The San Juan Skyway is one of the most scenic high elevation drives in the United States, spanning elevations from 6,200 feet near Cortez to 11,008 feet at Red Mountain Pass. The route can be started at any point and goes along U.S. Route 550 from Durango to Silverton, Ouray and Ridgway, and then along Colorado State Highway 62 to Placerville, Colorado State Highway 145 to Telluride, Rico, Dolores and Cortez, before looping back to Mancos and Durango via U.S. Route 160. Along the route you’ll find subalpine forests, historic mountain towns, expansive cattle ranges, and prehistoric Indian ruins.
It takes about 6 hours to drive the 236 mile San Juan Skyway loop. Although this can be done in a day, this loop a great 2 or 3 day trip with multiple opportunities to stop and enjoy scenic, recreational, and historic sites.
Did you know? All scenic byways have a governing committee. In June 2023, SJMA joined the San Juan Skyway’s committee for the first time.
Why is this important? Destination stewardship has become an increasingly important aspect in tourism. SJMA’s partnerships with land management agencies, our presence at visitor information centers, and our expanding “boots on the ground” stewardship work has us actively involved in the San Juan Skyway region. Therefore, SJMA has taken a leading role in the committee with the main task of updating the corridor management plan in 2024, focusing on the importance of recreating responsibly throughout the entire San Juan region.