AMERICA’S SCENIC BYWAYS

THE COLORADO REPORT

Commissioned by:

The America’s Byways Resource Center

Prepared by:

Erin Nelson, Project Coordinator Intern
Mike Tupa, Project Coordinator
Jon Schler, Project Manager
Colorado Center for Community Development
University of Colorado at Denver

Individual Byway Data Reports Prepared by:

Diana Laughlin, Community Development Specialist,
CSU Cooperative Extension

Summer 2004

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

THANK YOU

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.

FUNDED BY

America’s Byways Resource Center
Deputy Director - Michelle Johnson
Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission
State Coordinator - Sally Pearce

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Executive Summary   4
Project Description   7
Survey Findings
Part 1
Part 2
10
10
54
Recommendations
For National Scenic Byways in Colorado
55
Colorado Report of Secondary Data
Per Capita Retail Sales for National Byways in Colorado
Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled on National Byways in Colorado
63
65
74
 Appendices  83
   

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BACKGROUND:

The Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission, along with the America’s 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 America’s 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 America’s 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 “America’s 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.

OBJECTIVES:

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 Colorado.

4. To determine if there is a relationship between designation and overall economic health and usage of the corridors immediately surrounding the byway study areas.

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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 drivers.

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.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

SCOPE:

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.


STUDY DESIGN:

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.

Section 2 contains a report of secondary data.

Section I, THE SURVEY OF SCENIC BYWAY TRAVELERS:

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.)

TIME PERIOD

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.

LOCATION

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.

THE SURVEY INSTRUMENT

As commissioned, we used a survey instrument designed by America’s 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.

METHODOLOGY

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.)
Web Survey

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.

SURVEY FINDINGS

DATA SYNOPSIS:

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.

TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS:

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.

SURVEY RESPONSES - PART 1:
DATA TABLES FOR INDIVIDUAL AND GROUPED BYWAYS

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.


 Abbrev. Used Here

 Byway Name

Number of Respondents 

 DD  Dinosaur Diamond  111
 FP  Frontier Pathways  176
 GB  Gold Belt Byway  201
 GM  Grand Mesa  191
 SF  Santa Fe Trail  277
 SJ  San Juan Skyway  139
 TOP  Top of the Rockies   78
 TRAIL  Trail Ridge Road  108
 Eight Byways  All Eight Byways 1281

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.

DATA TABLES:

Q1. What is the purpose of your travel today? (Choose all that apply)

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 (n=17).

 

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 Bent’s 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 travel).

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.

DATA TABLES: Q2. Do you live inside or outside the Study Area as marked on this map?

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).

 

DATA TABLES: Q5. How many nights do you expect to be in the Study Area marked on the map? (Choose only one)

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 only.

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 17.1%.

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.

DATA TABLES: Q6. What are your lodging accommodations while in the Study Area? (Choose all that apply)

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 cabin/cottage/condo (n=10).

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 Grand Mesa.


DATA TABLES: Q7. Is this the first time you’ve traveled on this route?

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 “return customers”.

Question 8 asked respondents who said this was not the first time they had traveled the route, “How many times have you visited before?” Answers ranged from once before to over three-hundred times, with most of these respondents having traveled the route less than 30 times previously.

DATA TABLES: Q9. What mode of transportation brought you here today?

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 respondent’s 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 of travel.

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.

 

DATA TABLES: Q10. How did you choose this route?

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 byway’s 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).

DATA TABLES: Q11. Which of the following best describes your reasons for selecting this particular route? (choose all that apply)

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.

DATA TABLES: Q12. Did you know that this is a Scenic Byway?

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 route’s 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.

DATA TABLES: Q13. Did that influence your decision?

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 you’ve 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.

 

DATA TABLES: Q14. Where did you learn that this route is designated as a Scenic Byway? (choose all that apply)

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 about the
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 through experience.

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 Skyway’s 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 each.


DATA TABLES: Q15. Which statement best describes your reason for traveling on this Scenic Byway? (Choose only one)

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 Bent’s 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.

DATA TABLES: FINAL COMMENTS

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 campgrounds.

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 were on.

SURVEY RESPONSES- PART 2:

Of the 55 survey respondents who filled out Part 2, 77% traveled with their family.

