San Juan Skyway, Colorado Scenic Route

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San Juan Skyway


Regarded as one of the best scenic drives in the country, the San Juan Skyway passes through Telluride, Durango and Silverton while traversing high-alpine passes and breathtaking mountain landscapes.

  • The San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile loop through the mountain and plains of southwest Colorado.
  • The loop connects Telluride, Ouray, Silverton and Durango among others, and takes about five hours to drive.
  • The stretch between Ouray and Silverton skirts big cliffs and is known as the Million Dollar Highway.

Overview

The San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains and arid plains of southwest Colorado. The well-maintained road is the transportation corridor of the region, connecting the mountain towns of Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, Durango and Cortez.

Driving Directions

The San Juan Skyway, Colorado, forms a circular loop through the mountain of southwest Colorado. To do the drive in a clockwise direction from Telluride, exit town to the west on Highway 145 and turn right onto Highway 62 to Ridgway. At the stoplight in Ridgway turn right onto Highway 550 and follow it all the way to Durango. In Durango, go west on Highway 160 to Cortez, which connects with Highway 145 north back to Telluride. The drive can be done in the reverse order as well.

Time/Distance

The loop is 236 miles and takes around five hours to complete.

Highlights

The most impressive stretch of road may be the Million Dollar Highway connecting Ouray to Silverton. The wealth of avalanche slide paths means there are no guardrails separating vehicles from the road and a 1,000 foot freefall. The sheer size of the cliffs and the handful of waterfalls make it tough to keep your eyes on the road despite the obvious danger.


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