US 550 - Million Dollar Highway
North of Ouray, US 550 runs to Montrose. Ouray sits at the base of the mountain pass. North of town you enter a broad valley that continues to Montrose. The small town of Ridgeway lies between the larger towns at the significant junction with CO 62.
The Million Dollar Highway is the section of US 550 from Ouray to Silverton, so called due to the numerous gold and silver mines at it's highest points. From Ouray, the road climbs quickly through switchbacks as you leave town. There are a couple nice overlooks worth a stop to take in the grand views of the canyon you're about to enter. There's a small tunnel then you'll find yourself clinging to the two lane road perched on the edge of thousand foot drops with no guardrails. The road climbs along the slopes of the huge mountains, occasional glimpses of the rushing river below. Expect construction and short delays, they are always working on this road. Reaching some switchbacks near the top of Red Mountain you'll pass a scenic mine then roll out across the top of the pass. The road then winds the long way down to Silverton through wonderful curves high above the valleys below.
South of Silverton US 550 climbs again through curves and switchbacks to reach Molas Pass then makes a gradual winding descent through the broad wooded valley on the way to Durango.
Clips from motorcycle riding on US 550 - The Million Dollar Highway in Colorado.