Length: 22 miles. Driving time: 1 hour.
For a quick study in Rocky Mountain eco-systems, you could hardly find better instruction than here. This well-settled road leap-frogs the steep divide between the South Platte and Clear Creek watersheds, passing through a succession of distinct environments. The lower elevations are green and wet, thick stands of spruce, fir, aspen, and pine rising along cascading creeks. Higher up, the streams snake through broad meadows, succoring thirsty mammals, nesting birds, and the industrious beaver, The road crests well above timberline, where every spring the grasses and flowers stubbornly renew, and the fragile tundra thaws and blossoms. This old logging and mining area flanked by Mounts Bierstadt and Evans boasts two of the state's best-preserved Victorian towns, Georgetown and Silver Plume.
Lenore C. Bates