Approaching Ouray - Ouray Hilites -2015
An unencumbered, standing view from the back of the tour vehicle
Million Dollar Hwy 550 -if only we could have driven this hwy all the way to Durango (Marilyn was chicken) 2015
The route demands 100% concentration. This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers. Coming out of Silverton north there are several switchbacks. The 12 miles south of Ouray—particularly for Durango-bound drivers, who are exposed to the unprotected cliffsides—are steep, twisting and completely unforgiving of driver error. Originally hand-carved by Russian immigrant Otto Mears in the 1880s, to transport ore from Silverton to the railroad in Ouray, the modern highway remains open through the slip-and-slide snowy months. The original route was widened in the 1930's but was still dangerous and narrow. As the locals say, though, you'd have to "pay me a million dollars" to drive that stretch in the snow. Understandably so.
The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Offering breathtaking mountain, valley and gorge views, the Million Dollar Highway is one of the most beloved roads in the country. This classic stretch of two-lane blacktop snakes its way through the San Juan Mountains, the wildest and most rugged peaks in the Rockies. It boasts North America's highest avalanche hazard (per mile).