Driving the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado

The Million Dollar Highway in Colorado takes you through Durango, Silverton, and Ouray. Part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway the Million Dollar Highway is one of best roads to drive in the US. The Million Dollar Highway will take you about 2 hours (one-way) and contains over 65 miles of beautiful roads along mountains.

What is the Million Dollar Highway?

The Million Dollar Highway is an incredible stretch of road located in Colorado. More specifically the Million Dollar Highway is a section of the San Juan Skyway that takes you between Ouray Colorado and Durango, Colorado.

You’ll find yourself on sides of mountains and enjoying incredible views as you drive the Million Dollar Highway. The stretch oh highway will take you about 2 hours to drive one-way on and is located about 6-hours from Denver.

The Million Dollar Highway on Google Maps

Tips for Driving the Million Dollar Highway

  • The road is 70 miles one way and there are gas stations alone the way in Silverton, Durango and Ouray but it’s worth fueling up before driving the road so you won’t have to stop.
  • Make sure to be up to date on the current weather conditions since parts of the road could be closed. There are also Colorado highway cams you can check to see current conditions.
  • There is a paid audio tour if you want to learn about the history while on your drive.

What You’ll See on the Million Dollar Highway

Along the way you’ll see plenty of old gold mines, beautiful mountain views, and lots of curvy steep roads. If you’re looking for a day trip or taking a road trip through Colorado the Million Dollar Highway is well worth the trip.

Old mine on the hills (taken from a drone)

The route I took for the drive started in Durango and headed up to Ouray. About 15 miles from Durango you’ll enter the San Juan National Forest where the views really start to get stunning.

San Juan National Forest sign

You’ll see plenty of areas to pull off to take photos as you drive though the forest. It was hard for me not to stop at every one! One of the largest overlooks on the route is Molas Overlook.

View of Molas lake from Molas Overlook

As you head through Molas Pass and its overlook you’ll have sweeping 360 views of mountains. As you head through the National Forest you’ll make your way to Silverton.

Silverton, Colorado

Probably the most popular stretch of the highway is the area between Ouray and Silverton. Along the route you’ll see plenty of abandoned mining buildings like the Larson Bros Mine.

One of my favorite areas was the curvy road in the Hendrick Gulch near Crystal Lake. If you have a drone you’ll want to pull over before and photography the road.

As you get near Ouray you’ll pass over Bear Creek Falls which also an overlook so you can view the falls. This overlook provides a stunning view of the Abrams Mountain.

At the other end of the Million Dollar Highway you’ll find Ouray. Also known as Switzerland of America which has plenty of stunning peaks around the city.

Switzerland of America sign

Ouray has a couple of cute stores and a brewery you can stop at when you’re at the end of the highway. Plus there are plenty of overlooks to see the city and enjoy the views.

Ouray, Colorado (drone aerial)

No matter if you start in Silverton, Durango, or Ouray the Million Dollar Highway is well worth doing. Durango and Ouray offer plenty of restaurants and shops to take a break if you plan on making a day trip on the highway. If you’re anywhere in the area driving the Million Dollar Highway is well worth it. If you have more time you can do the full San Juan Skyway but the loop takes several hours.

Why Do They Call It the Million Dollar Highway?

The road is dubbed the The Million Dollar Highway because of its cost to build, gold ore on the route, and million dollar views of the San Juan mountains.

Million Dollar Highway Photos

Here are more pictures of the Million Dollar Highway. Including plenty of drone aerial photos from the drive.

I hope you enjoyed my snowy trip to the Million Dollar Highway.

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