Having no solid evidence to back this up, I can confidently say that photographs of the San Juan Skyway fall colors are some of the most iconic and coveted images throughout the photography world. People who see pictures immediately add it to their bucket lists and photographers flock from around the world to shoot the landscape. And with good reason. The San Juan Skyway traverses the heart of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado forming a 232 mile (373 km) loop that is constantly touted as “America’s Most Beautiful Drive.”
I had been down to the San Juans a bunch of times in the past, but all that time was either spent in Telluride or just play between Ouray and Silverton – I had never done the full loop. So with curiosity finally getting the best of me, I hit the road, driving close to 1,000 miles in a weekend…
Last Dollar Road
Technically this isn’t part of the San Juan Skyway, but holy crap was this was an amazing sunset… (Route 145, which is part of the skyway, is in the valley below.)
Route 145 runs between Placerville (outside Telluride) to Delores to the south. This was sunrise on Lizard Head Pass, just south of Telluride.
Route 550 runs between Durango and Ridgeway, through Silverton and Ouray. This is Molas Pass, just south of Silverton.
Million Dollar Highway
Route 550 between Silverton and Ouray is known as the Million Dollar Highway, which got it’s name from it costing a million dollars a mile to build, the land may have been purchased for a million dollars, or the fill dirt used to build the highway might have contained one million dollars in gold ore. This is just south of Ouray.
Route 62 runs between Ridgeway and Placerville and across the Dallas Divide. This is the Sneffels Range from the divide.