If you’re looking for Colorado road trip ideas, look no further. The Durango, CO, to Telluride, CO, journey is one of the most scenic drives in Colorado. You’ll see some of the most significant archaeological sites and breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. Exceptional Stays put together this guide on how to make the most of your road trip.
The 5 Best Stops During the Durango to Telluride Drive
- Enjoy One of the Most Scenic Drives in Colorado
The trip from Durango to Telluride travels along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Road. This is one of the most scenic and thrilling drives in the United States! Take in the views of the Wild West and breathtaking landscapes. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation classifies The San Juan Skyway as an All-American Road. A byway must have two nationally significant qualities and one unique feature you can’t find anywhere else in the world to receive this classification.
- Stop at the Cortez Cultural Center From Durango to Telluride
The Cortez Cultural Center is a great place to stop along your drive from Durango to Telluride. Learn from this center’s wealth of knowledge in archaeology and Native American culture. The center is in a historic building from the turn of the 20th century.
- Check Out a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mesa Verde National Park is 8 miles from Cortez and offers a thrilling glimpse into the past. This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many well-preserved prehistoric Pueblo Indian dwelling sites. This park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the Mexican Spotted Owl. The Audubon Society has named this park a Colorado Important Bird Area (IBA). The Nature Conservancy and Colorado Natural Heritage Program have included this park in their Network of Conservation Areas (NCA) because of how many rare species of plants and animals call Mesa Verde National Park home.
- See the Largest Concentration of Known Archaeological Sites
Immerse yourself in the country’s largest known concentration of archaeological sites at the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Explore over 8,300 sites filled with villages, cliff dwellings, field houses, kivas, and petroglyphs. For at least 10,000 years, this site has been inhabited by humans, such as Ancestral Puebloan cultures.
- Take a Hot Springs Break From the Durango to Telluride Drive
Stop at the Pinkerton Hot Springs on your way from Durango to Telluride. This is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs. Take an Instagram–worthy photo while you’re checking out these hot springs!