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Sites to see and great drives in the Southwest Colorado Region

There is a special mystique about the southwest region of Colorado…It can be felt among ancient Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park and in the quiet of rugged mining ghost towns high in the San Juan Mountains.From the sheer depths of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument to the exhilarating vistas from Grand Mesa, world’s largest flattop mountain, the region is rich in western history, Victorian architecture and Native American cultures.

The complete vacation experience in Southwestern Colorado.

Every conceivable outdoor activity can be enjoyed in our National Forests and Recreation and Wilderness Areas, from world class mountain biking to gold medal fishing.

  • Seven Scenic and Historic Byways
  • Five Major Hot Springs Locations
  • Five National Forests
  • Five Wilderness Areas
  • Seven State and National Parks and Recreation Areas
  • Two National Monuments
  • Two National Conservation Areas
  • Our shimmering aspens produce some of the most brilliant fall color in the country, enriching the pleasure of touring one of our seven spectacular state and nationally designated scenic and historic byways.

    Featured Byway: West Elk Loop

    Take a tour of the West Elk Loop. This beautiful route will afford you some of Colorado’s most spectacular views and sites. Peer into the depths of the Black Canyon, drive along Blue Mesa, tour over Kebler Pass or enjoy the West Elk’s Wine Country.

    A unique combination of geological, historical, recreational and scenic features. The 204-mile byway originates in Carbondale and follows Colorado Highway 133 over McClure Pass to Kebler Pass and into Crested Butte, from there it continues south to Gunnison, then southwest on U.S. 50 along the Blue Mesa Reservoir, through Sapinero to the junction of U.S. 50 and Colorado Highway 92.


    The route proceeds north through the towns of Maher, Crawford, Hotchkiss and Paonia, completing the loop at the intersection of Hwy 50 and Hwy 133 at the Paonia Reservoir. More information on scenic and historic byways and lands can be found here: Southwest Colorado Travel Region and National Forest Service.

    The staff at The Nordic Inn can give you insider tips and help you with finding just the right adventure.