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 helpful people.
• 54% had a total vacation period of one week or more.
• The majority spent less than $150 on any category in the travel expenses section.
• Spending on Recreation Equipment and Services was typically $50 or less, and Retail Purchases of souvenirs, art, craft, antiques were $150 or less.
• 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 positively.
• 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 helpful people.
• 97% of respondents would definitely recommend the route.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

FOR NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAYS IN COLORADO

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.

DATA QUALITY:

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.

INTERAGENCY COOPERATION:

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 identity.
• Local and statewide advocacy of byways.
• Increased revenue stream from traveler spending.

VISITOR TRAFFIC AND SURVEY TIMING:

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.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:

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 America’s 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 byways.

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 what’s available in town can make a big difference in the amount of money spent locally. If they don’t 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.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
FOR THE AMERICA’S BYWAYS RESOURCE CENTER

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 (that’s 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.

TIME LINE

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 Reservation Nations.
• 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.
• Develop budget.

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 surveys.
• Finalize study proposals for government submission.
• Finalize survey locations.
• Begin arranging site logistics such as lodging, site permissions, photography, etc.
• 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 legal formalities.

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.
• Assign uniforms.
• Send out final explanation packets to survey sites so they understand what’s going on.
• Get permissions from various government agencies or find an alternative site if permission is denied.
• Confirm lodging.
• 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 everyone’s prepared.
• Handout packets with survey conduct rules, FAQ’s, contact information, and meeting time/place.

RECOMMENDED DATA:

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
- Employment
- Revenue, Gross, Net, Retail, Services
- Value Assessments
- Per Capita Income
• Traffic Volume
• Local Population Size
• Natural Growth
• Migration
• Business Growth
• Municipal Improvements


SITE SELECTION:

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 doesn’t 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.

PERSONNEL:

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.

 

PERMITS AND PERMISSIONS:

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)

America’s Scenic Byways:
Colorado Report of Secondary Data

Commissioned by: The America’s Byways Resource Center

Prepared by: Diana Laughlin, Community Development Specialist, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
Project Manager: Jon Schler, Colorado Center for Community Development

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.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

Per Capita Retail Sales for National Byways in Colorado

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 byway.

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, CDOT’s method of tracking data is problematic. Some of CDOT’s 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.

 

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES CHANGES ALONG THE BYWAYS

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 Colorado’s 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 municipality’s 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 municipality’s yearly retail sales to 2001 dollars, using the Denver-Boulder consumer price indices and factors for adjusting current year data. Second, we divided each municipality’s 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 Section.

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.

BYWAY DESIGNATION DATES

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.

BYWAY DESIGNATION DATES

 Byway

 CO
Byway

 America’s
Byway

 Dinosaur Diamond  1998  2002
 Frontier Pathways  1994  1998
 Gold Belt Tour  1989  2000
 Grand Mesa  1991  1996
 San Juan Skyway  1989  1996
 Santa Fe Trail  1992  1998
 Top of the Rockies  1993  1998
 Trail Ridge Road  1999  1996
With state and national byway designation years falling at various times within the time period studied, tracking impacts due to byway designation is difficult, to say the least. Access to retail sales data for years prior to 1990 would give more information about trends over time, but we did not have access to these data for this report. State- and county-level economic and other changes may have had some effect on local per capita retail sales, but we will have to leave this subject for consideration in another study.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR ALL EIGHT NATIONAL BYWAYS IN COLORADO

The first chart shows the total per capita retail sales (PCRS) for all municipalities on each of Colorado’s 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 Creek’s 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 next set of charts shows per capita retail sales for each municipality along each of the eight byways.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR DINOSAUR DIAMOND

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.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR FRONTIER PATHWAYS

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.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE GOLD BELT TOUR

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 Creek’s 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.

 

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR GRAND MESA

Only one town along the Grand Mesa had retail sales listed by the Colorado Department of Revenue on the state’s 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, Cedaredge’s 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.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY

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 Silverton’s PCRS in 2001.

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.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE SANTA FE TRAIL


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.

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR THE TOP OF THE ROCKIES

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 Leadville’s 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.

 

PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES DATA FOR TRAIL RIDGE ROAD/BEAVER MEADOWS ROAD

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.

