San Juan Skyway: a Top 10 road trip

Celebration is set for Mancos

Need a road trip? One of America’s best is located here in Southwest Colorado.

Earlier this month, Outside Magazine included the 236-mile San Juan Skyway in its Top 10 list for America’s best car-touring roads. Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, the San Juan Skyway was designated as an All-American road by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in 1996.

Starting from Cortez, the San Juan Skyway meanders north along the Dolores River on Colorado 145 through Rico and over Lizard Head Pass, elevation 10,222 ft. The scenic byway continues through historic Telluride and on to Placerville.

From there, travel east on Colorado 62 over Dallas Divide at 8,970 feet toward Ridgeway. The San Juan Skyway then continues south on U.S. 550, past natural hot springs in Ouray and along the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton.

Continuing south on U.S. 550, the San Juan Skyway then snakes up and over Red Mountain Pass at over 11,000 feet above sea level. From Durango, travel west along Colorado 160 through Mancos and past Mesa Verde National Park before concluding the six-hour drive, pending weather conditions, back in Cortez.

To commemorate the San Juan Skyway’s 25th Anniversary, a series of public meetings is planned for people to share their experiences and opinions to improve or manage the interconnected highways.

The first public meeting is held at the Mancos Grange starting at 6 p.m. on July 31.