondents knew about that routes designation.
Just over half of San Juan Skyway survey respondents were aware of the designation,
and 61.2% of Top of the Rockies survey period visitors knew. For travelers
on Trail Ridge Road, about 45% knew about the designation.
Frontier Pathways and the Santa Fe Trail had the lowest percentages of
respondents who were aware of the Scenic Byway designation. Overall, only
about 18% of all byway visitors were aware of the designation.
Those respondents who said that they knew of the designation (Question
12) were then asked if this knowledge had influenced their decision to drive
the route they were on. The bar chart shows the number of respondents who
answered in the affirmative to this question. Overall, about 18% of those
on all eight byways who responded to this question said, yes, the designation
did influence their decision to travel the byway route they were on.
Those byways with higher percentages of Question 13 respondents answering
in the affirmative were San Juan Skyway (29%), Grand Mesa (28%), Dinosaur
Diamond (26%) and Trail Ridge Road (24%). Those with lower percentages were
Gold Belt Byway (22%), Top of the Rockies (19%), Frontier Pathways (9%),
and Santa Fe Trail (7%).
When asked Is this the first time youve traveled on this
route? 72% of those responding answered No. Thirty-eight
percent of those responding said they were aware of the Colorado or National
Scenic Byway designation of the route they were on.
In answer to question 14, Where did you learn that this route is designated
as a Scenic Byway, for all eight byways combined, the largest numbers of
respondents said they had learned of the designation from highway signs
(n=223) and maps (n=210). Note that respondents could choose all ways of
learning that applied. Other ways respondents reported learning of the designation
were through past experience (n=95) and friends/relatives (n=79). Again,
please note that these responses represent a single snapshot for individual
byways and just a small portion of overall visitors to the byways.
Other ways of learning about the byway that had a fair number of responses
included scenic byway brochures (n=33) and other ways (n=31) which included
reading about it in a book, previous knowledge, an individual met on the
route, a club/group and from their hotel. Twenty-six respondents learned
byway on the Internet, 24 learned about it from a visitor center, and 14
learned about it from a brochure other than a scenic byway brochure. For
the eight byways combined, there were very few responses for the following
ways to learn that the route was a byway: magazine (n=8), auto club (n=8),
newspaper (n=7), TV (n=6), a local business (n=3), and travel agent (n=2).
Highway signs (n=19) were an important source for Dinosaur Diamond survey
respondents to learn that they were on a Scenic Byway. Seventeen respondents
found out about the designation from a map and eight learned about the designation
For travelers on the Frontier Pathways during the survey period, highway
signs (n=52) were the most often cited way of learning that their route
was a designated byway. Twenty eight learned of the designation from friends/relatives.
Gold Belt Byway travelers during the survey period were most likely to
have learned about the byway designation via maps (n=34). Highway signs
were also important ways of learning for 24 respondents, while friends/relatives
were the source of designation information for 12 respondents.
Similar to other byways, for Grand Mesa, the most listed way respondents
learned of the byway designation was by highway signs (n=73), followed by
maps (n=34) and experience (n=11).
A large number of Santa Fe Trail travelers during the survey period reported
that they learned of the byway designation from maps (n=37), experience
(n=29) and highway signs (n=28).
Maps (n=34) were by far the most listed way visitors during the survey
period learned about the San Juan Skyways Scenic Byway designation.
The next most listed response for this byway was experience (n=13).
For Top of the Rockies travelers, the ways most respondents reported
learning of the byway designation was though highway signs (n=18) and maps
(n=17). Fewer numbers of respondents listed friends/relatives (n=6) and
experience (n=6) as ways they learned about the designation.
Maps (n=18) and friends/relatives (n=12) were the most listed ways respondents
learned about the Scenic Byway designation of Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows
Road. Byway brochures, experience, and other ways were listed by five respondents
For Question 15, respondents were asked to choose the statement that
best describes your reason or traveling this Scenic Byway. For all eight
byways combined, as shown in a pie chart, most survey respondents (n=360)
said the statement that best described their reason for traveling on the
Scenic Byway was that it was on the way to their destination.
This was the most selected response for each individual byway as well. One-hundred
seventy respondents said that designation was one of many reasons
they were traveling on one of the eight routes. For 126 respondents, Scenic
Byway designation was the main reason they traveled the route.
For Dinosaur Diamond travelers during the survey period, 36 respondents
said their main reason for traveling the route was that it was on the way
to their destination, while 12 said designation was one of many reasons
and 5 said it was the main reason.
Just over half (n=54) of those traveling the Frontier Pathways who responded
to Question 15 said that their main reason for traveling the route was that
it was on the way to their destination, while 28 said it was one of many
reasons and 16 said it was the main reason.
Forty-three respondents on the Gold Belt Byway reported that their main
reason for traveling this route was that it was on the way to their destination.
For 35 respondents designation was one of many reasons and for 21 respondents
it was the main reason.
Almost half of Grand Mesa respondents (n=62) were on the route because
it was on the way to their destination, 28 said designation was one of many
reasons and 42 said designation was the main reason.
The Santa Fe Trail had the highest portion of respondents (n=71) who
were on this route because it was on the way to their destination (which
for many travelers was Bents Old Fort National Historic Site). Twenty-two
people said designation was one of many reasons they were on the route,
and 8 said designation was the main reason.
A total of 34 people on the San Juan Byway during the survey period were
there because it was on the way to their destination. For another 26 respondents,
designation was one of many reasons they were on the byway, and for 14 people
designation was the main reason they were on the route.
A large majority of respondents (n=35) on the Top of the Rockies reported
that the main reason they were on the byway was because it was on the way
to their destination. Another ten said designation was one of many reasons
they were traveling there, and six respondents reported that designation
was the main reason they were on that route.
Just over half (n=25) of Trail Ridge Road respondents indicated that
their main reason for traveling that route was that it was on the way to
their destination. For nine respondents designation was one of many reasons
they were on the route, while 14 respondents said that designation was the
main reason they were on the route.
The snapshots of each of the eight National Byways in Colorado, represented
by the survey data, show many similarities and a few differences between
and among the byways. Overall, we see that most of the respondents reported
traveling for vacation/holiday, sightseeing, outdoor recreation and not
for business reasons. The time these respondents planned to stay or had
already been on the byway varied quite a bit. Travelers to Grand Mesa and
Dinosaur Diamond had the largest percentages of day trippers. The San Juan
Skyway and Santa Fe Trail saw a lot of respondents staying one night only.
The San Juan Skyway and Top of the Rockies had fairly large percentages
of respondents who stayed 2-3 nights. Frontier Pathways and Top of the Rockies
had the highest percentages of travelers who stayed six or more nights.
Most travelers during the survey period reported that their primary lodging
accommodations were the motel/hotel option, while Frontier Pathways, Grand
Mesa and Trail Ridge Road had high percentages of respondents staying in
The most used mode of transportation for responders on all eight byways
was in their own auto, with traveling in a rented vehicle being the next
most popular mode. When we look at ways respondents chose the byway route
they were on, recommendations, highway signs, maps and personal experience
were strong influences.
Responses indicated that most of those who traveled during the survey
period chose to travel the byway because it was scenic, with travelers on
the Dinosaur Diamond and the Santa Fe Trail also citing these byways being
the most direct route.
