San Juan Skyway
San Juan Skyway
Colorado’s 236-mile San Juan Skyway is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in America. It has earned designations as a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway and as a National Forest Scenic Byway and is one of only six U.S. Department of Transportation “All American Roads.”
The route cuts through the nation’s largest concentration of 14,000-foot mountains, two national forests and over five mountain passes. Aside from all of the beauty that nature brings, this road also lends way to Old West mining towns, ski resorts and Anasazi ruins.
Located in southwestern Colorado, the San Juan Skyway is actually 4 roads; hwys 160, 550, 62 and 145. These form a rough triangle with Durango as its southeast corner. Signs will be posted all along the way. Although this road may be driven in one day, it is better to take two or three days to really get the full impact of the beauty and experience the towns along the way.
The San Juan Skyway is often referred to as the “Million Dollar Highway” – some say it was the cost to carve the road from the cliffs, or because of the gold-laden gravel that was used in it’s construction while others say it’s because of the million dollar views. Whatever you choose to believe, it is a sight not to be missed.
In the fall, giant clusters of aspen paint the mountainsides gold. You can hear them “quaking” in the wind and you can understand why the Ute Indians call the aspen the tree that whispers to itself.
It is not recommended to take this route during winter months.