Home > Traveling > Ouray, Silverton, and Million $$ highway

Ouray, Silverton, and Million $$ highway


Ouray is an old (1870’s) Colorado mining town turned tourist town. Often called America’s Switzerland, it is located high in the mountains. Although it still has an active mine, most city revenues come from tourists. There are many cute and interesting cafes, restaurants and hotels in town.  We’ve sampled a few….

Likewise, Silverton owes its origins to silver mining. And, like Ouray, it exists today mainly due to tourists. This is helped because it is the end of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, which still uses steam locomotives and old rolling stock.  The train ride, starting in Durango, is a magnificent scenic tour of the Colorado high mountains.  Silverton’s entire downtown is registered as a National Historic Landmark.

To get from Silverton to Ouray, you have to take the “Million Dollar Highway”, so named because legend has it that cost a million dollars per mile to build. Another legend says that over a million dollars of gold is in the fill dirt used to construct it. In any case, better not be afraid of heights, because the road is narrow,with steep dropoffs, and many sharp curves, But it is a beautiful drive.

To get to Silverton, you have to cross several passes

To get to Silverton, you have to cross several passes

A view descending into Silverton

A view descending into Silverton

Downtown Silverton

Downtown Silverton

Yep, curvy road and big dropoffs!

Yep, curvy road and big dropoffs!

Downtown Ouray

Downtown Ouray

Hotel in Ouray

Hotel in Ouray

Water fall from way up high

Water fall from way up high

Mountains surrounding Ouray

Mountains surrounding Ouray

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