Determining the importance of Scenic Byway designation was an important
goal of this survey. What we see in the survey results is that of those
responding to the question about awareness of designation, only 18% knew
about this, and less than half of these respondents said this knowledge
influenced their travel decision.
How did respondents learn that the route they were on was designated
a Scenic Byway? Map and highway signs were the top two ways people learned
about the designation, with past experience and friends/relatives also being
important. According to respondents, the main reason most traveled the route
they were on was that it was the most direct, and only a small portion said
that designation was the main reason for their travel on the route they
Of the 55 survey respondents who filled out Part 2, 77% traveled with
Respondents enjoyed a variety of activities along the byway, including:
Sight Seeing (90% of respondents), Viewing Nature (84% of respondents),
Photography (84%), Pleasure Driving (74%), Hiking (72%) and Restaurant Dining
(72%) were top activities.
According to the results of the 55 on-line surveys:
The majority (64%) traveled only a portion of the byway.
63% stayed two days or less in the study area.
The top two Very Important attributes were reasonable prices and
54% had a total vacation period of one week or more.
The majority spent less than $150 on any category in the travel expenses
Spending on Recreation Equipment and Services was typically $50 or
less, and Retail Purchases of souvenirs, art, craft, antiques were $150
At least 80% of respondents were Satisfied or Very Satisfied with
byway attributes and amenities.
The byway attributes rated as Very Important were: good roadways
(63%), absence of litter (57%), clear information and directional signs
(57%), and restrooms and drinking water.
At least 80% of the respondents rated traveler services categories
The biggest concern about the byways appeared to be commercial billboards,
with which 28% of respondents were Somewhat Satisfied or Not At All Satisfied.
The top two Very Important attributes were reasonable prices and
97% of respondents would definitely recommend the route.
Our recommendations fall into four main categories: Data Quality, Interagency
Cooperation, Visitor Traffic and Survey Timing, and Byway Recommendations.
They are interdependent, so improvements in any should have a positive impact
on the others.
It is difficult to obtain high quality data if the purposes for collecting
the data are not known or if data were collected for a different type of
use. It is our recommendation that there be a determination of specific
variables related to byway use that need to be tracked, and that the type
and format of data should be specified so that municipalities and counties
can begin tracking byway visitation more closely and in ways that are comparable
across byways. With better data, more complex studies can be done, and these
should yield better and more useful information.
It appears that byway committees do a fine job of managing byways with
a largely volunteer staff, but it also appears that there is much to gain
by improved communication between state, federal, and municipal entities.
Communication and cooperation could lead to:
Better understandings of the types of travelers visiting Colorado.
Opportunities to co-brand or cooperatively market the area attractions.
Sources of differentiation for each byway to increase awareness and
Local and statewide advocacy of byways.
Increased revenue stream from traveler spending.
Visitor centers and other popular stopping points were visited as part
of this study. We noted that visitor numbers and other statistics were insufficient
or missing either because they were not seen as needed, or because the staff
did not have enough time to get an accurate picture of the number and type
of visitors traveling on their byway. Better information about visitor traffic
would help ensure that future local studies make the best of abnormally
high or low traffic periods, and could help insure that surveys are conducted
by an appropriate number of surveyors.
Based on our findings, we recommend that the National Byways should have
their own signage or that they should work with the state byway sign symbol
to draw greater attention to these eight byways. FHWA recently approved
signage for National Scenic Byways and visitors will soon see these signs
designating Americas Byways. It is recommended that the Colorado Byway
Commission should set up a standard form for collection of zip codes and
other important data at all visitor centers along scenic byway routes. A
more uniform data collection system would improve future studies of the
In order to enhance each byway and the National Scenic Byway brand as
a whole, local cooperation is key. There needs to be an effort to work with
local businesses and others, and to get their buy-in and support of the
byway designation. Hospitality training for front-line service and other
workers, and making sure they have good information about things to do along
the byway are vital. Even simple things such as giving the convenience store
clerk and other businesses where people stop to ask directions a guide to
whats available in town can make a big difference in the amount of
money spent locally. If they dont know where the good
coffee shop is, are they going to spend their money there? This is particularly
true at the Top of the Rockies and the Santa Fe Trail. Both have large amounts
of traffic and lots of people stopping for various reasons. Whether or not
those people spend time looking at other attractions depends greatly on
the information they are given.
The Trinidad Welcome Center does an excellent job of informing visitors
of the local attractions. It was observed that if told about a particularly
good place to eat or visit, the traveler said they would make an effort
to go there if time allowed.
Leadville is a good example of an economy that could further benefit
by locals giving more information to travelers. As the only major town on
the Top of the Rockies Byway, they have the opportunity to attract more
visitors for lunch or a day trip. Approximately 1000 cars per hour passed
the Visitor Center while the survey team was there, and about 100 of these
cars stopped at the Visitor Center. Leadville should be looking for ways
to get more people to stop there.
Local grassroots training of service and information providers is extremely
important for first contacts and recommendations about byways.
Development of baseline data for all state byway programs could benefit
from a standard data identification and collection process.
National Byway signage along a byway is an important part of developing
an image for the National program (thats what people see first).
One of the most challenging tasks was creating a project timeline for
a pilot study. Many hurdles were discovered, and it is hoped that our experience
will save others their time and effort in planning future studies. To this
purpose we have developed a rough timeline for the various Phases of the
project. Afterward, we will discuss the various elements behind each Phase.
18 Months Prior to Study:
Establish contact with the various byway and county officials.
Map out any portions of the byway that overlap federal public lands
such as national forests, BLM lands, State parks, rights of way and Indian
Examine current collected data. If data is insufficient, express
the need for tracking the variables needed.
Begin identification of possible survey locations.
Begin planning for focus groups, if desired.
12 Months Prior to Study:
Confirm data collection strategy and make sure communication is consistent
with all byways.
Examine byway resources to determine general availability of staff
and/or volunteers from the byway community.
Begin writing study proposals for presentation to government agencies
and reviewing prior documentation.
Begin basic statistical data collection from potential survey locations
to get a basic picture of how many visitors travel the byway, and how many
stop at each location.
Interview byway areas as to what type of information they would like
to receive via the survey instrument.
If focus groups are desired, now is the time to contact them.
Begin work on survey.
6 Months Prior to Study:
Finalize study proposals for government submission.
Finalize survey locations.
Begin arranging site logistics such as lodging, site permissions,
Get written verification of available resources.
Start application process for government permits such as National
and State Parks, forests, BLM lands, Indian Nations, and other special permission
needs such as state-run visitor centers, etc.
Start secondary data analysis and write-up.
3 Months Prior to Study:
Finalize volunteer/staff roster and assign hours.
Begin staff training as to proper method of interviewing for a survey.
Finalize hotel reservations and byway schedule.
If possible, note approximate sign locations, and collect any materials
used to promote the byway.
Confirm survey locations.
Check on application process for needed permission.
Purchase any needed uniform items.
Begin printing needed surveys, permission slips, waivers, and other
1 Month Prior to Study:
Make sure to communicate plan both written and verbally with all
interested parties to be sure everyone understands the plan.
Arrange for transportation, if not already done.
Send out final explanation packets to survey sites so they understand
whats going on.
Get permissions from various government agencies or find an alternative
site if permission is denied.
Go through a final rehearsal with staff.
Hire any needed data entry staff.
If using a web survey, set up survey site(s).
Plan menus etc, if applicable.
