San Juan Skyway cuts through some of the most spectacular and mountainous terrain in North America. On it’s 233-mile journey, it passes by Telluride, Silverton, Ouray and Durango.
There are many overlooks with places pull your car over. They usually have a few info boards to let you know the local history and other tidbits. Each town along the way offers unique gems worth visiting.
Archaeological Sites – With a quick detour, Hovenweep, Canyons of the Ancients and Mesa Verde are easily accessible.
Boating – National forests and state parks along the way manage multiple lakes for boating. Ridgway and Mancos state parks are good, as well as McPhee Reservoir near Dolores.
Camping – Both Ridgway and Mancos state parks have campgrounds, as well as numerous national campgrounds including Mesa Verde. Free primitive camping is easy to find in the national forests.
Downhill Skiing – Telluride, Purgatory and Silverton are the biggest ski areas on the trip.
Fishing – Bring your rod. There are numerous places to fish along the Skyway. McPhee Reservoir in Dolores is the largest lake on the journey.
Ghost Towns – Ruins are scattered along the side of the byway, with numerous better-preserved ghost towns existing just off the beaten path. High-clearance 4WD is recommended for maximum fun.
Hiking – There’s no shortage of great hikes in the Southwest.
Hot Springs – Orvis, Ouray and Trimble hot springs all get passed.
Winter Recreation – Towns like Durango and Telluride are full of snow-filled recreation including cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
The best place to start is either Ridgway, Durango or Cortez, depending on where you’re coming from.
Season: Year round
Length: 233 miles
Roads: 2WD, Free
Map: San Juan Skyway (.png)