 

CONCLUSIONS ABOUT PER CAPITA RETAIL SALES AND BYWAY DESIGNATION

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.

 

Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled on National Byways in Colorado

TRAFFIC PATTERNS ALONG THE COLORADO NATIONAL BYWAYS – DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED

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.

DATA COLLECTION

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 Colorado’s 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 within byways.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE EIGHT NATIONAL BYWAYS IN COLORADO

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, or
there could be problems with the CDOT estimates. It is difficult to know for certain.)

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 Colorado’s national byway that has all its sections within the state’s 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 Skyway’s DVMT trends mostly upward, with slight dips in 1992 and 2000.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE DINOSAUR DIAMOND

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.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON FRONTIER PATHWAYS

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 byway’s sections from 1999 to 2001 -- when they start to level off. Data suggest that byway designation impacted this byway’s traffic counts.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE GOLD BELT TOUR

The Gold Belt Tour’s major mileage occurs on county highways, and data for DVMT’s 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.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE GRAND MESA

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.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY

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 section’s 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 1990’s.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE SANTA FE TRAIL

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 it’s on the Santa Fe Trail and/or because it’s 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 traffic counts.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON THE TOP OF THE ROCKIES

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.

DVMT’s 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.

DAILY VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON TRAIL RIDGE ROAD/ BEAVER MEADOWS ROAD

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 Granby’s 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 don’t 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.

APPENDICES

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway - Overview
Colorado, Utah

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 the area.

 

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

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway - Overview
Colorado

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 valley’s 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 Colorado’s finest high-country ranches and farmsteads (some dating back to the 1840’s), 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

Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway - Overview
Colorado

Simply driving the Gold Belt Tour in Colorado is an adventure in itself. While following historic railroad and stagecoach routes leading you to North America’s 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 recreational activities.

 

 

 

A Look at the Golden Era

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 Victor’s 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 you’ve discovered gold mining of the past, visit Victor’s 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 miner’s endeavors today.


Recreational Riches

You’ll 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

Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway - Overview
Colorado

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 Land’s End Overlook, you’ll 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 sky.”

 

If you’re 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 world’s 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 and amazed.

 

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 won’t be disappointed.

 

Length: 63 miles
Driving time: 2 hours


San Juan Skyway - Overview
Colorado

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. There’s 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


Santa Fe Trail - Overview
Colorado, New Mexico

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, Bent’s Old Fort, Cimarron, Fort Union, Wagon Mound, Point of Rocks, McNeese Crossing, Las Vegas, Pecos and Santa Fe.

 

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

Top of the Rockies - Overview
Colorado


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 Leadville’s 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 Colorado’s 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!

 

Leadville’s 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, it’s no wonder Leadville is one of the ten Prettiest Painted Places in America. Admire Colorado’s heritage at the National Mining Hall of Fame, or brave the nearby ghost towns of Lake County.

 

 

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 state’s largest glaciated lake. Unique natural beauty and rich history are showcased perfectly in this living landscape.

 

 

 

Length: 75 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours


Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road - Overview
Colorado

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 reach.

 

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. There’s plenty of natural beauty on the Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road Scenic Byway!

 

 

Length: 48 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours

 

DATA TABLES FOR THE NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY

DESIGNATION IMPACT SURVEY, PART 1

 Q1. What is the purpose of your travel today (Choose all that apply)

 Byway  Business  Vacation/Holiday  Vacation/Holiday  Outdoor recreation  Visit Friends/ Rels   Other reasons
 DD

 16

 34

 72

 14

 37

 3

 FP

 22

 101

 75

 73

 32

 0

GB

 15

 84

  96

 25

 17

 10

 GM

 2

 97

 74

 65

 29

 12

 SF

 21

 110

 208

 7

 20

 37

 SJ

 10

 7

 111

 4

 4

 7

 TOP

 8

 22

 59

 10

 3

 3

 TRAIL

 3

 5

 90

 1

 7

 6

 Eight Byways

 97

 460

 785

 199

 149

 78

 

 

Q2. Do you live in the Study Area? Answered Yes

 Byway  Number  Percentage
 DD

 0

  0.0

 FP

 103

 28.5

 GB

 14

  6.6

 GM

 2

  1.0

 SF

 40

 11.5

 SJ

 0

  0.0

 TOP

 7

  8.2

 TRAIL

 0

  0.0

 Eight Byways

 166

 10.6

 