Go through gear checklist, if applicable.
1 Week Before Survey:
Confirm meeting time and place with survey volunteers.
Go over and explain any questions regarding the byway.
Check the weather forecast to make sure everyones prepared.
Handout packets with survey conduct rules, FAQs, contact information,
and meeting time/place.
The type of data needed will depend largely on how the data are to be
used and what level of detail is involved. We offer a list of general topics:
Basic Economic Information
- Revenue, Gross, Net, Retail, Services
- Value Assessments
- Per Capita Income
Local Population Size
Survey site selection is somewhat tricky. It is ideal to visit each site
before final selection in order to observe the habits of motorists. Just
because there is a visitor center doesnt mean anyone will stop there.
Get a feel for how long it takes to get there, how many people will be needed,
and dawn/dusk/weather patterns. Make sure that all staff follows site conditions,
and make sure that no staff member is put in a dangerous place like an isolated
or dark road. This not only compromises the safety of your crew, but also
reduces the number surveys answered. We chose areas such as rest stops or
popular scenic turnouts.
When selecting a crew for survey work it is very important to select
the right people. No matter what the subject, conducting surveys is tedious
work after the third weekend in a row. Very goal-oriented people who are
challenged by quotas and other numerical measures did very well on this
survey. The surveys tended to be more complete, accurate, and properly executed.
The quality of data collected also seemed to increase as the interviewer
investment increased. Even on the first run and with the same training,
those who were hired for the duration of the study did better work than
those filling in or working only a couple of weekends.
The training itself is also crucial. One can never underestimate the
room for error in the process of conducting a survey, and one must be prepared
for a variety of interpretations. This occurs with both the respondent and
the interviewer. Even though it seems redundant or menial to go over the
survey several times, it is important to test out the survey and the survey
crew many times if possible. This reduces the chance of errors in the field,
as misunderstandings are revealed during practice sessions.
This helps in training off-site crews or volunteers as well, as the pitfalls
are already known. Often bad attitudes and frustration are problems. If
your crew has had to run through the survey themselves, they get a better
idea of why the script is so important and how easy it is to misunderstand
a question one has never seen before.
This was the most complicated area of Section 2. Often, the byway to
be studied run through federal or private land, or the ideal survey location
is run by an agency or organization that requires an approval to use the
site. Our experience was that although byway groups knew of these locations
and even the operating organization, they did not know of approval requirements
necessary to use them. It is important to identify survey sites early on,
so that there is time to navigate through these processes. Some of the visitor
centers we used had very strict guidelines, and even required the specific
names of the interviewers before we were given a permit. Forty-five days
to six months is not an uncommon approval time in some cases. (See sample
of National Park Service Permission Application at http://www.nps.gov/socialscience/tech/survey.htm)
This report shows data collected from two secondary data sources on per
capita retail sales and traffic patterns along Colorado National Byways.
Our primary objective is to explore the impact of byway designation on these
eight National Scenic Byways. The eight byways are: Dinosaur Diamond, Frontier
Pathways, Gold Belt Byway Tour, Grand Mesa, San Juan Skyway, Santa Fe Trail,
Top of the Rockies, and Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road.
In this report we look at two sources of secondary data in an effort
to show impacts of byway designation on municipalities along byways. As
with any data, both sets of data used here are imperfect measures of byway
impacts because we can only use them to suggest economic and traffic changes.
Still, there is evidence here that byway designation, especially state byway
designation, which occurred prior to national designation in almost all
cases, impacted per capita retail sales in many municipalities along the
byways and impacted daily vehicle traffic counts along many sections of
the eight byways.
As shown by per capita retail sales (PCRS) data in the charts presented
here, byway designation has had a positive impact on per capita retail sales
figured in many municipalities along the byways. While we cannot isolate
byway designation from other variables that may have affected retail sales
figures, the increases that occur after designation support the hypothesis
that byway designation has a positive impact on PCRS in municipalities along
The CDOT data used to track daily vehicle miles traveled along the eight
byways are the only data available for this purpose. While the huge amounts
of data available from CDOT are impressive, CDOTs method of tracking
data is problematic. Some of CDOTs figures are estimates and some
are the actual numbers, and it is difficult for the researcher to differentiate
the two. When we see the same numbers for section counts for more than one
year in a row, we have to question whether the data are actual traffic numbers
for those years. Within sections, on the individual segments of highways,
it is virtually impossible to know which numbers are estimates only.
That said, we can still see patterns in daily vehicle miles traveled
(DVMT) over time on sections of the byways. In the charts presented here
we see indications, along many sections of the eight byways, that there
were increases in DVMT in years following state byway designation dates.
Increases in DVMT are most notable along sections of the Dinosaur Diamond,
Frontier Pathways, Grand Mesa, and the San Juan Skyway. There is less or
no evidence of byway designation impacts along the Gold Belt Tour, the Santa
Fe Trail, Top of the Rockies and Trail Ridge Road.
In the first section of this report we look at per capita retail sales
reported by municipalities to the Colorado Department of Revenue from 1990
to 2001. The data used here can be found on Colorados Department of
Local Affairs Colorado Economic and Demographic Information System (CEDIS).
According to CEDIS and the DOR, the term Retail Sales is defined as the
total retail sales, in thousands, for a particular calendar year,
as reported by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Retail sales figures
are calculated by taking a municipalitys gross sales and subtracting
wholesale sales. According to a sales tax analyst at the DOR, retail sales
are the gross domestic product or GDP for municipalities.
In order to compare the data across time, municipalities, and byway we
did two things to the data. First, we adjusted each municipalitys
yearly retail sales to 2001 dollars, using the Denver-Boulder consumer price
indices and factors for adjusting current year data. Second, we divided
each municipalitys adjusted retail sales figures (reported in thousands)
by its population then multiplied by 1,000 to get the actual numbers. Population
data for 1990 and 2000 came from the US Census, and data for other years
during the period from 1991 to 2001 are estimates from the Colorado Demography
In general, we would assume that per capita retail spending adjusted
for inflation should remain relatively flat over time. We suggest here that
any increases in per capita retail sales can be attributed to increased
retail spending by visitors. We cannot say with any certainty that all non-local
spenders are tourists or that any increase in spending is due to byway designation.
But we can show changes in per capita spending over time, both within each
byway and among the eight byways, and we can suggest a possible explanation
for some of these changes. Increases in per capita retail sales could also
imply increased employment opportunities/jobs in some municipalities along
the byway, but there is no direct evidence for this.
As shown in the table below, dates for state and national byway designations
differ for each of the national byways included in this study. In general,
state byway designation occurred earlier for these byways, with the San
Juan Skyway and Gold Best Tour being the first of the eight to become a
Colorado Scenic Byway in 1989, and Trail Ridge Road being the latest in
1999. Trail Ridge Road was one of the first of the eight to become an All
American Roadway, along with Grand Mesa and San Juan Skyway which received
designation in 1996. Dinosaur Diamond was last of the eight to become a
state byway in 1998, then a national byway in 2002.
The first chart shows the total per capita retail sales (PCRS) for all
municipalities on each of Colorados National Byways. To improve the
display of all byway data, Cortez and Durango data are shown together on
a line separate from the rest of the San Juan Skyway municipalities.
