AAA Editor Notes
Million Dollar Highway is a name often given to all of US 550 s. from Ouray to Silverton, but it technically applies only to the 12-mile section south of Ouray that follows Otto Mears’ original toll road to Red Mountain Pass. Ranked among the nation’s most spectacular automobile routes, it features chasms so deep that neither cliff tops nor canyon bottoms are visible on either side. Bear Creek Falls cascades under the highway into the canyon below and can be viewed from one of the many scenic overlooks along the road.
A few miles from Ouray, a backward look from the portal of a tunnel provides a magnificent view of pyramidal Mount Abrams. Whether the “million dollar” label refers to the cost of rebuilding the road, to the value of the gold in the mine tailings or to the views is uncertain.
Note: Drivers unfamiliar with mountain roads should use caution.