 

 Q5. How many nights do you expect to be in the Study Area? (Choose only one)

 Byway  Day Trip Only  One Night   2-3 Nights
   number  percent  number  percent  number  percent
 DD

  89

 78.8

  12

 10.6

  3

  2.7

 FP

  58

 16.0

  10

  2.8

  43

 11.9

 GB

  69

 32.7

  28

 13.3

  49

 23.2

 GM

  140

 72.9

  23

 12.0

  15

  7.8

 SF

  73

 20.9

  89

 25.5

  50

 14.3

 SJ

  0

  0.0

  52

 37.1

  50

 35.7

 TOP

  11

 12.9

  11

 12.9

  24

 28.2

 TRAIL

  14

 12.5

  27

 24.1

  27

 24.1

 Eight Byways

 454

 29.0

 252

 16.1

 261

 16.7

 Q5. How many nights do you expect to be in the Study Area? (continued)

   Byway   4 to 5 Nights 6+ Nights
   number   percent   number   percent
 DD

   5

 4.4

1.8 

 FP

  20

 5.5

45 

12.4 

 GB

  19

 9.0

36 

17.6 

 GM

   6

 3.1

3.6 

 SF

  33

9.5 

32 

9.2 

 SJ

  13

9.3 

24 

17.1 

TOP 

   9

10.6 

23 

27.1 

 TRAIL

 18

16.1 

22 

 19.6

 Eight Byways

 123

7.9 

191 

12.2 


Q6. What are your lodging accommodations while in the Study Area? (Choose all that apply)

   hotel/motel  camping  friends/  relatives   RV   Park  cabin/  cottage/  condo   B&B  seasonal  other
 DD

12 

 FP

21 

36 

27 

28 

10 

 GB

63 

25 

19 

13 

10 

4

 GM

33 

 SF

98 

25 

20 

16 

44 

 SJ

54 

19 

18 

 TOP

18 

16 

12 

10 

 TRAIL

45 

12 

11 

 Eight Byways

316 

170 

88 

51 

84 

11 

81 

 Q7. Is this the first time you've traveled on this route? Afirmative Response

    number  percent
 DD

47 

41.6 

 FP

 75

20.7 

 GB

 108

51.2 

 GM

 76

39.6 

 SF

 119

34.1 

 SJ

 76

54.3 

 TOP

 35

 41.2

 TRAIL

 60

53.6 

 Eight Byways

 596

38.1 

Q9. What mode of transportation brought you here today?

    Own vehicle  rented auto  RV  tour bus  motor
cycle
 other
 DD

80 

14

 10

 0

 4

 5

 FP

 149

 5

 4

 9

 1

 GB

 144

22 

 13

 3

 9

 2

 GM

138

10 

 6

 0

 37

 0

 SF

 246

18 

  2

 3

 3

 8

 SJ

 99

17 

 0

 3

 16

 4

 TOP

 53

 19

 3

 0

 1

 2

 TRAIL

 70

33 

 0

 0

 4

 3

 Eight Byways

 979

144 

 39

 13

 83

 25

Q10. How did you choose this route?

    Internet  brochure  highway  chance  recommendation  other
 DD

12 

19

37 

17 

33 

 FP

10 

10 

18 

109 

12 

 GB

19 

38 

24 

 44

66 

 4

 GM

5

24 

42 

20 

102 

 SF

31 

10 

34 

34 

76 

101 

 SJ

  18

24 

18 

20 

50 

25 

 TOP

10 

  5

18 

47 

 TRAIL

 18

16 

14 

4

11 

38

 Eight Byways

120 

 146

186 

159 

465 

227 


Q11. Which of the following best describes your reasons for selecting this particular route? (choose all that apply)

   fastest  most interesting  most familiar  most direct  most scenic  safest
 DD

52 

47

16 

67 

56 

15 

 FP

20 

60 

22 

16 

87 

 GB

16 

 38

13 

31

118 

  5

 GM

24

41 

24 

31 

146 

 SF

96 

75 

 24

150 

69 

 SJ

12 

47 

10 

24 

70 

 TOP

21

 3

31 

38 

  1

 TRAIL

 9

21 

14 

21

69 

0

 Eight Byways

229 

350 

126 

371 

 653

40 

Q14. Where did you learn that this route is designated as a Scenic Byway? (Choose all that apply)