The chart for all eight byways shows that Per Capita Retail Sales (PCRS)
increased somewhat for some of the byways over much of the time period studied,
along the Santa Fe Trail, Frontier Pathways (with a slight decline in 2001),
and Top of the Rockies. The Santa Fe Trail became a state byway in 1992,
and Frontier Pathways and Top of the Rockies became state byways in 1993
94. Data are consistent with the hypothesis that byway designation
leads to an increase in PCRS.
PCRS mostly trended upward along the two parts of the San
Juan Skyway over the time period, with the bulk of the municipalities (minus
Cortez and Durango) showing some high numbers in 1993 and 1999, declining
only slightly after 1999. The San Juan Skyway became a state byway in 1989
and a national byway in 1996. Data appear to support the hypothesis that
byway designation had an impact, though it would be helpful to have data
prior to 1990.
Grand Mesa and Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road show pretty steady
PCRS over the time period studied, and data do not support or refute the
hypothesis. The Gold Belt Byway trends upward then down over the period,
much of this due to fluctuations in Cripple Creeks PCRS, as shown
below in the display for the Gold Belt Tour. The Gold Belt Byway achieved
state recognition in 1989 and national designation in 2000. Upward movement
in both years seem to support the hypothesis that byway designation positively
impacts local economies.
During the time period studied, Dinosaur Diamond PCRS ended up lower
than it was in 1990. Its lowest number occurred in 1996, with PCRS increasing
yearly up to the end of the period studied. Dinosaur Diamond became a state
byway in 1998 and a national byway in 2002. Data on per capita retail sales
along the Dinosaur Diamond, especially the upward trend which begins at
just about the same time as state byway designation, appear to support the
hypothesis that designation positively impacts the byway economy.
The Dinosaur Diamond became a scenic byway in 1998, and it became a national
byway in June of 2002. For the municipalities along the Dinosaur Diamond,
we see that in the Town of Dinosaur, after a pretty steep decline in PCRS
from 1990 to 1996, the trend is an increase in PCRS for 1997 ($7,987) and
1998 ($9057), then trending slightly downward until 2001. In Rangely, PCRS
has been in a slow but steady decline since 1990.
Fruita has seen some increases in its PCRS over time, finishing 2001
with higher rates than it had in 1990, with the highest PCRS ($10,925) in
1998 just after the 1998 byway designation. Grand Junction is the largest
municipality along the Colorado portion of the Dinosaur Diamond. Its PCRS
increased by almost 20% during the period studied, with a fairly dramatic
rise after 1997.
Here we show the data on PCRS from two communities along the Frontier
Pathways: the mountain town of Westcliffe and urban Pueblo. Frontier Pathways
became a scenic byway in 1994, and became a national byway in 1998. As shown
in the table, Westcliffe saw an almost continuous increase in PCRS during
the period under study, with some temporary dips in 1994, 1997, and 2001.
The Westcliffe PCRS in 2000 is 55% higher than it was in 1990.
For the City of Pueblo the trend is very different retail sales
per capita were relatively flat over the time period studied. Data for the
Town of Westcliffe that show an increased PCRS reported for 1995 and again
just after the 1998 national byway designation support the hypothesis that
byway designation has a positive impact on local economies.
The Gold Belt Tour travels through a diverse set of communities, including
Cripple Creek, where there is legalized gambling; Victor, home of many of
Cripple Creeks service workers; Florence, a small artsy town with
lots of antique shopping; and Canon City, located in the foothills just
east of the Royal Gorge. Both Florence and Canon City saw similar movement
in their PCRS ending the time period slightly higher than they started,
with some slight dips and rises along the way. Cripple Creek saw some dramatic
changes in PCRS during the 1990s before declining in 2001 to almost 1990
levels. Victor had a couple of peaks, but PCRS were mostly flat for most
of the period studied. PCRS for municipalities along the Gold Belt Tour
do not appear to support the hypothesis.
Only one town along the Grand Mesa had retail sales listed by the Colorado
Department of Revenue on the states CEDIS website. Grand Mesa became
a state byway in 1991 and the route received national designation in 1996.
Changes in PCRS in Cedaredge over the period studied do not appear to be
strongly associated with state or national byway designations, though the
two-year upward trend in PCRS after 1998 may be due to byway designation
or awareness of byway designation. Overall, Cedaredges PCRS showed
a healthy increase over time, with the 2001 PCRS about 24% higher than it
was in 1990, with the highest PDRS in 1995.
State byway designation came early for the San Juan Skyway, in 1989.
Data are not shown for 1998 and 1999, but data for four of the municipalities
--Dolores, Silverton, Ridgway, and Mancos show increased PCRS from 1990
to 1993. Data for all these Skyway municipalities trend mostly upward after
national designation in 1996, with the exception of some swings in Ridgway,
a dip of PCRS in Ouray for 2000, and a slight drop in Silvertons PCRS
The two municipalities on the San Juan Skyway shown in the next chart
are Cortez and Durango. Here data show flat per capita retail sales in Cortez
over the period studied, while they show an almost steady increase in Durango.
Durango PCRS for 1996 was about 32% higher than it was in 1990, while the
2001 PCRS show a 15% increase from 1996 to 2001. PCRS data for Durango suggest
that byway designation had some positive impact.
The Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway comes
into Colorado at the Kansas State line, traveling west through Holly, Grenada,
Lamar and Las Animas along the Arkansas River before turning southwestward
at La Junta. From La Junta the route goes to Trinidad then south along I-25
and into New Mexico. Per capita retail sales generally increased over the
time period studied in the three municipalities that have the higher average
PCRS on the Colorado portion of the Santa Fe Trail: Lamar, La Junta, and
Trinidad. The remaining three towns -- Las Animas, Holly and Grenada, have
remarkably similar patterns, with fairly steady PCRS from 1990 to 1995,
then slowly declining as they move toward 2001. We see an increase in PCRS
in Trinidad, La Junta, and Lamar after national byway designation in 1998,
which generally supports the hypothesis that byway designation has an impact
on local economies.
On the Top of the Rockies, two of the municipalities seem to have been
positively impacted by the national byway designation in 1998, with increases
in PCRS in 1999. Minturn PCRS continue to increase until the end of the
time period studied, while Leadvilles increase is not sustained. Minturn
also seems to have seen some positive impacts from designation after 1993,
though their numbers were already trending upward when the designation occurred.
Red Cliff ended the time period with PCRS at about the same level as it
was in 1990.
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road is the only one of the eight national
byways in Colorado that received its national designa-tion (in 1996) before
it received designa-tion as a state byway in 1999. PCRS in Grand Lake shows
an increase after state byway designation in 1999, but with its generally
up and down pattern over the time period studied, it does not appear that
designation had a strong impact.
PCRS in Estes Park show a pretty steady decline from 1990 to 1999, with
a slight increase in 1997 just after national byway designation. Granby
is not on this byway, but is the next town west from Grand Lake and could
and does benefit from byway designation in 1993 as the Colorado River Headwaters.
Its PCRS is mostly flat after national designation but shows an increase
after state designation in 1999.
Overall there is evidence, as shown by per capita retail sales data in
the above charts relative to byway designation years, that byway designation
has had a positive impact on per capita retail sales (PCRS) figured in many
municipalities along the byways. While we cannot isolate byway designation
from other variables that may have affected retail sales figures, the changes
that occur just after designation support the hypothesis that byway designation
has a positive impact on PCRS in towns along the byway.
