- In the southern San Luis Valley, near Alamosa
- Desert / Red Rock
- 129 miles
- 3 hours
- Year-round (heavy snow may temporarily close La Manga and Cumbres passes)
DescriptionLos Caminos Antiguos is Spanish for "The Ancient Roads," and this network of paved roads does indeed travel through territory that has been used by various peoples for thousands of years. This area of the upper Rio Grande River valley was once the northernmost outpost of Spanish territory, and the Catholicism they brought to the region is still evident today in a number of beautiful churches. Remnants of earlier inhabitants can be seen in the petroglyps found along the route, and the Native Americans who still ranch in this valley. Mines and homesteads of the white pioneers who came here in the 19th and 20th centuries are also present.
Passing by a number of museums and historical sites in the dry high desert, Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway is a great drive for those interested in the multicultural history of this area.