Home > Traveling > Million Dollar Highway, new snow

Million Dollar Highway, new snow


The name “million dollar highway” is justified by it’s extensive views.  This stretch through the gorge is challenging and potentially hazardous to drive; it is characterized by steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and a lack of guardrails; the ascent of Red Mountain Pass is marked with a number of hairpin curves used to gain elevation, and again, narrow lanes for traffic—many cut directly into the sides of mountains.

Yesterday we drove to Ouray (from Durango) and were amazed at the views.   It was enhanced with the first snow fall of the season, adding to the scenic wonders.  And also the aspen tree color changes….

The road was first constructed as a toll road in the 1880 by Otto Mears to connect several mining towns..  Now, it is a scenic wonder, but you better be prepared especially south bound…. travel south from Ouray to Silverton perches drivers on the vertiginous outside edge of the highway.  Apart from one nervous incident with an oncoming truck, it was a pleasant drive.

A pirated image, showing the road surface.

This shows the type of road.  There were worse sections, but no way to take a picture

New snow on the mountains

New snow on the mountains

Mt. Engineer, where we hiked four days ago

Mt. Engineer, where we hiked four days ago

This is where we started our hike four days ago

This is where we started our hike four days ago

Scenic vistas

Scenic vistas

Scenic vistas

Scenic vistas

Scenic vistas

Scenic vistas

Whew--- more scenic vistas

Whew— more scenic vistas

Snow covered evergreen trees

Snow covered evergreen trees

Fall colors are really starting to show

Fall colors are really starting to show

This waterfall is right in one of the sharp bends, and has an overlook to view it... scary!

This waterfall is right in one of the sharp bends, and has an overlook to look down it… scary!

Quite a waterfall, right next to the road

Quite a waterfall, right next to the road

The town of Ouray, CO

The town of Ouray, CO

Aspen trees in all their fall glory

Aspen trees in all their fall glory

My favorite scene

My favorite scene

Lake reflections

Lake reflections

Reflections and colors

Reflections and colors

Winter is right around the corner

Winter is right around the corner

  1. Beth Hayes
    September 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I have traveled that road (the Million Dollar Hwy) countless times. The first I remember was in the early 1960’s (I was a mere child), before the road was widened and paved. I remember being awed and nervous, as we were traveling southbound. Several times we had to pull over into one of the wider spots in the road (precipice side) to let the northbound traffic pass on the narrow roadway, because in many places it was not wide enough for two cars to pass. If memory serves me rightly, they were actually doing construction on the roadway that summer, and we were occasionally held up to allow work to be done. We might sit there for a half hour or so before traffic was again allowed to resume its way.

    As for the scenery, thank you for sharing the gorgeous photos. I enjoyed the scenery when I lived there as a youngster, but I believe I took it for granted. Now that I live hundreds of miles away in the flatland, I almost gasp at its beauty. My, oh my, it is spectacular.

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