One way to explore whether byway designation has had an economic impact
is to look at the amount of dollars spent by visitors over time. The data
in the charts above suggest that byway designation has had a positive economic
impact on municipal economies, as measured by per capita retail sales. Another
way to look into byway designation impact is to look at traffic patterns
over time on sections of each of the eight byways.
Below we show data for sections of byways over a twelve year period,
from 1990 to 2002. These data were transferred to us by a representative
of the Colorado Department of Transportation as very large Microsoft Access
files. Each file contained traffic counts and other information for all
of Colorados highways. To pare down the large data files, data from
each file were converted into Microsoft Excel files. Then data were deleted
for all highways and portions of highways that are not part of the eight
national byways in Colorado. (The 1998 file was incomplete, so data for
1998 are not shown in the following charts.)
Next, segments of the highways listed that are actually parts of the
eight byways were selected out from the rest of the data, leaving rows of
data for segments of the highways that are parts of the scenic byways. CDOT
labeled these highway segments/rows with their highway number, their beginning
mile marker, and a short description of the segment in each row. The number
of rows in portions of byways varied from 3 to over 150, with data for segments/rows
covering sometimes part of a mile, and sometimes over thirty-plus miles.
Each row also included other information about a segment of highway.
The more important information included section length and average annual
daily traffic (AADT) or average daily traffic (ADT). According to CDOT representatives,
the ADVT data are based on 24-hour long hose counts done throughout
the state on byway segments. Some segments may get hose counts once every
three years. Some may get hose counts every six years. CDOT then creates
estimates for average annual traffic counts.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the daily vehicle
miles traveled (DVMT) is the best measure of traffic flow over time. Compared
year by year, the DVMT can illustrate growth in local traffic over a section
of highway over time. The DVMT is calculated by multiplying the segment
length by the AADT/ADT. For the data files for 1990 to 2002, we calculated
the DVMT for each of the segments/rows, then combined the row DVMT for each
highway section on the eight byways. Data for these sections were then added
to determine the daily vehicle miles traveled for each of the byways. In
the charts below, data are also shown for byways and for sections of highways
The first chart shows the DVMT for the eight national byways in Colorado.
Data for this chart are the combined DVMT for each section of the byway.
Again, the 1998 data file from CDOT were incomplete, so the data for this
year are not included in any of the charts.
Recall that each of the byways received state and national designations,
but these designations do not often occur in the same year. Note also that
some of the CDOT traffic data are estimates, which CDOT says should be treated
literally as if they are the actual data.
What we see in the following chart are data lines that have gradually
increasing DVMT numbers from year to year for half of the byways: Grand
Mesa, Frontier Pathways, Gold Belt Tour, and Trail Ridge Road. The Top of
the Rockies shows an overall increase in DVMT with only a slight dip in
2000. (Please note that this may be a true dip in traffic numbers,
there could be problems with the CDOT estimates. It is difficult to know
The Santa Fe Trail generally saw an increase in DVMT over the years studied,
with a slight drop in 1996 and a larger drop in 2001. Its numbers in 2002
are just a bit higher than they were in 1990. The Dinosaur Diamond DVMT
count stays pretty level throughout the time period. The top line on the
chart represents the San Juan Skyway, the longest of Colorados national
byway that has all its sections within the states borders (Dinosaur
Diamond is divided between Colorado and Utah, while the Santa Fe Trail travels
through Kansas into Colorado then moves south into New Mexico.) The Skyways
DVMT trends mostly upward, with slight dips in 1992 and 2000.
The Dinosaur Diamond is divided into four sections in the CDOT data.
At the lower entrance, there are two short sections of road going into Loma,
one on I-70 from Utah and one on Hwy. 6 from Grand Junction. These are the
top two lines on the chart. The other two lines show the DVMT from I-70
to Rangely, and the DVMT from Rangely to Dinosaur. The counts from Utah
on I-70 show the most consistency in their upward trend, but it is highly
doubtful that many of those traveling the interstate are also traveling
up the byway.
The two lower lines should mostly show byway traffic, and there is quite
a bit of movement and variation in these lines. The traffic from Rangely
to Dinosaur has similar DVMT in 1990 and 2001, with increases in 1992 and
2001, and a slight decrease in 1999. The data for the section from I-70
to Rangely show quite a bit of variation, with the numbers in 2002 lower
than they were in 1990. State byway designation appears to have had an impact
on DVMT along the I-70 to Rangely and on the Rangely to Dinosaur sections
after state designation.
Frontier Pathways is comprised of two CDOT sections, Hwy. 96 goes from
Westcliffe to Pueblo city limits, and Hwy. 165 from Wetmore to Colorado
City at the I-25 junction. Both segments show pretty steady increases in
DVMT over the period studied, with the road from Pueblo to Westcliffe showing
higher numbers and rate of increase. Frontier Pathways state byway designation
occurred in 1994, after which the Hwy. 96 DVMT increase steeply. National
designation was awarded in 1998, and we see increases in DVMT on each of
this byways sections from 1999 to 2001 -- when they start to level
off. Data suggest that byway designation impacted this byways traffic
The Gold Belt Tours major mileage occurs on county highways, and
data for DVMTs on these sections are not included in the data shown
on this chart. Data for two sections are shown. The top line represents
a section of Hwy. 115 that starts in Ca?on City at Hwy. 50 and travels east
through the town of Florence. Here we see a general trend upward with a
peak in 1995 and a big swing upward in 2002. The bottom line is a section
of Hwy. 50 that starts in Canon City and goes west to the turn off to Hwy.
9, near the Royal Gorge. The line for this CDOT section shows DVMT trending
mostly upward with a dip in 2002. The Gold Belt Tour received state scenic
byway designation in 1989 and national byway designation in 2000. There
are some upward trends after these dates that suggest positive impacts on
traffic numbers from the two designations.
The Grand Mesa is on one CDOT highway section. From I-70 Hwy. 65 goes
through Mesa and into Cedaredge. The Grand Mesa became a state byway in
1991 and a national byway in 1996. In the chart we can see peak in the line
in 1993 and another good-sized jump after 1994 that pretty much levels off
after 1994. The increase in DVMT after 1993 may be due to byway designation
in that year. The DMVT in 2002 is 47% higher than it was in 1990, while
the Cedaredge population in 2002 was 31% higher than it was in 1990.
The San Juan Skyway is comprised of six CDOT sections. The legend attached
to this chart lists the segments, starting with Hwy. 145 from Cortez to
county road 36 north of Dolores (the CDOT section from CR 36 to Telluride
is not included here). From Telluride north to the junction with Hwy. 62
is the second CDOT section listed in the legend, followed by the section
of Hwy. 62 into Ridgeway. Next is the CDOT Hwy. 550 section from Ridgway
south to Silverton. Then we go from Silverton south to Durango on Hwy. 550.
To complete the loop we have the section of Hwy. 160 from Durango west to
Cortez. The San Juan Skyway became a state byway in 1989 and gained national
designation in 1996. Patterns in the data show an overall increase in DMVT
over the period studied, and it could be argued that increased travel on
this byway could have been positively affected by the 1989 state byway designation.
The section from Durango traveling west to Cortez is the top line shown
in the chart and has the highest DVMT of the seven Skyway sections. This
sections DVMT trends upward from 1991 until 1998, then starts to decline.
