Some consider the Last Dollar Road one of Colorado’s most scenic drives. It’s tucked in the remote San Juan Mountains between Ridgway and Telluride.
This stunning stretch of secluded highway leads you through stretches of ranchlands and the San Juan National Forest, with views of Wilson Peak and Greyhead. It’s one of the best places see mesmerizing aspens each autumn. The seasonal drive closes when the snow makes it impassable, generally in late November, and reopens again in late May.
4WD Scenic Drive
The drive takes about two to three hours, or more if you take your time to get out of the car and stroll into nature. The 4 wheel drive requires only light off roading, so it’s a fairly easy route with the appropriate automobile. 2WD vehicles with high clearance have done the drive in dry weather.
There’s plenty of gorgeous, fields, flowers, forests and mountains to see along the route, as well as local wildlife, cattle and horses. The opening and closing scenic John Wayne’s 1969 film, “True Grit”, was filmed on Last Dollar Road.
Biking – Mountain biking is popular along parts of Last Dollar Road and various forest service roads within the San Juan National Forest.
Camping – Dispersed campsites can be found along most of the scenic drive.
Hiking – There’s no shortage of great places to hike along the Last Dollar Road.
OHV – 4×4 off highway vehicles can use certain roads with the San Juan National Forest.
While the road is well-maintained, it’s also dirt, and heavy rain turns the drive into mud, so it’s best avoided. It’s also not plowed in the winter, so once the snow builds up on the road, it’s there to stay until spring.
From Telluride – Take CO 145 West from the Mountain Village for nearly 3 miles, before making a right onto Airport Rd/Last Dollar Rd. Follow Last Dollar Rd/T60 Rd to CO 62/Ridgway.
From Ridgway – Take CO 62 West from town for nearly 12 miles, before making a left onto Last Dollar Rd. Follow this all the way to Telluride. It’s closed seasonally from December to May, sometimes sooner or later depending on weather.
When you reverse the trip and take the highway back, CO 145 and CO 62, it’s also a breathtaking stretch of the San Juan Skyway, which shouldn’t be missed. Heading back from Placerville to Ridgway you’ll cross over the Dallas Divide, a stunning mountain pass.
Season: late spring to late fall, weather permitting
Length: 2-3 hours