   Friends  Visitor Center  SB Brochure Other Brochure  TV   Local  Biz  Paper  Magazine
 DD

1

 FP

 28

 GB

12 

 4

3

0

 GM

8

 8

 SF

0

 SJ

  2

 0

 TOP

 0

 0

 TRAIL

12 

3

0

 Eight Byways

79

24

33 

14 

 6

Q14. Where did you learn . . . (continued)

 
  Map Highway Signs Internet Agent Past
Exper.
Auto Club Other
 DD

17 

19

 FP

19 

52 

12 

 GB

34 

24 

11 

 GM

34

73 

11 

 SF

37 

28 

29 

 SJ

34 

13 

 3

 TOP

17 

18

 3

 TRAIL

18 

0

0

 5

 Eight Byways

210 

223 

26 

95 

 31

Q15. Which statement best describes your reason for traveling on this Scenic Byway? (Choose only one)

  on way to destination  designation one of many reasons  designation main reason
 DD

36 

12

 FP

54 

28 

16 

 GB

43 

35 

21 

 GM

62

28 

42 

 SF

71 

22 

 SJ

34 

 26

14 

 TOP

35 

10 

 TRAIL

25 

14 

 Eight Byways

360 

170 

126 

National Scenic Byway Designation Impacts Study
Colorado 2003


Visitor Survey (Part 2 of 2)


Introduction and Consent Survey Form (Part 2) #______


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 America’s Byways Resource Center. The information will help us understand the needs and experiences of travelers on our nation’s 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.

Tell Us More About Your Trip

1. Who accompanied you on your trip through this Study Area? (Choose all that apply)
No one (traveling by myself) Family Business associates
Commercially-organized group (tour, outfitted) Friends
Other (specify)___________________

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 apply)
Bicycling Boating/water sports
Camping Climbing/caving
Dining in restaurants Driving off-road/4WD vehicles
Fishing Gambling
Golfing Hiking/walking
Horseback riding Hunting
Picnicking Pleasure driving
Riding Motorcycles River rafting/kayaking/canoeing
Rock collecting Shopping for art, souvenirs, crafts, antiques, etc.
Shopping for other goods Sightseeing
Special event attendance Taking photographs
Viewing scenery/nature Visiting historic sites/museums
Other (specify)_______________________________________

3. How many days did you travel in the Study Area marked on the accompanying map? _____day(s)
4. Did you travel the whole scenic byway or just a segment of it?
Whole scenic byway Segment
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?
_____nights

Trip Spending

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.

Travel

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 $_______

Entry Admission/Fees

14. Tour, exhibit, museum admission fees $_______
15. Park fees, recreation area and license fees $_______
16. Other amusement/entertainment fees $_______

Services

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 $_______

Visitor Satisfaction with Important Byway Attributes

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 = Not Important
Importance 4 = Very Important 3 = Important 2 = Somewhat Important 1 = Not Important

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 1
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 2 1
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

Natural Environment

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

Traveler Services

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 2 1
38. Availability of supplies 4 3 2 1 67. 4 3 2 1 (e.g., gasoline, food, other supplies).
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

Overall Experience

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?
Definitely recommend Recommend but with reservations
Would not recommend
51. If you have reservations or would not recommend this National Scenic Byway to others, please state your reasons:

Now, About Yourself

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 is___________.
No; but I’m very knowledgeable about the trip. Go to Question #82.
53. What is your age? 24 years or less 45-64 years
25-44 years 65 years or more
54. What is your gender?
Male Female
55. What level of education have you completed?
Some high school
High school graduate/GED
Some college, Associate/Vocational degree
College degree
Graduate degree

 

Conclusion

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 study.
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 America’s Byways Resource Center; with support from the Federal Highway Administration’s 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 schler@gj.net). National Scenic Byway Designation Impact Survey Part 1 Results

 

 

Number of Respondents who Traveled Byway Previously

Times Traveled Byway to - # Respondents

1 to 5 - 350

6 to 10 - 99

11 to 20 - 71

21 to 50 - 46

>50 - 43