The section from Durango to Silverton shows the second highest DVMT on the
Skyway, mostly mirroring the line from Durango to Cortez, and showing a
similar decline after 1998. The other four sections of the Skyway have lower
overall DVMT numbers, but they all tend to be trending upward with the Telluride
to Ridgway section showing a good-sized increase after 1999, and the section
from north of Ouray to Silverton showing some interesting peaks in activity
during the 1990s.
The Santa Fe Trail is comprised of three CDOT sections. The top line
shows the DVMT data for the section that starts at the Kansas State line,
east of Holly, and travels west to La Junta. Here we see the DVMT numbers
increasing steadily until 2000 when it drops off sharply before rebounding
in 2001. The other two CDOT sections show similar trends, though some data
for the short trip on Hwy. 160 from 1-25 to the junction with Hwy 350 were
incomplete and so not reported here. The DVMT numbers are pretty flat on
the section from Hwy. 350 from Hwy. 50 in La Junta to the Beshoar junction
on the east side of Trinidad. Travel on this section is probably a better
indicator of byway designation impacts than the Hwy. 50 section because
travelers on Hwy. 350 would most likely be on that road because its
on the Santa Fe Trail and/or because its a good shortcut to Trinidad.
The Santa Fe Trail Mountain Branch became a state byway in 1992, after which
we see a slight increase in DVMT, and it became a national byway in 1998,
before and after which the line is flat. DVMT numbers on Hwy. 350 do not
give much support to the hypothesis that byway designation positively impacts
The Top of the Rockies DVMT data show some pretty wild swings in traffic
counts over the time period studied. There are three sections of this byway
shown here, with two of them starting on I-70 and traveling south to Leadville.
The Hwy. 91 section ends in Leadville at the junction with Hwy. 24, and
the Hwy. 24 section starts at I-70, goes through Leadville and ends at the
Hwy. 82 junction. Data for the last section, from Hwy. 24 past Twin Lakes,
is spotty, and no data were available beyond 1996 except in 2001. This section
is represented by the lowest line in this chart, and data available for
this section show that DVMT was relatively flat along this section, with
a slight decrease in DVMT after state byway designation in 1993.
DVMTs along the other two Top of the Rockies sections show a general
trend upward, with significant declines on both sections in 2000, and a
decline in DVMT on the Hwy 91 section in 1996. The decline in DVMT in 2000
follows national byway designation in 1998, while increasing DVMT numbers
after that year are encouraging and could have been positively impacted
by the designation.
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road is made up of two CDOT sections.
Data for an additional section, on Hwy. 34 from Grand Lake to Granby, are
included here because of Granbys proximity to the byway and Grand
Lake. The other CDOT section starts east of Estes Park at county road 63
and travels into Rocky Mountain National Park, over the Continental Divide
to Grand Lake. The two sections show a similar trend upward over the time
period studied. Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadows Road received designation
as a national byway in 1996 and state designation in 1999, and we see an
increase in DVMT on the Granby section after national designation. The DVMT
counts decrease on the byway itself (between Grand Lake and Estes Park)
after 1996 with higher DVMT numbers in 1999, then a decrease in 2000. We
really dont see an indication of a positive impact of byway designation
on Trail Ridge Road, but the data for Granby suggest that there was a positive
impact along the adjacent stretch of Hwy. 34 after national byway designation.
The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway provides a unique and unparalleled
opportunity for visitors to experience the thrilling story of dinosaurs
with the science and the history of discovery behind them. The route combines
opportunities to see dinosaur bones still in the ground being excavated
and dinosaur bones being prepared by paleontologists for museums. Museums
all along the Byway display both reconstructed skeletons and fleshed-out
recreations of dinosaurs found in the area.
In between and sometimes overlapping the dinosaur sites are areas of
major archaeological interest. This two-state Byway on the northern edge
of the Colorado Plateau is in the same country that was occupied by prehistoric
Native Americans who saw the many rock cliffs of the area as ideal surfaces
for their petroglyphs and pictographs. Some of the finest examples and densest
concentrations of this rock art in North America are located along or near
the Byway corridor.
Along the Byway there are many opportunities for visitors to take a
breather from the abundance of dinosaur sites to enjoy recreation opportunities.
Hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and many other activities can
be enjoyed on the acres of public lands in the corridor. River rafting and
kayaking suitable for all levels can be arranged on the Green, Yampa, and
Colorado rivers. Horse-back riding, llama-assisted pack trips, and even
mule and goat pack trips can also be arranged with private operators in
Unique, red, gray, and green rock formations, forested mountain passes,
canyons, cliffs, rivers, and plateaus can all be enjoyed along the Dinosaur
Diamond Prehistoric Highway. Wide-open spaces and miles of unobstructed
views are the reward for those who travel the Byway.
Length: 486 miles
Driving Time: 2 - 3 days
During the winter of 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike nearly froze to death in
the Wet Mountain Valley within sight of the peak now bearing his name. Undaunted,
19th-century settlers soon followed, taking advantage of the valleys
good soil and climate to build new lives.
Find a microcosm of the history of the West in this one pastoral valley.
Follow in the footsteps of American Indians, trappers, explorers, traders,
settlers, miners, and farmers. Each left their unique mark here. Relive
frontier history in this pastoral paradise by visiting many of Colorados
finest high-country ranches and farmsteads (some dating back to the 1840s),
trading posts, and stage stops. Or pursue adventure in nearby Hardscrabble
Canyon, the white-capped Sangre de Cristos mountains, or the sharp mesas
and hogbacks that flank the Arkansas River. You find scenic beauty and Old
West history in abundance on the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway!
Length: 103 miles
Driving Time: 3.5 hours
Simply driving the Gold Belt Tour in Colorado is an adventure in itself.
While following historic railroad and stagecoach routes leading you to North
Americas greatest gold camps, you will find yourself traversing between
narrow canyon walls and along excitingly steep drop-offs. While the area
is no longer bustling with the activities of the gold rush, you can still
strike it rich with views of outstanding scenery and limitless
As you drive the Byway, watch for the hundreds of historic gold mines
that surround the communities along the way. Get a real feel for the gold
rush days when you visit Victors National Historic District and Cripple
Creek, the historical hub of the mining district and a National Historic
Landmark. Most of the buildings built in the early 1900s have been restored
to their original likeness, and will give you an authentic look at what
life must have been like on the road to riches. Once youve discovered
gold mining of the past, visit Victors new active gold mine. See for
yourself the toil and backbreaking labor that went into gold mining in the
1890s and how technology has improved the miners endeavors today.
Youll find plenty of recreational opportunities on the Gold Belt
Tour. If you love the great outdoors, this is the place to be. Enjoy some
great fishing, camping, and hiking areas. Or take advantage of the dirt
roads for mountain biking and horseback riding.
Length: 131 miles
Driving Time: 5 hours
Travelers craving release from the momentum of mediocrity can truly
transcend the world in the unusual beauty of the Grand Mesa. The 63-mile
route rises through the narrow canyon of Plateau Creek to the cool evergreen
forests of the mesa top, called Thunder Mountain by the Utes. Poised atop
Lands End Overlook, youll see the Grand Valley unfolding more
than a mile below in splashes of golden rubble and vibrant foliage. Hike
through dense alpine forests, ski spotless wintry slopes, or fish sparkling
streams pouring into 300 lakes adjacent to the Byway. Rise above the world
and learn why the Grand Mesa is called the alpine oasis in the sapphire
If youre frustrated by so-called breathtaking vistas
that failed to strike and stun you, let the Grand Mesa awe and astonish
you. Follow the Lands End Road along the rim of the worlds largest
flat top mountain and discover all 360-degrees of singular alpine skyline.
