We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

Level Contributor
1,448 posts
149 reviews
Save Topic
San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

I've read a lot about the San Juan drive and seen some photos. Photos look terrifying! Road with no barrier, right next to edge of mountain, with bottom no where to be seen! I'd love to see this part of the country, but don't know if I could do this road.

Could someone recommend parts of this drive that are less terrifying that the ones that I've seen? Are there easy parts and bad parts? Any other suggestions? Thanks.

(PS - not sure what forum to post this in...I just put in Colorado)

Mentioned in this post
San Juan
San Juan
Puerto Rico
Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,970 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

You are probably looking at the Million Dollar Highway photos, and it depends on several things; your driving skill, the weather and the condition of your vehicle. If you have no experience driving mountain roads or are afraid of heights this is not the road for you. Colorado has many scenic drives, one that gives a good view of the San Juans and is easier to navigate is the Dallas Divide road that goes west from Ridgway and then you can go south through Telluride.

Mentioned in this post
Ridgway
Ridgway
Colorado
Telluride
Telluride
Colorado
Glenwood Springs...
Level Contributor
473 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

Those sitting on the passenger side have a more "scenic" view of the drop offs. My mother spent most of the drive leaning as close to me (the driver) as possible. I personally did not think it was that bad. Yes, it is 2 lane road, fairly winding and no guard rails. You have a very minimal shoulder, definitely not enough to pull off and park on. If you are a very timid drive or afraid of heights, this might not be the road for you.

Once you are going downhill, please remember to down shift into 2nd or 3rd and allow the transmission to do the work. You do not want to over use the brakes and loose them on on this drive. That isn't meant to scare you, but some people don't realize that riding the brakes on long downhill runs can render them useless.

Venice, FL
9 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

SUSIE LOU: After driving west from Ridgeway on route 62, Dallas Divide, do you mean head east then on 145 toward Telluride and then southwest on 145 to Dolores? I know there is no way my husband and I will make it through the scary parts of Million Dollar Highway. We'd like to get as efficiently as possible from Grand Junction to Durango, while seeing as many beautiful sights as possible. We hope you can please clarify. Is 145 scary in parts also? Another question: Is the section of 550 from Montrose to Ouray free of white knuckle driving? We would then turn around and head west from Ridgeway. We'd love to see Ouray as it sounds beautiful. However, there is no possible way we can drve the scary sections! Thanks for all advice.

Mentioned in this post
Telluride
Telluride
Colorado
Dolores
Dolores
Colorado
Durango
Durango
Colorado
Montrose
Montrose
Colorado
Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,970 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

You nailed it with the highway numbers, that is exactly the route I would suggest. The road from Montrose to Ouray is a good one. Ouray is a real gem of a small town with lots of history and gorgeous scenery. It also has a natural hot spring pool where you can soak in the warm water and look at snow capped peaks.

Mentioned in this post
Montrose
Montrose
Colorado
Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,970 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: San Juan Drive - Is It As Scary As Photographs?

I'm sorry I forgot to answer your question about white knuckle driving on the Telluride route. I think you will do fine - just remember that none of it is interstate highway and plan on sufficient time. p.s. It's a good idea to learn how to take your car out of overdrive on the mountainous stretches and don't overuse the brakes since they heat up and then they don't work.

Mentioned in this post
Telluride
Telluride
Colorado