Dolores, the Dolores River, and San Juan Mountains

The mountain community of Dolores lies on the San Juan Skyway, a designated scenic highway looping from Cortez, to Telluride to Durango, CO. It is a 20 minute drive from Dolores to Mesa Verde National Park. The San Juan Mountains form the southern part of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and spans the continental divide. On the western border of Colorado you’ll find one of the most remarkable river trips in the West. The Dolores River with headwaters in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado, flows for over two hundred river miles before it joins the Colorado River near Dewey Bridge above Moab, UT.

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Area Travel Planning Web Sites

Colorado Travel & Tourism: official state of Colorado website
Cortez Area Guide: Southern CO vacation & travel
Canyonlands Region: Travel Resources
San Juan County Visitor Information: SE Utah Tourism Info
Southwestern Colorado: Travel Info, Mesa Verde Country, Cortez, CO
Durango Tourism and Vacation Web Site
Dolores Chamber of Commerce Southwestern Colorado Travel Planning – 970-565-8227


Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Cortez Journal

Parks and Campgrounds

Mesa Verde National Park: Official Website
Natural Bridges National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument
Colorado Camping Guide: Colorado campground and RV guide
Colorado National Monument
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway Map


Colorado Accommodations

Places to Hike and Visit

All the Parks, National Monuments, and Recreation Areas listed above
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Colorado Guide: San Juan Mountains


Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Anasazi Heritage Center – 27501 Highway 184 Dolores, CO

Nearby Facilities and Attractions

We suggest you allow a few days before or after the CFI program to visit Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Edge of The Cedars Museum, Natural Bridges National Monument, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park.

For Additional Travel Planning

Contact the Mesa Verde Country Travel Council (800-253-1616; 970-565-8227), Dolores Visitor Center (800-807-4712), or Cortez Chamber of Commerce (970-565-3414). You may also find the National Park Service web sites helpful for Natural Bridges, Hovenweep and Mesa Verde. Once in the area, we encourage you stop by the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez, at 928 E. Main.


Canyonlands Field Institute programs use the Dolores Mountain Inn for motel orientation evenings. A wide variety of lodging is available in Dolores and the nearby towns of Cortez (close to Mesa Verde National Park), Telluride (old mining town & ski resort), Ouray (alpine scenery & hot springs), Durango (larger many amenities).  See the above web sites and travel planning phone numbers.