SH 145 South

From Telluride to Durango America's BywayScenic BywayNational Forest Byway

Fall colors and Sunshine Mtn from Ophir Pass.
Fall colors from Ophir Pass

How to get there:

From Aspen St in Telluride, drive west 3.4 miles to the junction of SH145 S.

  • From US285/C470 to Telluride
  • 312 miles 6 hr 30 mins
  • GPS
  • SH145/SH145 S
  • 37.9505 -107.8712

In General:

The All American Road is the highest designation, given by the US DOT and was awarded to the San Juan Skyway because of the rich experience in culture, archaeology, history, scenery, and recreation the road offers to visitors. This skyway was one of the first six roads in the United States to receive this designation.

Photo Ops:

Mile 5.3 – Alta Lakes/Gold King Basin Rd WaterfallsScenic vistasHiking

Great summer wildflowers.

Mile 7.3 – Ophir Pass Rd ATVs Allowed - Check Regulations4wd high clearance vehicle requiredHikingCampgroundScenic vistasFall ColorsFlowersWildlife

Great fall foliage and vistas. See the Ouray > Ophir Pass Rd above.

Mile 12 – Lizard Head Pass HikingHorseback RidingNordic SkiingScenic vistasFall ColorsFlowers

10222 ft. Great vistas. Access to the Lizard Head Wilderness via the Lizard Head Trail. Camping at nearby Priest Lakes CG and Matterhorn CG.

The old railroad grade on the east side of the scenic Trout Lake is groomed for approximately 4.9 km (one way) to the top of Lizard Head Pass, providing excellent intermediate cross country skiing terrain. There’s plenty of terrain to explore on snowshoes, too. Dogs permitted.

Mile 24 – Rico Historical Site or BuildingsFishing AvailableScenic vistasFall Colors

This small mountain town has many historic buildings, some remaining from the mining boom of the 1880’s. A Rio Grande Southern water tank that still stands along the well-preserved railroad grade at the original Rico depot site alongside the Dolores River. And some beehive shaped coke ovens used in the early parts of the smelting process.

Mile 62 – Dolores HikingMountain BikingHorseback RidingCampgroundFishing AvailableScenic vistasFall ColorsHistorical Site or Buildings

Anasazi Heritage Center has interactive exhibits and offers an introduction to the nearby Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Also located on the museum’s grounds are two 12th century pueblos.  These pueblos are named after the Spanish friars, Escalante and Dominguez, who traveled through the area in 1776.

Fishing in the McPhee Reservoir, Groundhog Lake, Narraguinnep and Summit Reservoirs, the Dolores and West Fork Rivers and several creeks. Wildlife is abundant in the area.

Mile 71 – Cortez Historical Site or BuildingsScenic vistas

Cortez Cultural Center contains a wealth of information on archaeology and American Indian culture. Nearby Hovenweep National Monument is located along the border between southeast Utah and southwest Colorado, just north and west of Cortez, Colorado.

Mile 79 – SH10 To Mesa Verde Ntl Park HikingHistorical Site or BuildingsVistasWildlifeFall Colors

See the Mesa Verde tab in the Southern section.

Mile 86.5 – Mancos

Chicken Creek Nordic Nordic Skiing

From US160/SH184 in Mancos, travel north on SH 184 for 2.5 miles to CR40. Turn right (north) on CR40 and continue 2.5 miles to the trailhead parking lot. 9 mi of maintained skate and classic trails with an additional 9 mi of unmaintained trails.

West Mancos Overlook/Transfer CG 4wd high clearance vehicle requiredHikingMountain BikingHorseback RidingScenic vistasWildlife

Travel 1/4 mile north on Highway 184, then turn right on West Mancos Road (Forest Road 561) and travel 10.0 miles to the overlook, another 0.5 mi to the campground. Most of the road is unpaved but has a good gravel surface. The campground has a corral for horses and is a hub for many trails in the area.

Mile 114 – Durango Mountain BikingRiver Rafting AvailableSteam Powered TrainHistorical Site or BuildingsScenic vistas

With more than 1,000 miles of trails surrounding Durango, eight bike shops and many bike events, it’s arguably the mecca of mountain biking.

The Victorian charm of downtown streets lined with restored historical landmarks creates photo ops, or for the more active types, there are guided rafting trips down the Animas River

Enjoy a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historical steam powered railroad founded in 1881 to serve the booming mining industry. This authentically restored train now carries more than 200,000 passengers annually along the Animas River through the San Juan Forest to the historic town of Silverton.

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