San Juan Skyway

EASY 16 reviews
#24 of 99 trails in

San Juan Skyway is a 230.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Durango, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for birding and scenic driving and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

230.6 miles
21,072 feet

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly


scenic driving






wild flowers


13 days ago

Beautiful trail and awesome weather

6 months ago

230 miles of Pure beauty. Start early, as you will want to stop for many pictures and a lunch, weather a picnic or stopping at an eatery. I highly recommend Baked in Telluride. All homemade and very reasonably priced.

8 months ago

I saw beautiful nature during Autunm season! Very beautiful!

scenic driving
11 months ago

On our July vacation drive from Mesa Verde to Black Canyon of the Gunnison, we made the difficult decision to take the western side of the San Juan Skyway (so we could stop in Telluride), bypassing the Million Dollar Highway section. We were not disappointed in the least though...with continuously spectacular views and numerous mountain peaks, including fourteeners El Diente Peak, Mount Wilson, Wilson Peak and Mount Sneffels, plus the uniquely shaped 13,113 foot Lizard Head Peak. And the panorama just before the spur road into Telluride is gorgeous. It reminded me of pictures that I have seen of the Swiss Alps. At some point, we definitely need to make it back to complete the loop!

scenic driving
11 months ago

The most iconic to me were Silverton, Ouray, a little past Ridgeway and that turn before Telluride. Molas Pass is also great. Everything is Gorgeous as always. Just about any car would do the job. If you aren’t from the area and are afraid of heights... this will become a bit challenging.

scenic driving
Friday, July 07, 2017

scenic driving
Friday, May 12, 2017

From Mesa Verde, we drove 57 miles to Durango, a neat little town and then traveled the beautiful San Juan Skyway and Million Dollar Hwy two and a half hours north and 110 miles to Montrose. The mountains were beautiful, green with aspens and firs, with blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Here were the largest mountain ranges in Rockies…Known in some circles as the most beautiful drive in America – it ranks up there with the Beartooth Hwy and Trail Ridge Road. Leaving Durango, the first major site is Trimble Hot Springs at milepost 30. Although we didn’t see it, hot sulfur water is supposed to simmer along the road… Then the route climbed 4000 ft to Coal Bank Pass- Some people detour to Alpine Slide at Purgatory (Durango Mtn. Resort) at MP 48 while others veer off on Lime Creek Rd MP 51 to see the aspen. We stopped at beautiful Andrews Lake just before the Molas Pass, with gorgeous views of the Rockies and a great picnic area among the fresh smell of fir trees. It was a nice stop – people were fishing the lake and picnicking on a knoll nearby. At MP 63 was Molas Pass (10,910 ft). This was one of the most beautiful spots on the trip, with a wide expanse of space, green meadows, fir trees, mountains and Little Molas Lake to the north. This air claims to be the cleanest in America so we took a deep breath…we could see CO’s largest wilderness (Weiminuche), and a glimpse of the CO Trail (500 mile footpath connecting Durango to Denver). Although we didn’t stop, Little Molas Lake is accessed from gravel rd. on the Hwy’s west (left) side ½ mile north of the Pass. Next came Silverton, a small mining town and the “million-dollar” highway section 23 miles from Silverton to Ouray, a beautiful drive winding along the iron stained (where Red Mtns get their name) Red Mtn skyway and cresting at 11,075 ft at Red Mtn Pass (highest paved pass in the San Juan Mtns.) then descending to awesome Uncompajgre Gorge. The Red Mountains were a beautiful contrast with the green aspens, blue sky and white clouds. We slowed down at MP 90 where Bear Creek Falls plummets 227 ft to canyon below. In quaint Ouray, we passed on walking to Box Canyon Falls at MP92 near the Box Canyon Motel South of Ouray off 550. We could have taken a left onto a gravel road (for a small fee), and seen views beneath the falls, or climbed to a steel bridge spanning the gap above the falls or taken a steep rocky trail to the top. The Uncompahgre River tumbles 285 feet through--not over, through--a cliff - the trail to the bottom of the falls is easy; to the top it is moderate to strenuous. After leaving Ouray the skyway opened wide with lots of valleys and into Ridgway. At Ridgway, we spontaneously took a left at Junction 550 and 62 toward Telluride – a 76 mile RT side trip - the Ralph Lauren ranch (with its white split rail fence) and Mt. Sneffels at 14,150 ft dominated the view at a scenic pullout at MP 14. Telluride was awesome, took the gondola up and did a couple of hikes, then stopped in the gift shop, and headed on up to Montrose as the sun was setting. Absolutely beautiful drive!

scenic driving
Thursday, March 09, 2017

Another one of the most scenic drives this country has to offer. The Durango to Ouray stretch being the best of it all. Highway 550 between these two towns puts you right in the heart of the San Juan's. The views are something that have to be seen, not described. I have driven this highway many times over the years. It never gets old. The other segment worth noting is from Telluride up and over Lizard Head Pass. Once you drop down the pass you follow the Dolores river back to Cortez. Mind you, the whole loop is as scenic as it gets if you like mountain scenery. For anyone living in the southwest, if you haven't been here, you need to make a point of it. They don't refer to it as the million dollar highway for nothing!!

scenic driving
Monday, June 27, 2016

Beautiful drive from desert to forested mountaintops. Destinations and activities unlimited along the drive.

scenic driving
Friday, October 09, 2015

If you ever travel to Durango, Colorado, remember to travel the San Juan Skyway. Although an experienced driver must complete this (curves and elevation changes), the views are outstanding within the Durango-Silverton stretch of the road. In spring the waterfalls and flowers blooming is a true masterpiece. Although in summer the views are amazing, traffic is usually backed up or slow. Fall is the most spectacular season with the fall colors even turning aspen trees bright red making the trees appear like they are on fire. Sadly the road is most the time closed in winter due to heavy snow or avalanches. Every time a relative comes down to Durango, I recommend this trip more than most the activities in Durango.

scenic driving
Sunday, July 12, 2015


scenic driving
Saturday, May 11, 2013

This is a beautiful drive through Western Colorado high country. I especially loved Telluride.

scenic driving
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A lengthly tour of the San Juan mountains. Places include: Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgeway, Telluride,Delores, and Mesa Verde NP. Awesome scenery.

28 days ago

7 months ago

scenic driving
Saturday, September 09, 2017