St. Elmo is a quaint old mining ghost town with several well-preserved buildings. (A description of St. Elmo can be found here) The drive is quite scenic and takes us through beautiful mountain vistas and panoramic South Park.
Leaving Hotel Elegante at 9:30 am we turn east and proceed to State Hwy 115, which takes us south through the Rocky Mountain foothills and intersects with US Hwy 50. Turning west on Hwy 50, we proceed to Canon City, which is best known for the Royal Gorge. Approaching Canon City we pass the Florence SuperMax prison that has been in the limelight due to the government’s interest in transferring Guantanamo detainees out of the Cuban facility. After passing through Canon City, continuing on Hwy 50, we pass the Royal Gorge turnoff and then begin a beautiful drive along the Arkansas River.
In about 1½ hours we are afforded a spectacular view of the Collegiate Peaks. There are ample opportunities for photos. Proceeding approximately ½ hour more we arrive at Salida, where we will stop for lunch. Salida is a quaint old town with many of the old business buildings preserved and still in use. There is an active artist colony here.
Upon completion of our lunch we will join State Hwy 285 and travel north approximately 10 miles to County Road 162. We turn west on 162 and proceed for sixteen miles to St Elmo. County Rd. 162 is quite scenic, taking us past Mt. Princeton Hot-Springs Resort, Cascade Falls, and through a heavily wooded area, before arriving at St. Elmo. (Again, there will be adequate opportunity for photos.)
Upon leaving St Elmo we rejoin Hwy 285 and proceed north to State Hwy 24. Turning east on 24, we enter South Park, a large grassy valley where we may be fortunate enough to see some of the thousands of antelope that range there. We continue on 24 through the small town of Hartsel, over Wilkerson Pass (excellent photo opportunity), through Woodland Park then back to I-25 and the hotel. The estimated time, including stops and lunch is 7 hours and the distance is approximately 250 miles.
For questions or more information, please contact: Smith Holt