If you haven’t visited Southwest, Colorado, you are truly missing out! This Weekend Guide to the Million Dollar Highway and San Juan Skyway offers the most amazing views
The Million Dollar Highway and San Juan Skyway takes you through most of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains which are a rugged and remote section of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. This range is completely different then anything you would see in northern, Colorado. The San Juan Skyway Loop takes you through many mining towns (including Durango, SIlverton, Ouray, and Telluride) providing endless views of mountains, rivers, and streams.
Imagine views that boast fourteen thousand foot peaks rise from the mountain ranges on the sides of the highway. The Million Dollar Highway winds around hairpin turns on the side of a cliff between the mountain towns of Ouray, Colorado and Silverton, Colorado. So where did the name “Million Dollar Highway” come from? Some people believe its name came from the abundance of gold and silver mining in the area. Others think it was because the road cost one million dollars to build.
Fall is my favorite time to do the The Million Dollar Highway & San Juan Skyway road trip because the colors and views are mindblowing! The aspen leaves in the San Juans typically start to turn yellow mid-late September and last for about three weeks. If you can escape away for a fall visit, you will not be disappointed by the beauty of Southwest, Colorado.
Driving from Durango to Silverton, you will head over Coal Bank Pass and then Molas Pass. This drive features mountain views and lots of places to hop out, hike, and explore.
Little Molas Lake Campground is a great place to camp about a mile off the road right before you reach Molas Pass. This is a stunning place to camp with the most beautiful peaks surrounding Molas Pass.
Silverton has a variety of hotels, inns, and lodges available to stay in throughout the year. We are HUGE fans of the Wyman Hotel – the ultimate mountain escape!
This is the true iconic section of the Million Dollar Highway. Go slow and take in the views! As you head towards Ouray, you will wind up Red Mountain Pass. The views never stop, but in just a short time you will be in what is called “the Switzerland of America!”
Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging is a great place to relax and enjoy the hot springs vapor cave 109 degree soaking pool, outdoor swimming pool of 102-104 degrees or private outdoor soaking pool and waterfall.
Ouray Hot Springs has a variety of pools and is the perfect spot for families. With waterslides, obstacle courses and more, you will not be disappointed.
Take a stroll down the quaint main street, enjoy restaurants shops and more.
The views just keep blowing your mind away! The road takes you through Ridgeway, where you will head over Dallas Divide. Here you can get a glimpse of Mount Sneffels (14,000 Ft) as you head over the pass! Follow to Placerville and onto Telluride where you will want to spend a night or two!
Food options are endless. I suggest walking around and checking out all the restaurants depending on what you are looking for. There is literally every option you could imagine.
Don’t miss beautiful Lizard Head Pass as you head to the small town of Rico on the way to Dolores! There is endless hiking and exploring in this part of San Juan National Forest which is truly incredible!
You almost made the entire loop! The San Juan Highway between Dolores and Durango heads to the small town of Mancos. If you need to grab a bite, check out the delicious Absolute Bakery and Cafe or the cute little health food store. From Mancos, you will drive over the La Plata mountains back to Durango, Colorado to finish the amazing San Juan Skyway road trip!