Explore the best Scenic Drives in Durango. Taking a drive is all about the excitement of exploration with ease. These scenic byways, or backways, coast above and beyond Durango’s breathtaking view. Winding along any of these roads allows eyewitnesses to stay seated or get out and examine the views, rivers, and monuments for themselves. Check out these scenic drives for those with a little or a lot of time to commute.
Best All Day Scenic Drive In Durango
Best All Day Route
San Juan Scenic Skyway
This day trip is around 230 miles and hits every one of southwest Colorado’s prettiest mountain towns. Along the way you’ll ride the highs and lows of the Rocky Mountains on the San Juan Skyway into Silverton and the Million Dollar Highway into Ouray. Then take a detour into Telluride with plenty of underrated alpine townships in between. Just driving this loop takes about 5 hours, so start in the morning and have an excellent excuse to dine at each amazing stop along the way. See the directions for this loop here.
Best Sunset Cruise In Durango
Sunsets in the Southwest are absolute masterpieces due to its clean, dry atmosphere and scattered downy clouds. When heading out of Durango toward New Mexico, the highway rides a southern mesa into Little Crow Canyon along the Animas River. Pull onto any of the farming roads to stop and admire a sky drenched in rainbow realness. From Durango, head south on Camino del Rio, turn right at Farmington Hill onto US-550 South. To make the drive a loop, turn right onto CO road 213 in Bondad, which is about 5 minutes from the state line. Total cruise time is about an hour.
Best Sunset Cruise
Best Short Drive In Durango
Best Short Drive
Take this hour-long round trip to the charming town of Vallecito. The drive around the lake is decorated with ritzy lodges and log cabins nestled beneath 360 degrees of soaring peaks covered in rich forest. Take Florida road out Durango then turn left onto CO road 501, then take CO road 603 at Middle Mountain Campground to keep going around the lake and back to 501
Best Historical Drive In Durango
Just 40 minutes from Durango is one of the largest archaeological sites in North America. Hundreds of ancient palaces are scattered throughout this park where Ancient Puebloans thrived 700 years ago. Spend the cruising the various overlooks of Mesa Verde, and take a lunch or stop for one in Mancos. Head west on US-160, about 10 minutes after passing through Mancos you’ll see the exit sign for the park.