Monday, May 22, 2017

Dino tracks, Red rocks, and Buffalo Bill on the Lariat Loop in Denver

Right outside of Denver is the Lariat Loop scenic byway with plenty to see. It's to the west of Denver in the foothills to the Rocky Mountains and makes a great day trip (or half a day) of driving and light hiking. Perfect for kids, too. And everything is free.

I found the Lariat Loop national scenic byway in my handy road trip book that's always in my car; you never know when you'll have time for a scenic drive.

I stopped at the Dinosaur Ridge visitor center where you can park. Then you walk up the road that is closed to traffic. Or you can pay for a ticket to ride the tour bus. You quickly climb up the side of the hill and get a nice view. There are sites marked along the route showing fossilized dinosaur tracks, plants, and geologic formations. What a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and learn a little.

Next stop is the Red Rocks Amphitheater and park. You can park and walk around this outdoor theater. The red rock outcroppings are dramatic, and the steep seating makes for a good urban hike. And the views down into the valley are nice. 

I had time for one last stop before the rain started so I drove up the winding road to the Buffalo Bill museum. Park for free then take the short walk to his gravesite. You also get a great view of downtown Denver.

The Lariat Loop scenic byway ends up in Golden, Colorado where you can stop for a drink or snack before taking the short drive back into Denver.

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