Silver Thread receives National Scenic Byway designation

Contributed photo The Silver Thread’s application highlighted the various historic aspects along the Byway such the Bachelor Loop Tour.

The Federal Highway Administration announced on Feb. 16 the Silver Thread Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway received National Byway designation. Sixty-four Byways applied for nomination to America’s Byways — 34 received National Byway designation and 15 received All-American Roads designation. With this announcement, the new total of American Byways is 189 in 48 states.

In 1989, the Silver Thread was established as a US Forest Service Byway and then in 1990 became a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway. The National Scenic Byways Programs began in 1991 as a way to honor America’s roadways with various attributes such as historical, recreational, archaeological, natural, cultural, and scenery.

The Silver Thread’s application highlighted the various historic aspects along the Byway such as Wagon Wheel Gap, the City of Creede, the Bachelor Loop Tour, North Clear Creek Falls, the Alfred Packer Massacre Site, and Lake City.

The Silver Thread averages one state or nationally registered historical landmark for every six miles of Byway.

The Congressional passage of The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act in September of 2019 enabled the Secretary of Transportation to open the nomination process.

“I experienced the history and natural beauty of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway when I visited Rio Grande, Mineral, and Hinsdale counties last August,” said Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. “The Silver Thread Scenic Byway connects some of our most remote communities in Colorado. This elevated designation will help increase tourism in the area and raise awareness of its scenic views and rich mining history.”

This designation will help protect the beauty along the Byway while providing an economic boost to the Byway communities of South Fork, Creede, Lake City, and Gunnison with increased tourism.

In addition to focusing on the history along the Byway, the Silver Thread’s application also highlighted fall events along the Byway including South Fork’s Color Fest, Creede’s Car Show, and Lake City’s Wine Festival. Photos that accompanied the application showcased the beauty of the Byway’s fall and winter seasons.

Kathleen Murphy, President of the Silver Thread Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway, acknowledges that there are countless folks to thank that helped make this happen.

“There were so many parts and pieces to the application, from selecting the points of interest, the multitude of narrative questions, the photographs, letters of support, maps, the review process, the edits. Ever person that submitted a letter of support, that allowed us to use their photo(s), to the reviewers on the Colorado Council; they all helped make this happen. I will forever be grateful for this effort,” she noted.

The Silver Thread Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway is a registered non-profit working to promote the Silver Thread Scenic Byway and enable the public to enjoy and protect all the inherent qualities that make their experiences as memorable as the Byway itself.

For information about the Byway visit or email [email protected].