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“One for your bucket list”
Review of San Juan Skyway

San Juan Skyway
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US$195.04*
and up
Raft and Train Package
Ranked #539 of 2,414 things to do in Colorado
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Owner description: This 236-mile route, a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway as well as a National Forest Scenic Byway, passes through mountains, forests, old mining towns, ski resorts and ancient ruins.
Reviewed 13 July 2012

We did the entire ride from Durango to Cortez. The sights you will see on this scenic road are ones you will remember for a lifetime. You will encounter towns such as Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and Ridgeway along your path. Silverton is the quintessential western town. As we drove into town, we were sure we would be asked to "relinquish our six shooters". Stayed overnight at Ouray just another example of a wonderful western town together with it's hot springs makes for a relaxing and beautiful stay. And Ridgeway, the location where True Grit was filmed is amazing. You can ride the gondola for free in Telluride which provides you with excellent views. This road is one you should put on your list of things not to miss. It will permanently leave a mark after you get home.

3  Thank kymgroadster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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48 - 52 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 3 November 2011

We recently read an article in AAA news magazine written by a writer who has done San Juan Skyway tour during 2011 fall. It made me so enthusiastic to do this trip before winter start, but during the fall months, I cancelled an already arranged trip to Yosemite National Park in California and decided driving from Los Angeles to Colorado with my wife.

First day we stayed in Flagstaff and second day we traveled to Cortez, Colorado via Monumental Valley, UT by US 89, US 160 and US 163. We continue on US 163 N, US 191 N, UT 162, CO 41 and US 491N to Cortez, Co where we stayed our second night. The journey from Flagstaff to Cortez via Mexican Hat was amazing and at each mile we enjoyed.

In Cortez we could visit the Mesa Verde National Park,; 10 miles towards Durango on US 160E which is part of the San Juan Skyway.

At Mesa Verde we expected the cliff dwelling nearby but it was good 23 mile one way travel on constant climb winding road with very low speed limit. It was late and our gas tank was near empty we had return to Cortez.

Next day the temperature was about 26 – 50 but very sunny at lower elevations, we started early from Cortez on CO 145 to Dolores, Rico, Ophir and Telluride. The road was snowy but reasonably safe. The tree line fall colors; some covered with snow was beyond belief; we rested at many places link Ophir. The snow caped hill tops and steep driving was absolute awesome.

It was a weekend and Telluride was a still asleep at about 11.00am. The small Victorian style town was absolutely beautiful. We traveled on many inner tiny alley ways where speed limit was 10.

After a few mile travel on CO 145 we turned to CO 62 E and reached Ridgway, another beautiful and very charming small town. We did some shopping in this town before we started the journey to Silverton.

On way to Silverton it was snowing but some areas was still sunny. The driving in this sector was fun but it was really tricky and I had to be extra careful.

The best place we like was Silverton, we had late lunch at a small restaurant; I do not remember the name, but the staff / owners were so nice, supper friendly and food was awesome. While we were having lunch snowing started and we wanted to get back to Durango before dark.

From Silverton to Durango sector was breathtaking but driving had to be absolutely careful. No space even for one second mistake. Road was so narrow and both side covered with snow.

We, after a few days driving tour, returned to Los Angeles, via Farmington / Ship rock / Gallup New Mexico. On our way we also visited Petrified Forest National Park. We also stayed in Gallup, New Mexico.

I did all these travel / driving with my wife who a disable but a very motivated, helpful and positive is thinking Lady. I personally feel that even though it was daring drive, it was absolute an experience of our life time. I strongly recommend traveling in this sector at least once. I did similar travel covering US 101 from / to Los Angeles to Washington State circle around the Olympic National Park, WA.

12  Thank Asoka B G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

We drove from Durango up to Telluride and then through Ouray, Silverton, and back through Durango on a weekend trip to see the fall foliage. The scenery was spectacular, and the drive is one of the most beautiful we've ever taken. Yes, the road is steep and curvy, but that adds to the adventure. There are no guard rails, but you're traveling at slow speeds and will be so enchanted by the beautiful landscape that you won't be that bothered if you fear heights. You'll drive through charming towns, see abandoned mines, and experience gorgeous mountains. And there are fun ghost towns along the way, too. Be prepared to stop VERY frequently to take pictures! We absolutely LOVED this trip.

5  Thank jande26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2011

We drove from Durango to Montrose. The road is very steep and curvy. No guardrails for most of it. The scenery is extraordinary and well worth the few scary moments.

1  Thank Arnel5l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2008

We had just visited the Black Canyon before embarking on US Route 550, part of the San Juan Skyway. My camera had died, and I figured it would be alright if it was dead from then on. I didn't know what lay ahead on Route 550. Well, let me tell you what did. Some of the most majestic, beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks, along with the most wonderful and scenic hot springs and grandest waterfalls of the entire Rocky Mountain range I have ever seen. To this day, I am ashamed that my camera had died before we drove on Route 550. It almost is a complete must-see if you're in the area. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

5  Thank chadekc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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