Amazing views and a thrilling ride await on the San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway is regarded as one of the most beautiful and most dangerous roads in America. The stretch of the skyway that includes Durango, Silverton and Ouray is known as the Million Dollar Highway. Depending on who you ask, it earned its name because of its million-dollar views, it cost a million dollars to build, or they wouldn’t drive on that road again for a million dollars (due to its rugged twists and turns, and lack of a guardrail).
The Million Dollar Highway is a breathtaking journey, because of the continuous stunning scenery and the elevation gain. During the autumn months sections of the road are canopied by vibrant red oak trees and golden aspens. The highway also features waterfalls spouting from adjacent cliffsides, mountain goats scaling jagged edges, and epic versant views.
One of the must-see stops along the route is the town of Durango. This historic old west locale is an outdoor enthusiast haven. The Animas River runs through town, churning everything from lazy-river level rapids to Class 5. Within the city limits there are also hundreds of miles of single-track mountain biking trails, with outfitters near most trailheads ready with rentals or tune-ups. Additionally, the Purgatory Resort is just a 20-minute drive from downtown and features year-round adventure from skiing in the winter to alpine sliding in the summer.
If you are not keen on driving the twists and turns of the Million Dollar Highway, Durango also offers a different, more old school, mode of transportation– the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This steam-powered locomotive dates back to the early 1800s, where it was used to transport silver and gold ore. Today the train transports passengers to and from Silverton, along the river, through mountain vistas and beside rushing waterfalls. It’s a unique and awe-inspiring way to experience the region without having to focus on the road ahead.
Similar to most Colorado mountain towns, Durango is also no stranger to the craft beer scene. Local and national favorites Ska Brewing, Carver, and Steamworks grace the city with rooftop seating and expansive patios, perfect for the post-adventure lounge.
Make Durango your next mountain escape. Make new memories in an old west town.