Explorers once traveled over the Wet Mountains and into Custer County via a trail marking the intersection of several different territories.

That trail is now the Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway, two highways passing historic sites and paying homage to the region’s long and varied past.

The 100-mile Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway runs from Westcliffe to Pueblo, with a second branch to Colorado City. Snowcapped mountains, jagged canyons, carpeted meadows and aspen-covered hillsides make this one of the most stunning drives in Colorado.

Popular stops between Westcliffe and Pueblo along CO 96  include Jackson Hill, an old stage stop where travelers exchanged tired horses for well-rested animals, and Lake Pueblo State Park, a year-round spot for recreation.

Bishop Castle, a quirky structure built by one man, and Lake Isabel, a favored vacation destination, draw visitors off CO 165 between Westcliffe and Colorado City.

Tapped by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 1998, Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway is one of 11 in Colorado to receive the designation.