High altitude and clear alpine air invite visitors to look westward to clarion
views of the La Sal Mountains, 60 miles to the west in Utah. Sharp-eyed
visitors frequently look southward to the peaks of the San Juan Mountains,
90 miles away. With grand views of the vibrant valley and the rustic mountain
ranges gilding the horizon, the Grand Mesa is waiting to leave you breathless
Every season has its own glory along the Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic
Byway. Enjoy a roadside picnic with family or friends in cool spring fields
alive with a full spectrum of wildflowers. Fall brings crimson splashes
and splatters of saffron to the valleys and mountains, while the mild climate
encourages a variety of wildlife to wander in the dense forests of the Byway.
Lose yourself in the nostalgia of summertime why not show your children
the same kind of fishing, canoeing, hiking, and sport that you loved as
a kid? Spend a week on the shores of the seven Grand Mesa Lakes, where flower-touched
fields, waterside campgrounds, and shady trails await you. With over 400
trails designed for snowmobiles, cross-country skiers, and snowboarders,
the Grand Mesa is the winter wonderland of your dreams. Discover the grandeur
of the Grand Mesa anytime of year, and you wont be disappointed.
Length: 63 miles
Driving time: 2 hours
Craving recreation at high elevation? Travel to the top of the world
and back in time on the San Juan Skyway. Discover history and high times
in the streets, gold mines, and railway stations of towns like Durango,
Silverton, and Telluride. Enjoy rafting and water sports on the Animas River,
or fish and boat on McPhee Lake, the second largest lake in Colorado. Join
the many visitors who converge on the Byway each year for bluegrass, jazz,
folk, and film festivals. The Skyway is your open invitation to five million
acres of the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. Experience the ancestral
homes of the Puebloan Indians at Mesa Verde, once voted the number one historic
monument in the world. Enjoy it all on this 236-mile sampler of the best
the southwest has to offer.
The sheer cliffs and rugged terrain of the Skyway boast some of the
most dramatic scenery on the planet. See crashing waterfalls in the spring
as the snow melts in the higher mountains. Wildflowers garnish the alpine
forests in the summer months, where the gilded amber, bronze, and gold of
the aspens delight autumn visitors. Winter brings a glistening blanket of
snow to the Byway, perfect for quiet admiration or more active recreation.
The San Juan Skyway promises a fiesta for the senses any time of year.
Skiing is one of the premier activities along the Byway, famous for its
fresh powder and quality resorts. After the thaw, enjoy four-wheeling, bicycling,
kayaking, dirt-biking, and motorcycle-touring with friends, or indulge in
solitary backpacking, hunting, fishing, and photography in the lush landscape.
Theres rest and relaxation, too. You can browse town shops, soak in
historic hot springs, stay in a Victorian lodge, or sleep under the stars
in a forest campground. This playground in the sky promises something for
everyone in every season.
Dramatic scenery and tempting sports are perfectly matched by the riveting
history of the region. Nestled in the mountains to the south, the cliff
dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park exemplify the complexity of the Ancestral
Pueblos. Spanish conquistadores made their way through this area, and their
discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountains changed the nature of the country
forever. Learn hair-raising stories of struggling settlers and rough prospectors
in the ghost towns and historic mines along the Byway. Historic shops and
Edwardian inns await visitors to Durango, Silverton, and Telluride. Witness
the power of progress at the railway depots and stations that turned these
small outposts into roaring western whistle stops.
Length: 236 miles
Driving Time: 6 hours
Explore the rich legacy of western expansion in Colorado and New Mexico
on the Santa Fe Trail. This route transported many people across the West,
and the resulting mesh of cultures and traditions will greet you at every
turn. Participate in many colorful local festivals and visit museums honoring
the many men and women who have lived and traveled in this area. Early Native
American Indians, military personnel, ranchers, miners, and railroad passengers
all have left their distinctive mark.
On a clear spring day at Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico,
you can still discern the wagon-wheel ruts of the Santa Fe Trail winding
their way across the prairie. Notice that the cultural legacies of this
historic trade route, which saw its heaviest use between the 1820s and 1870s,
remain just as distinct today. The Byway traverses one of the last strongholds
of the nomadic Plains Indians and one of the first toeholds of Anglo-American
pioneers who began homesteading along the Arkansas River in the 1860s. Many
historic sites along the Trail were critical in the expansion of the West,
places such such as Raton Pass, Bents Old Fort, Cimarron, Fort Union,
Wagon Mound, Point of Rocks, McNeese Crossing, Las Vegas, Pecos and Santa
As you travel on the Santa Fe Trail, enjoy the variety of attractions
and activities that the area offers. Celebrate the history of the area by
visiting the many historic sites and museums, or fish, camp, hunt, or hike
in the wide outdoors. Plan a trip to John Martin Reservoir, the largest
body of water in southeastern Colorado, and experience the great recreational
opportunities for travelers of the Santa Fe Trail.
Length: 184 miles
Driving Time: 4 hours
With altitudes rarely falling below 9,000 feet, this Byway is worthy
of its name. Travelers cross the 10,424-foot Tennessee Pass enroute to the
booming mining town of Leadville, the highest incorporated community in
the US. This historic town is the ideal resting place for mining buffs and
outdoor enthusiasts alike. Relive Leadvilles flagrant history by visiting
the abandoned mines where Tabor, Guggenheim and May made their millions.
Venture into the desolate Valley of the Ghosts, where fire ravaged three
thriving Victorian towns. More physically adventurous travelers can choose
from four-wheeling, mountain biking, horseback riding, or hiking on Colorados
highest mountains, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, both reaching over 14,400
feet . The national forest surrounding Leadville is a Mecca for other outdoor
activities such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fishing, golf and more!
Leadvilles history is spiced with stories of real people who made,
and lost, fortunes. Andrew Carnegie, Susan B. Anthony, Doc Holliday, and
the Unsinkable Molly Brown are just a few of the characters
who crowd its past. With 70 acres of Landmark District brimming with Victorian
charm and architecture, its no wonder Leadville is one of the ten
Prettiest Painted Places in America. Admire Colorados heritage at
the National Mining Hall of Fame, or brave the nearby ghost towns of Lake
As you explore this 75-mile route of towering peaks and broad valleys,
keep your eyes peeled. Sharp eyes might spot robust wildlife, like the agile
Big Horn Sheep, among the rocks. Slashes of gold, red, blue, and white wildflowers
adorn the snowy mountainside each spring. Nestled at the foot of Mt. Elbert,
the Twin Lakes area bursts with picture-perfect views of soaring peaks and
lavish foliage around the states largest glaciated lake. Unique natural
beauty and rich history are showcased perfectly in this living landscape.
Length: 75 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours
Winding through a national park encompassed by national forests, the
Trail Ridge Road is arguably one of the most beautiful Byways in Colorado.
Its many overlooks bestow stirring vistas of 415 square miles of the towering
(14,000+ feet) Rockies.
