The Scenic Byway Alpine Loop, Colorado USA

Alpine loop featured image

Seven ghost towns, two passes in excess of 3,500m and the ‘Switzerland of the USA’ at the end. What’s not to like?

Originally cut into the Rockies in the 19th century, this circular route from Silverton to Lake City and Ouray was created for miners and mules to cart their ore. Riding it today, you can still imagine a mule and cart around every curve, and the only giveaway that time has passed are the seven abandoned towns scattered along the route. Ghost towns of the old west.

Engineer Pass, to the north, rises to 3,600m providing unsurpassed vantage points for photos of Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn peaks, towering more than 4,250m high. On the more southern route, Cinnamon Pass also tops out at 3,600m.

At these altitudes the riding season is short, so it’s June to September, or bring snowshoes. The whole of the 63-mile loop is loose gravel and rock with no tarmac in sight. If you are looking for hours of engaging gravel road with stunning views thrown in, then this is one for you.

Want to ride this?

The Scenic Byway Alpine Loop is just one of the Greatest Roads you can ride with Motorrad Tours. Motorrad Tours is an independent tour operator which specialises in taking the hassle out of the planning and logistics of riding the world’s greatest motorcycle routes, without taking away your freedom to ride and explore.

You can ride the Scenic Byway Alpine Loop on their nine-day Southern Rockies Tour. To find out more visit