Scenic Byways Scenic Byways

Colorado Scenic Byways Map
San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway


San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway Map in South West Colorado, Colorado Vacation Directory Click here to go to map legend

San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway near Bayfield, Dolores, Durango, Hesperus, Ignacio, Lemon, Mcphee Reservoir, Norwood, Ouray, Rico, Ridgway, Silverton, Stoner, Telluride, Vallecito Lake

In 600 AD, the ancient Anasazi, or Pueblo Indians, lived and worked in Southwest Colorado. When resources became scarce and their crops had been compromised by drought and frost, the Anasazi left the region to settle in other parts of Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Spanish followed about 500 years later, striking gold. Miners established towns, leading to the birth of the railroad in the area. Today, this area is full of ancient ruins, deserted mining towns, national parks, and some of the best scenery in America. The San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway covers 236 miles of terrain across southwestern Colorado. This loop travels through Durango, Mancos, Dolores, Stoner, Rico, Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, and Silverton. Be sure to allow at least two days to see everything this byway has to offer.

Beautiful view along US Hwy 550 and the San Juan Skyway, Colorado Vacation Directory
A historic mine along US Hwy 550 on the San Juan Skyway, Colorado Vacation Directory
US Hwy 550 (part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway) between Ouray and Silverton is known as the
"Million Dollar Highway"-- One of the most breathtaking journeys you can travel by car

The byway passes through five million acres of both the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. Traveling the length of the byway will take you through high mountain passes and historical towns and by waterfalls and acres of wildflowers. In autumn, the aspen trees turn brilliant colors. Sunset Magazine recognized the area's superior beauty by writing, "The San Juan Skyway... possibly America's greatest fall-color drive...its aspen views are alternately breathtaking and intimate."

The Majestic San Juan Skyway, Colorado Vacation Directory
There are Many Majestic Views Along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway
Main Street Rico, Colorado Vacation Directory
Rico is One of Many Historic Towns Along the San Juan Scenic Byway


There are many fascinating historical features in the area. Once a landmark for missionaries, conquistadors, and prospectors settling in the region, Chimney Rock is a designated Archaelogical Area and National Historical Site. Many State and National Parks also populate the route of the byway. Both the Mancos State Park and Ridgway State Park are home to many recreational activities. Mesa Verde National Park is the home of the cliff dwellings of the ancient people and recognized as one of the most preserved archeological sites. Also, the Durango and Silverthorn Narrow Gauge Railroad still operates carrying 200,000 passengers a year.

Brilliant Fall Colors of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway, Colorado Vacation Directory
The Brilliant Fall Colors of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado Vacation Directory
Take a Historic Rail Road Trip on the Durango & Siverton Narrow Gauge Railroad


Recreational activities include four wheeling, hiking, bicycling, hunting, photography, fishing, kayaking, dirt biking, and motorcycle tours. For a more relaxing stay, visit town shops and hot springs in the area. In the winter, Telluride and Purgatory provide elite downhill skiing. Winter also creates opportunity for snowshoeing, ice climbing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. Purgatory ski resort also provides summer activities; the ski lift will take you to the top of the mountain for sight seeing, wild flower viewing, and a toboggan-like alpine slide.

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Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

4J+1+1 RV Park & Campground Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Same Family (4J+1+1) ownership for OVER 50 YEARS! Campground along the Uncompahgre River in Ouray. Cross the foot bridge from your RV site to the public hot mineral springs pool, dining and shops.
Mine Shaft Inn & Hostel link to Colorado vacation
Luxury rooms with private baths to Hostel rooms, 20 miles from Telluride in Rico! Ski and Bed Package $99/night! On the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway at the base of Lizard Head Pass (cyclists love riding).
Needles Townhomes, The email this Colorado cabin link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Family vacation destination. A TOWNHOME RESORT: North of Durango, in the shadow of the San Juan Mountains at the base of Hermosa Cliffs. Needles is 2 miles from Durango Mountain Resort Ski Area.
Nugget Cabin, The link to Colorado vacation New Colorado vacation business
What makes this Nugget 14 karat gold: log cabin, 1/2 mile from Purgatory Ski Area, on a private lot, wood burning stove, outdoor hot tub, close to mountain restaurants, and pets are allowed near Durango, CO.
Pine River Lodge - Overlooking Beautiful Vallecito Lake link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Cabins and vacation homes with kitchens near Pine River overlooking Vallecito Lake. Our lodge has an indoor pool, open year around for family fun! Play in the beautiful San Juan Mountains near Durango.
Ridgway - Ouray Lodge & Suites Colorado vacation make reservations Photos available on Colorado vacation page
A non-smoking retreat with spacious, well-appointed lodge rooms and suites near Ouray, CO. Walk to restaurants in Ridgway. Enjoy mountain views, continental breakfast, WI-FI in every room, indoor pool.
Sky Ute Casino Resort: Southwest Colorado's Entertainment Headquarters link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Relax in Southwest Colorado! Resort hotel and RV camp: your entertainment headquarters 20 miles from Durango. Sky Ute offers: Vegas style casino, indoor pool, lazy river, spa, dining, bowling, mini-golf.

More Activities & Information

Dolores Area, Colorado includes: Mcphee Reservoir, Stoner

Durango, Colorado includes: Bayfield, Hesperus, Ignacio, Lemon, Vallecito Lake

Ouray, Colorado includes: Ridgway

Silverton, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado includes: Rico

Scenic Byways in Colorado

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Copyright by The Colorado Directory, Inc. This is a directory only; it is not and does not contain a recommendation,warranty, guaranty, inducement or endorsement of any kind. Representations herein were supplied by the individual businesses. The publisher, The Colorado Directory, Inc., does not assume any responsibility for truth, falsity or completeness of any representation made herein or any errors, changes, services rendered, or changes made in the use of this directory. This information was compiled as accurately as possible. Prices and services are frequently subject to change. Errors called to the publisher's attention will be corrected in the future. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.