Lariat Loop

At the dawn of the age of motoring, long before I-70 was a glint in anyone’s eye, Colorado’s mountains beckoned travelers to get out into the rugged landscapes. They wanted to drive their new automobiles on winding roads with sharp curves and spectacular views. To attract these visitors, between 1915 and 1920, Denver developed a series of 24 parks including the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Buffalo Bill’s Grave and the Buffalo Herd Overlook, connected by “scenic circles” – drives that let motorists experience the mountains above the city. The 40-mile Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Scenic Byway encompasses two of these scenic circles: the Lariat Loop Scenic Mountain Drive and the Bear Creek Canyon Scenic Mountain Drive. The Lariat Loop takes its name from the Lariat Trail, a five-mile spectacular feat of engineering traveling from Golden up Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bill’s Museum and Grave. The road gains 1,300 feet in just 4.3 miles punctuated with drop-offs and viewpoints. It climaxes at the 7,379-foot summit of Lookout Mountain with sweeping views in every direction. When you drive the Lariat Loop, we’ve included locations along the road in this trip that existed in the 1920s. To make the driving adventure even better, we’ve added the drive through Clear Creek Canyon, a not to be missed adventure, when you’re in the area.