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2/14/2013 Our Pathway Future: Frontier Pathway Scenic

Byway regional board to gather here tomorrow

Colorado is home to more than two dozen Scenic and Historic Byways, with one of those byways taking travelers through Custer County along Highways 96 and 165.

Board members of the Pueblo/Custer Frontier Pathway Scenic and Historic Byways group are trekking to Custer County this week for a one-day “Functions for the Future” retreat.

The retreat is taking place tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Mining Company restaurant in Silver Cliff.

Local board member Dorothy Urban said the retreat is designed to discuss potential bus tours, and other events and programs intended to attract visitors to explore Southern Colorado’s historic and scenic opportunities along the byway.

Other local board members are Lynn Attebery, Ben Lenth, Bob Weisenbach, Angie Arterburn and Bob Fulton. Additional board members are Deborah Espinosa, Bill Zwick, Cathie Kampke and Wendy Pettit.

Urban said Frontier Pathways -- Highway 96 from Pueblo to Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, and along Highway 165 to Rye and Colorado City -- celebrates the historic trail early pioneers used heading west over the Wet Mountains.

Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway begins in Pueblo where folks can visit the Pueblo History Museum to examine the culture and history of the Plains Native Americans, Mexican settlers, Europeans and miners. There is also a re-created 1840s adobe trading post and plaza on the excavated site of the original El Pueblo trading post.

Other Pueblo history worth exploring, said Urban, is Rosemount Victoria House built in 1893 that is now a museum, as well as the Union Avenue Historic District and Arkansas Riverwalk.

When heading west on Highway 96, said Urban, you will arrive at Lake Pueblo Park that offers many outdoor recreational opportunities. Keeping west on Highway 96, noted Urban, travelers climb Jackson Hill where stagecoaches and miners would stop to rest up before climbing up Hardscrabble Canyon and into what is now the San Isabel National Forest.

She said you can never travel through Hardscrabble Canyon without marveling at the jagged peaks of the Wet Mountains, rocky cliffs and delicate wildflowers. And, travelers are likely to spot a few bighorn sheep, mule deer or other wildlife.

The road continues west to the historic towns of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, where a stop at the Silver Cliff Museum is always a treat for those who want to get an up-close look at the Valley’s rich history.

The museum is open on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Urban, the curator, also offers year-round private tours by reservation for large groups.

When heading back down Highway 96, said Urban, consider a trip along Highway 165 where you will see Bishop’s Castle and Lake Isabel. – Nora Drenner