Trail Through Time: Colorado’s South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
When you think of a scenic byway you might think of the breathtaking Million Dollar Highway or the beautiful Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, but it might be time to broaden your horizons.
Short in Length, Long In History
The South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway in northeast Colorado offers a very different kind of scenery, but one that is very relevant to Coloradans. The 19-mile loop is the shortest of Colorado's byways, but it boasts of the longest history.
The South Platte River Trail takes you back to the 19th century - back in the days of the Pony Express, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Civil War, Indian hostilities, pioneers making their way westward, and into the early 20th century.
Historic Sites, Markers, and Museums On South Platte Trail
On the South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway you aren't going to see towering mountains and majestic landscapes, but rather fingerprints of the old west and thousands of pioneers on their way west to visions of wealth and a better life. Markers and museums tell the story of the history of the area from the 1800s. Historic sites on the trail include the Italian Caves, Devil's Dive, Upper California Crossing, a former Prisoner-of-war camp in Ovid, and the Julesburg Drag Racing Strip.
A Town Named For a Horse Thief
The centerpiece of the South Plate River Trail Scenic Byway is the small town of Julesburg. The town is named for Jules Beni, a station master for the Pony Express who was later linked to a series of stagecoach robberies and horse thievery.
The Battle of Julesburg is a memorable conflict when a group of about one thousand Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoes attacked the town in retaliation for the Sand Creek Massacre. A month later they returned to Julesburg and burned down every building in the settlement.
Trail Through Time: South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
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Schoolhouse Homestead in La Veta, Colorado