Colorado is home to tons of scenic mountain roads, but none can top the views of the San Juan Skyway. This scenic byway follows a route originally forged by railways right in the beating, rugged heart of Colorado. As you cruise from Western town to Western town, you'll weave through dense alpine forests and looming mountains, past ghost towns, ski resorts, and hot springs, and ultimately experience the almost-untameable sense of freedom that is so unique to Colorado. Camping out in an RV lets you get an extra dose of the state's fresh, clear mountain air and natural beauty!
Start your adventure in Durango. This town has deep roots in the Wild West, and you can really get a sense for its past in historic downtown Durango. The Victorian architecture and sidewalks lined with cute street lamps add a certain air to the district, and the old buildings now house cool coffee shops, upscale eateries, fun boutiques, and tons of other awesome businesses worth checking out. For totally fun old-school vibes, head to the Diamond Belle Saloon. Located inside the historic Strater Hotel, the Diamond Belle features live ragtime, costumed servers, and all of the furnishings you'd expect to find in a rowdy saloon. They even have mock gunfight performances during the summer!
The Durango Riverside Resort & RV Park is a great place to set up your home base if you're camping out in an RV (or a tent) but still want to explore the Million Dollar Highway on your motorcycle. The park has a pool, free Wifi, laundry, an ice cream shop, a cozy and rustic lodge, riverside campsites, and a deck that offers utterly stunning views of the wild Animas River. It really is a slice of Colorado paradise that highlights the best of the region.
If you're looking to adventure through some of that natural beauty on foot, head for the San Juan National Forest. It's 1.8 million acres of mountain beauty, all covered in sweeping pine trees. For an easy hike, try the Spud Lake Trail or Stony Pass. Highland Mary Lake and Crater Lake Trail are a little more challenging, but wherever you hike, you'll find that seeing the crystal clear mountain lakes hidden in lush, forested valleys is incredibly peaceful.
The part of the San Juan Skyway known as the Million Dollar Highway is a famously beautiful stretch of mountain road, especially if you're on a motorcycle, although RVs can travel on it. It's a winding bit of road through the Uncompahgre Gorge all the way to the top of Red Mountain Pass. If you ride the route from south to north, you'll be hugging the side of the mountains, while the north to south stretch offers sweeping views. Some claim the road got its name from the fact that it cost nearly a million dollars to build, while other speculate that a million dollars worth of ore was dug up during the highway's construction, but whatever the truth it, there's no denying that the views are priceless.
Just off the Skyway is the Ouray Box Canyon Waterfall. This park preserves a bit of canyon that has a lush waterfall, some nice short hikes, including a nice one up some stairs through the canyon to the bridge above the falls. It's also pretty close to Ouray Hot Springs, if you're looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the mountain beauty.
As you reach Telluride, you'll pass by another waterfall... the 365-foot Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado's tallest free-falling waterfall. If you've got a car that can handle the rugged road out to the falls, then you can hike from Bridal Veil up to Ajax Peak or Blue Lake, otherwise, it's an almost 2-mile hike from the Valley View parking lot. It's at its most epic in the spring, when the snow is melting, so definitely don't miss it if you're in the area around then.
Colorado is a place of incredible beauty. Whether you're enjoying the local culture in Durango or hiking through the San Juan Forest, or even simply cruising from town to town on the Skyway, every square inch of this corner of the state is worth exploring. The views are exhilarating, and as you camp out in the natural surroundings here, you'll feel rejuvenated and at peace with nature again. Thor Industries can outfit you with an RV that will make you feel like you can handle any curve the road throws at you on your San Juan Skyway adventure.