- The San Juan Mountains have a diverse set of roads, with paved highways giving way to rugged off-road trails.
- The San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile loop ideal for travel by motorcycle.
- Ophir Pass is moderate enough to handle almost any motorcycle but difficult enough to keep away some traffic.
The roadways of the San Juan Mountains are as diverse as the landscape itself. Perfectly paved highways give way to some of the most difficult off-road trails in the country, and sometimes it really is impossible to predict what’s around the next corner.
Touring the region by motorcycle allows you to explore the nooks and crannies of these remote mountains. Whether you’re looking to simply go fast or navigate tricky switchbacks, the right road can be found here.
Where to go Motorcycle Touring
San Juan Skyway
This 236-mile loop through the San Juans passes through Telluride, Durango and Silverton while traversing high-alpine passes and stunning mountain landscapes. The most impressive stretch 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 awe-inspiring waterfalls make it tough to keep your eyes on the road despite the obvious danger. This is the ideal setting for a multi-day mountain cruise in spring or fall.
The pass is known as one of the easiest non-paved mountain roads in the region, but is just tough enough to keep away vehicles with low clearance. The 10-mile pass links Telluride and Silverton and has great views of Lizard Head and the red drenched peaks of Red Mountain Pass. From Telluride, go south on Highway 145 and look for the left turn into Ophir. Follow the signs through town to the pass.