The clear atmosphere of this alpine tundra makes your sight of the night
sky an unforgettable experience. Constellations, planets, meteor showers,
and phases of the moon are brighter than ever and seem just within your
Because this is such a protected area, you have a splendid chance of
spotting rarely-seen wildlife, including mountain sheep, moose, beaver,
and ptarmigans, as well as marmots, pikas, eagles, peregrine falcons, elk,
deer and coyote. For an exceptional treat, join wildflower enthusiasts in
July when the alpine tundra wildflowers peak. Theres plenty of natural
beauty on the Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road Scenic Byway!
Length: 48 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours
During a recent trip to a National Scenic Byway area in Colorado (shown
on the Study Area map attached to your e-mail ), you indicated that you
would participate in Part 2 of our Visitor Survey. Thank you again for helping
with this study, conducted on behalf of the Colorado Scenic and Historic
Byways Commission and the Americas Byways Resource Center. The information
will help us understand the needs and experiences of travelers on our nations
scenic byways. Your responses are voluntary and confidential; and will be
considered your consent to participate. The survey results will be summarized
in a report to the Colorado and National Scenic Byway Programs.
Because we are able to survey only a small fraction of travelers, your responses
are very important. This survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.
See the accompanying map if necessary for any survey questions referring
to the Study Area.
Please note: Please try to make sure that the same person who completed
Part 1 of the Visitor Survey also completes this questionnaire.
1. Who accompanied you on your trip through this Study Area? (Choose
all that apply)
No one (traveling
by myself) Family
group (tour, outfitted)
2. Indicate the activities in which at least one member of your travel
party participated during your stay within the Study Area. (Choose all that
Bicycling Boating/water sports
Dining in restaurants
Picnicking Pleasure driving
Shopping for art,
souvenirs, crafts, antiques, etc.
Shopping for other
Special event attendance
3. How many days did you travel in the Study Area marked on the accompanying
4. Did you travel the whole scenic byway or just a segment of it?
Whole scenic byway
5. What other location(s) in Colorado did you visit on that trip (if any)?
6. For your entire trip (including outside the Study Area), how many
total nights were you away from home?
Please enter your best estimate of the total dollars spent by you/your
travel party in the Study Area in each of the following categories.
7. Motels/hotel/cabins $_______
8. Campground/RV park fees $_______
9. Eating or drinking establishments $_______
10. Groceries $_______
11. Gasoline or motor oil $_______
12. Auto repair $_______
13. Travel: Car rental, airfare, rail, taxi, tour packages $_______
14. Tour, exhibit, museum admission fees $_______
15. Park fees, recreation area and license fees $_______
16. Other amusement/entertainment fees $_______
17. Recreation equipment rental (e.g., bike, Jeep) $_______
18a. Other retail purchase of services $_______
18b. Sporting goods, other recreation equipment purchases $_______
19. Retail purchase of souvenirs, art, crafts, antiques, etc. $_______
20. Other retail purchases $_______
The following is a list of attributes important to some travelers on
a route such as this National Scenic Byway. First, please rate the level
of importance of these attributes to you during your travel along this byway.
(Circle only one) Next, rate your level of satisfaction with these attributes
during your travel along this Byway. (Circle only one)
Satisfaction 4 = Very Important 3 = Important 2 = Somewhat Important 1 =
Importance 4 = Very Important 3 = Important 2 = Somewhat Important 1 = Not
Roadways, Highway Signage, and Public Facilities
23. Good roadways (safe, well-maintained) 4 3 2 1 49. 4 3 2 1
24. Availability of restrooms and safe drinking water. 4 3 2 1 50. 4 3 2
25. Adequate scenic turnouts (frequency, safety). 4 3 2 1 51. 4 3 2 1
26. Availability of picnic tables or campgrounds. 4 3 2 1 52. 4 3 2 1
27. Absence of litter on roadways, shoulders, etc. 4 3 2 1 53. 4 3 2 1
28. Barrier-free access for disabled visitors, strollers 4 3 2 1 54. 4 3
29. Adequate recreational site parking. 4 3 2 1 55. 4 3 2 1
30. Clear directional or informational signs. 4 3 2 1 56. 4 3 2 1
31. Natural resources in good condition (e.g., unpolluted water,
fresh air, untrampled vegetation, minimal erosion). 4 3 2 1 57. 4 3 2 1
32. Presence of wildlife in its natural habitat. 4 3 2 1 58. 4 3 2 1
33. Opportunity to be inspired by natural settings. 4 3 2 1 59. 4 3 2 1
34. Reasonable prices for traveler services. 4 3 2 1 60. 4 3 2 1
35. Comfortable, good quality accommodations. 4 3 2 1 61. 4 3 2 1
36. Adequate trip planning information. 4 3 2 1 62. 4 3 2 1
37. Educational interpretation of area natural features. 4 3 2 1 66. 4 3
38. Availability of supplies 4 3 2 1 67. 4 3 2 1 (e.g., gasoline, food,
39 Educational interpretation of area culture, 4 3 2 1 68. 4 3 2 1
customs, social events.
40. Helpful people serving travelers. 4 3 2 1 69. 4 3 2 1
41. Getting away from crowds. 4 3 2 1 70. 4 3 2 1
42. Opportunities for preferred activities 4 3 2 1 71. 4 3 2 1
listed in Question 2.
43. Memorable scenic vistas. 4 3 2 1 72. 4 3 2 1
44. Doing something with my family. 4 3 2 1 73. 4 3 2 1
45. Getting away from the usual demands of life. 4 3 2 1 74. 4 3 2 1
46. Security of the area 4 3 2 1 75. 4 3 2 1
(e.g., absence of vandalism or social conflict).
47. Opportunities to learn about the people 4 3 2 1 76. 4 3 2 1
and places along the route.
48. Other (please specify)____________________ 4 3 2 1 77. 4 3 2 1
49. What is your level of overall satisfaction with your travel on this
National Scenic Byway? 4 3 2 1
50. Would you recommend to a friend or relative that they travel on this
National Scenic Byway?
Recommend but with
Would not recommend
51. If you have reservations or would not recommend this National Scenic
Byway to others, please state your reasons:
52. Are you the same person that completed Part 1 of this survey during
your travel in the Study Area in Colorado?
Yes; my first name
No; but Im
very knowledgeable about the trip. Go to Question #82.
53. What is your age?
24 years or less
25-44 years 65 years or more
54. What is your gender?
55. What level of education have you completed?
Some high school
High school graduate/GED
Some college, Associate/Vocational
This concludes Part 2 of our Visitor Survey.
As a thank you for your time on this survey and for visiting this part of
Colorado, we would like to offer you a complimentary gift certificate for
$5 of gas. To receive your certificate please click below.
Take me to my free gas certificate
Your contact information will not be used for any purpose other than this
Thanks again for participating in our
National Scenic Byways Designation Impact Survey-Colorado, 2003!
This survey is being conducted by the Colorado Center for Community
Development (CCCD) at the University of Colorado at Denver, on behalf of
the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Program and the Americas Byways
Resource Center; with support from the Federal Highway Administrations
National Scenic Byways Program. Any questions about this survey, or requests
for a summary of survey results, may be directed to Mike Tupa (303-556-6658
or mail to: Michael.Tupa@cudenver.edu>) or to Jon Schler (970-248-7310
or firstname.lastname@example.org). National Scenic Byway Designation Impact Survey Part
Times Traveled Byway to - # Respondents
1 to 5 - 350
6 to 10 - 99
11 to 20 - 71
21 to 50 - 46
>50 - 43