6 LOS CAMINOS ANTIGUOS
Length: 129 Miles Driving time: 3 Hours
While the San Juan Skyway is considered by some to be the most beautiful drive in the country, Los Caminos Antiguos may be the most historic. Straddling the border with New Mexico, this area is the center of Hispanic culture in Colorado and offers the chance to follow in the footsteps, so to speak, of the Spanish explorers and early settlers.
The area is also home to several notable places, including the tallest sand dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve; San Luis, which was established in 1851 and therefore the oldest surviving community in Colorado; Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Conejos, the oldest parish in the state; and Fort Garland, one of the first military posts in Colorado.
Also nearby is Manassa, the birthplace of former world heavyweight boxing champion boxer Jack Dempsey, and Zapata Falls near Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is worth a visit (read more about the Great Sand Dunes National Park on page 53).
Photo (top left) Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area ; (top right): Rob McGovern / Period Comms; Denise Chambers / Miles