US 24 runs 33 miles between Minturn and Leadville. It’s the epitome of taking the scenic route on a spectacular road for leaf peeping and military history. From Vail, do the short drive to Minturn. Make Sunrise Minturn your first stop for breakfast. You can’t miss the old rusty car out front. Founded in 1904 as a railroad town, Minturn is a colorful and eclectic small town. There are multiple areas to pull off and take in the views as you drive US 24. Before driving across the cantilevered steel arch bridge over Fountain Creek, take a short detour to Red Cliff, a mining town founded in 1879. After you cross the bridge, there are several stops to learn about the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. These alpine soldiers, or ski troopers, trained at Camp Hale in the early 1940s during World War II. Camp Hale National Historic Site is in scenic and wide Pando Valley. This mountain and winter warfare training camp had more than 1,000 buildings and structures along with weapon ranges. You can still see the concrete foundations and pillars of some of the buildings as you go on a self-guided tour while imagining what it was like to train at 9,200 feet in adverse winter conditions. Continue driving US 24 and cross the Continental Divide on Tennessee Pass at of elevation of 10,424 feet. At the summit is the 10th Mountain Division Memorial. On the red granite monument are the names of nearly 1,000 soldiers killed on battlefields in Italy and the Aleutian Islands during World War II. This somber stop is a good turnaround point for the drive back to Vail. Once back in town, see the “Ski Trooper” statue near the covered bridge. It pays tribute to the soldiers who trained in the 10th Mountain Division, including Pete Seibert, who was severely wounded in World War II. Along with Earl Eaton, Seibert founded Vail in the 1960s.