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San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad picture in Telluride
San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad picture in Telluride

Details

  • Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

If you're looking to get off the slopes and out of the town for a day, hit the road on the San Juan Skyway. This free historic byway, which is affectionately called the "road to the sky," loops through 11 towns and two national forests in southwestern Colorado. It measures 233 miles long and includes Colorado State Highway 145, U.S. Route 550, Colorado State Highway 62 and U.S. Route 160.

The route is designated as an "All-American Road," what the U.S. Secretary of Transportation deems notable based on its "archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities," and meets Telluride on Highway 145, less than 4 miles outside of town. While on the road, drivers and passengers will encounter breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. Other sights accessible via the 24-hour byway include Mesa Verde National Park's prehistoric ruins, the Anasazi Heritage Center and the Ridgway Railroad Museum.

Although this windy, cliffside road made a few past visitors feel a bit uncomfortable at times, many said its "amazing" scenery can't be missed. Without stops, previous travelers said the road takes five to six hours to complete, but photo ops are plentiful, so several suggest alloting at least a full day.

Some of the best parts of the skyway are secluded stretches of road, but it's important to keep safety in mind. Keep an eye on your gas gauge when making a stop and bring along snacks and water, as well as any hiking supplies you might need if you want to stop and explore on foot. Inquire about road conditions during the winter, and be mindful of afternoon thunderstorms in the warmer months. To learn more about the byway, check out Visit Telluride's San Juan Skyway page.

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#1 Telluride Ski Resort When most people talk about Telluride, they're typically referring to this ski resort rather than the town. This massive complex boasts more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain ... Read more » DOUGBERRY / Getty Images

#2 Mountain Village Even if you aren't a skier, a visit to Telluride Ski Resort should be a priority. The resort encompasses Mountain Village, a bustling town originally developed as a cozy ... Read more » Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

#3 Hiking Although Telluride's biggest draw is its top-notch ski slopes, come summertime, locals and tourists alike flock to the town to explore its ample hiking trails. Dozens of paths are ... Read more » kmaassrock / Getty Images

#4 Town Park Telluride's fresh air opportunities aren't limited to Telluride Ski Resort's slopes. During the warmer months, visitors and residents head to Town Park on the southeast edge of ... Read more » Rob Lee / Flickr

#5 San Juan Skyway If you're looking to get off the slopes and out of the town for a day, hit the road on the San Juan Skyway. This free historic byway, which ... Read more » Brian Welker / EyeEm / Getty Images

#6 Telluride Historical Museum Housed in the town's former hospital, the Telluride Historical Museum recounts the area's exciting history, from its gold-mining days to the development of the world-renowned Telluride Ski Resort ... Read more » Jonas Forth / Flickr

#7 Ophir Pass Located just east of the adjacent town of Ophir (about 15 miles southeast of Telluride), this dirt road is a prime spot for off-roading. The path stretches nearly 10 miles ... Read more » kwiktor / Getty Images

Telluride Ski Resort picture in Telluride
Mountain Village picture in Telluride
Hiking picture in Telluride
Town Park picture in Telluride
San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
Telluride Historical Museum picture in Telluride
Ophir Pass picture in Telluride
Telluride Ski Resort picture in Telluride
Mountain Village picture in Telluride
Hiking picture in Telluride
Town Park picture in Telluride
San Juan Skyway picture in Telluride
Telluride Historical Museum picture in Telluride
Ophir Pass picture in Telluride

Telluride Ski Resort offers 2,000-plus acres of skiable terrain. DOUGBERRY / Getty Images

Mountain Village is home to a variety of shops and eateries, making it the perfect place to relax after a day on the slopes. Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

Telluride boasts dozens of hiking trails, most of which are best explored during the summer months. kmaassrock / Getty Images

Visitors will find a kids fishing pond (pictured), a Frisbee golf course, an outdoor pool and more at the 36-acre Town Park. Rob Lee / Flickr

Hit the road on the San Juan Skyway to see the sights in southwestern Colorado. Brian Welker / EyeEm / Getty Images

Located inside the building that once housed Telluride's hospital, this museum features a variety of artifacts detailing the region's history. Jonas Forth / Flickr

Located about 15 miles southeast of Telluride, Ophir Pass (a four-wheel drive trail) offers picturesque views of the San Juan Mountains and its namesake town. kwiktor / Getty Images

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