Legend has it that the 25-mile stretch of U.S. 550 between Ouray and Silverton is named the Million Dollar Highway because it cost a million dollars per mile to build. Or maybe it’s because there’s a million dollars worth of gold ore in each mile of its fill dirt. Even if the legends aren’t true, once you take a trip on this incredible stretch of road, you’ll agree that the views alone are worth a million bucks.

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Million Dollar Highway - @_the_road_explorer_ Photo Credit @ouraybyflight (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Part of the Million Dollar Highway from above. Photo Credit: Mike Boruta; OuraybyFlight.com.

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You’ll go over three mountain passes between Ouray and Silverton: Coal Bank Pass, topping out at 10,640 feet, Molas Pass with an elevation of 10,970 feet at its height, and Red Mountain Pass, which reaches 11,018 feet.

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Don’t miss stopping at Molas Lake. You’re going to want to snap a few pictures at this stunning destination.

Red Mountain Pass is the most dangerous section of the route. Use caution as there are no shoulders, and it’s winding and narrow. Check road conditions before attempting to climb this pass as it often closes because for snow.

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Enjoy the hot springs in Ouray at either the beginning or end of your journey.

Check out this timelapse video of a drive along the Million Dollar Highway:

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