San Juan Skyway – Telluride

SH 145 from Placerville to Durango

Tomboy Ghost Town - Telluride
Tomboy Ghost Town – Telluride

Telluride is a National Historic District located in a box canyon surrounded by towering peaks. Telluride also hosts music, art, film, food, balloon, hang gliding, mushroom, and photography events and festivals.


  • WaterfallsBridal Veil Falls is a must see.
  • FlowersWildflowers in Gold King Basin
  • Fall ColorsFall foliage on Last Dollar, Silver Pick, and Ophir Pass

SH 145 North

From Telluride to Placerville America's BywayScenic BywayNational Forest Byway

Mt Wilson from the Silver Pick Road near Telluride, Colorado.
Mt Wilson – Silver Pick Rd

How to get there:

From Denver via US 285 to US 50 to US 550 to SH 62 to SH 145(Colo. Ave)/Aspen St in Telluride.

  • From US285/C470 to Telluride
  • 312 miles 6 hr 30 mins
  • GPS
  • SH 145/Aspen St
  • 37.9379 -107.8138

In General:CampgroundFishing AvailableKayaking Available

  • Length: 16 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 30 mins

The highway winds its way along the San Miguel River to SH62 just west of Placerville.

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Bridal Veil Falls

Highest Falls in Colorado.

Bridal Veil Falls near Telluride from the Imogene Pass Road, Colorado
300Bridal Veil Falls from the Imogene Pass Rd

How to get there:

From SH 145 (Colorado Ave) and Aspen St in Telluride, drive east 3.8 miles to the parking area at the base of the Falls.

  • From Aspen St to the Falls
  • 4 miles 15 mins
  • GPS
  • Parking Area
  • 37.9202 -107.7706

In General:

Primarily pavement, the last mile is a portion of the Black Bear Pass Rd, a difficult and dangerous 4wd road, and includes a couple of steep and sharp switchbacks. Most passenger vehicles can reach the Falls, high clearance would be desirable.

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Last Dollar Road

From Telluride to SH 62.

Field of sunflowers on the Last Dollar Road near Telluride, Colorado.

How to get there:

From SH145 (Colo. Ave) and Aspen St in Telluride, drive west about 3 miles and turn north towards the airport.

  • From Aspen St to Airport Rd
  • 3.2 miles 5 mins
  • GPS
  • SH145/Airport Rd
  • 37.9507 -107.8682

In General:ATVs Allowed - Check Regulations4wd high clearance vehicle requiredCampground

  • Length: 21 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hrs 30 mins

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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.

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Alta Lakes | Gold King Basin

Ghost town of Alta and three lakes.

The Lizard Head formation from the Alta Lakes Road near Telluride, Colorado.
Lizard Head Mtn – Alta Lakes Rd

How to get there:

From SH 145/SH 145 S, drive 5.3 mi south to the Alta Lakes Rd and turn east.

  • From Telluride
  • 9 miles 20 mins
  • GPS
  • SH 145/FR 632
  • 37.8839 -107.8883

In General:4wd high clearance vehicle requiredCampgroundFishing Available

  • Length: 5 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 30 mins

This slightly rough, but easy 4wd road leads to the 1870s mining town of Alta (on the National Register of Historic Places) in 3.8 miles. Another 0.4 miles takes you to a spur road into the Gold King Basin and the Alta Lakes are just 0.3 miles beyond the spur.

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Mesa Verde National Park

600 cliff dwellings. National Park

The Cliff Palace cliff dwell at Mesa Verde National Park.

How to get there:

The park is located in the southwest corner of the state and, from Denver, is reached via US-285 and US-160.

  • From US285/C470 to Fee Station
  • 353 miles 7 hours
  • GPS
  • Fee Station
  • 37.3317 -108.4158

In General:

Summer entrance fee is $20 per vehicle

Mesa Verde offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.

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