Skip to main content
Header image

Colorado’s San Juan Skyway

865.1 miles: 17 hours, 11 minutes

When it comes to breathtaking vistas and opportunities for invigorating outdoor recreation, Colorado is an embarrassment of riches—and the Centennial State’s southwestern quadrant is no exception. If you want jaw-dropping mountain views and loads of Old West atmosphere, drive the 232-mile San Juan Skyway, an incredibly scenic, triangular-shaped loop.


Denver to Grand Junction

246.6 miles: 4 hours, 11 minutes

The views are awesome along I-70 all the way to Grand Junction, and elevation increases to a whopping 11,000 feet above sea level at the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, the highest point on the nation’s Interstate highway network. Take a break from driving en route and stroll around the très quaint ski resort of Vail, all gussied up like a classic Bavarian village.


Grand Junction to Cortez

211.8 miles: 4 hours, 24 minutes

Between Ridgway and Cortez the route winds through the Uncompahgre National Forest, a spectacularly scenic—and rugged—region where many peaks exceed 13,000 feet. Take the access road to Telluride; this small town, surrounded by the lofty San Juan Mountains, has a wild and woolly history and a view of two-pronged Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado’s highest waterfall.


Cortez to Montrose

159.6 miles: 3 hours, 37 minutes

Between Silverton and Ouray US 550 negotiates the dizzyingly deep Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass in a series of hairpin “S” curves. The views are stupendous, but the very mountainous terrain makes for challenging driving conditions; motorists must be well-versed in the navigation strategies necessary for safe maneuvering on mountain roads.


Montrose to Colorado Springs

247.1 miles: 4 hours, 58 minutes

Getty Images

On the way to Colorado Springs US 50 passes through Curecanti National Recreation Area, where rugged canyons and sapphire lakes provide numerous stunning photo ops. Near the junction with US 285 the highway crests 11,312-foot-high Monarch Pass in a hair-raising series of cliff-edge switchbacks, with magnificent squadrons of snow-clad peaks in the distance.


Travel Like an Expert with AAA and Trip Canvas

Get Ideas from the Pros

As one of the largest travel agencies in North America, we have a wealth of recommendations to share! Browse our articles and videos for inspiration, or dive right in with preplanned AAA Road Trips, cruises and vacation tours.

Build and Research Your Options

Save and organize every aspect of your trip including cruises, hotels, activities, transportation and more. Book hotels confidently using our AAA Diamond Designations and verified reviews.

Book Everything in One Place

From cruises to day tours, buy all parts of your vacation in one transaction, or work with our nationwide network of AAA Travel Agents to secure the trip of your dreams!