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San Juan Skyway

Virginia
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9 posts
1 review
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San Juan Skyway

I'm looking to drive from Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah (leaving at crack of dawn) through Colorado National Monument to Mesa Verde Nat’l Park, staying in Cortez overnight, and need suggestions for a scenic drive. This is part of a longer Canyon/Redrocks of Utah trip. I want to know if the Uncompahgre Byway is very scenic, or just a nice drive. Then after that we want to drive a part of the San Juan Skyway, but want to know which is the more scenic drive, the Mt. Wilson side of the loop or the Animas River Valley side. This trip will be done on April 22, no hiking, unless it is short (1-2hrs) and too great a hike to miss. We wanted to visit Mesa Verde and maybe do one of the short 3:00pm tours that afternoon. But if the two byways can’t be missed together we may opt for Mesa Verde on April 23. Please suggest any stops, keeping in mind we are trying to make this a short side trip from our Canyon Parks trip. We would always come back to Co. for our Rocky Mtn. trip at a later date. I've done the Animas River Valley drive and it was fantastic. Just wondering if the other side is more scenic. My girlfriend has not and has never seen the Rockies.

Thanks for any advice.

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Utah
Utah
United States
Cortez
Cortez
Colorado
San Juan Skyway
San Juan Skyway
55 Reviews
Colorado
Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
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263 reviews
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1. Re: San Juan Skyway

Wow, that is quite a lengthy drive you have planned for yourself. I would suggest you check out this website for information on the San Juan Skyway: http://www.byways.org/browse/byways/2101/

It has some print and go information that can be customized based on your interests. The 2-lane road between Ouray and

Silverton has incredibly beautiful views. Drivers should know that while this is a perfectly adequate and well-maintained

road, it is also narrow and steep, has many hairpin switchbacks and a tunnel, tremendous dropoffs with no railings or

shoulders, and few places to pass. Some curves are signed at 10 mph. There are some pullouts, particularly at scenic

vistas. You should note that Colorado State Highway 110 is restricted to 4x4 vehicles only.

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San Juan Skyway
San Juan Skyway
55 Reviews
Colorado
Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
Silverton
Silverton
Colorado
Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
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12,487 posts
42 reviews
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2. Re: San Juan Skyway

I agree that the road between Ouray and Silverton is spectacular!!! I never get tired of that route and I have done it 5 or6 times over the years. I have never taken a drive that I thought was more beautiful - anywhere! I thought it was much superior to "Going to the Sun" hwy in Glacier National Park.

Enjoy

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Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
Silverton
Silverton
Colorado
Glenwood Springs...
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473 posts
43 reviews
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3. Re: San Juan Skyway

I have to vote for the Animas River Valley. The Mt Wilson side is great and you could detour into Telluride. The road has fewer curves, hills and drop offs, so it is a less intense drive. But if it is the scenery you are after, head for the other side. Ouray is a quaint little town to stretch your legs and you have the option of taking a break in Silverton.

Hopefully your girlfriend isn't bothered by the no guardrail/dropoff thing on this road. My mother kept moving away from her door and I thought she was going to be in my lap before it was over!

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Telluride
Telluride
Colorado
Ouray
Ouray
Colorado
Silverton
Silverton
Colorado
Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
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12,487 posts
42 reviews
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4. Re: San Juan Skyway

Just don't tell her about the drop off/ guard rail issue! haha

I agree some of my passengers have been a little nervous, but the view is worth is and I have never felt unsafe driving it and I am female (as if that should make any difference!).

Glenwood Springs...
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473 posts
43 reviews
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5. Re: San Juan Skyway

The drive never bother me either (I'm also female), but the spastic passanger was a little distracting. Just don't offer to pull closer to the shoulder so they can get a good view. They really freak when you do that:) Hope you have a great trip!