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High, Wild and Rugged: The San Juan Mountains

Arrive/Depart: Durango, CO - Book Now Book Now 888-288-5844

William Michael Norton

$4,000 (Single supplement $1,200)
9 Days/8 Nights

  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad
  • Dallas Divide
  • Mount Sneffels Wilderness
  • San Juan Skyway All-American Byway
  • San Miguel Mountains
  • Lizard Head Wilderness
  • Owl Creek Pass Road
  • Silver Thread Scenic Byway


One of the great mountain ranges in all of America, the soaring San Juans are high, wild and rugged. Although they are not well known among the general populace, this premiere destination should be high on the must-see list of any alpine connoisseur. Certain locales, such as Yankee Boy Basin, provide some of the most spectacular wildflower displays of any area in Colorado. This region is also unsurpassed in terms of the quality of its fall foliage. Indeed, James Kay, one of the foremost landscape photographers in the country, stated that, if forced to select a single area for fall foliage photography, he would choose that portion of this range located "within a 20-mile radius from Telluride" (Outdoor Photographer, October 2006, p. 63). If you decide to book this tour, you are in for a real treat!

Durango serves as the host city for this tour, which begins with a visit to Mesa Verde National Park, followed by a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, which affords access to the rugged Animas River gorge. If arrangements can be made, jeep tours to Yankee Boy Basin and/or the Alpine Loop will also be available. Traveling counterclockwise on the San Juan Skyway, the awe-inspiring skyline of the Sneffels Range will be your constant companion for the better part of two days. Back roads emanating from the Dallas Divide area will provide an intimate and leisurely exploration of the terrain surrounding Mt. Sneffels, one of the most majestic peaks in the Colorado Rockies. As you travel south from Telluride, on your return to Durango, you will be treated to another visual feast, the San Miguel Mountains and Lizard Head Wilderness off to the west. Subsequent excursions on the Owl Creek Pass and Silver Thread Highways provide access to less-frequented sectors of this range, most notably areas to the south and east of regions traversed by the San Juan Skyway. The Silver Thread Scenic Byway affords views of areas within the Uncompahgre and Weminuche Wildernesses.