The shortest route between Durango and Ouray traverses the "Million Dollar Highway", a 25 mile stretch of steep and potentially hazardous road between Silverton and Ouray. The entire drive would go over several mountain passes over 10,000 feet so we knew we were in for a lot of climbing and descending.
Researching the drive we heard everything from "You're crazy to drive that with the trailer" to "It's not a big deal at all, especially going North". Hans was feeling confident, after all semi's drive it all the time, so drive it we did. And even though we were a little nervous (who wouldn't be with all that build up!) it wasn't that bad at all. We were also fortunate to have road construction on two parts of the drive, so we had to follow a pilot vehicle where we had almost two whole lanes to ourselves during some curvy downhill sections.
|While stopped waiting for a pilot vehicle we were able to get out for a few minutes|
to get this shot of campers by Lake Molas.
|Dropping into Silverton.|
|Silverton is a cute, historic mining town.|
The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad stops here several times a day.
|Ready for an off road tour???|
|Many of the hillsides around Silverton are tinged red and show evidence of|
the mining history of the area.
|Looking back down canyon as we climb away from Silverton.|
Lots of historic mining debris and buildings can be seen along the highway.
|Near the top of the pass we waited again for a pilot vehicle to lead us down hill for several miles.|
Turns out we got to use the whole highway as we negotiated these hairpin turns!
|Lots of these hairpin turn signs going down this canyon!|
|Odd looking tunnel.|
|A look down canyon, with the road hugging the canyon wall.|
Ouray is somewhere beyond our sight.
|Yeah, we were glad to be next to mountainside,|
there were some incredibly steep drop offs on the South-bound side of the road!
|This tunnel was 13'9" tall...only one foot taller than us.|
|Hwy 550 took us right through the middle of downtown Ouray.|
Called the "Switzerland of America", Ouray is nestled among towering mountains.
We're settled into a site on the edge of the Umcompahgre River at 4J+1+1 RV Park, within walking distance of everything in town. The sound and fascination of the rushing river right outside our door tempers the proximity of our neighbors. This looks like a great place to spend the next two weeks!
|That's the rear of our trailer practically hanging over the river!|
What a beautiful drive! For once, construction is a welcoming sight! Glad you made it safely. Great driving job, Hans!!ReplyDelete
I love your photo with the rear of the trailer over the water. Enjoy!
Greetings- We just bought our second RV and plan to keep it busy over the next few years, so I've become serious about finding RV blogs and came across yours - I was stuck by the similar shots we took of the trip to Ouray (http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.com/2012/09/go-west-old-man-ouray-co-2012.html). We are headed out that way again this fall and your journeys and campground reviews will be very helpful to us. if you have other blogs you would recommend, I'd appreciate a link - my email is on my blog.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading! I was so focused on taking pics during the drive I didn't have time to be worried! There are lots of good RV blogs out there...a bunch are listed on our sidebar.Delete
Happy travels to you!
Glad you took the Millian Dollar Highway. You are now if my favorite part of Colorado - fun and funky towns great hiking and camping, and for me the most beautiful part of Colorado - Enjoy!!ReplyDelete
I think I remember you two really enjoying Ridgway State Park, we will make sure to check it out while we are here.Delete
It's been a few years since we've driven the Million Dollar Highway and I do remember thinking it was a tad dicey at times....beautiful though. We hope to take our time and explore Ouray and the surrounding area a bit more at the end of July beginning of August. So I look forward to your posts on the area.ReplyDelete
You should have an abundance of flowers during high altitude hikes by that time...we are a little early for them right now.Delete
You are going to love the hiking there! And I'm sure Mark and Bobbie will tell you about the cookies.ReplyDelete
Jim, I'm Boycotting the Scrap Cookies, they went up to 3 bucks each!!!!Delete
But, if someone was to buy one for me, I would be gracious, put principle aside, and eat it. HINT HINT :)
Box Canyon Mark, from Lovely Ouray Colorado
$3 cookies! They better be darn good at that rate! I'll have to see these things and try to recreate them myself... :-)Delete
I was reading your blog on the phone as we traveled so the pictures weren't very large. I am now looking at your photos with some size. Your odd tunnel is a snow shed. We had one coming across the pass on 160 but ours had a sign. It was built there so the snow that comes down the side of the mountain doesn't land on the road, it slides over it. Very clever.ReplyDelete
Ahhhh, it looked like it was there for that purpose, but looking at the hillside I couldn't see why that particular location was the only location that warranted a platform to guide the snow!Delete
You should meet Box Canyon Blog Mark Johnson (above comment); he's impressive. He's an Ouray resident.ReplyDelete
:-) We have already made the connection and will hit the trail together during our stay! It's so good to meet other hikers ont he road!Delete
I see you already got in touch w/ Box Canyon Blog (was going to be my recommendation too) so you'll probably get to see some of the Ouray backroads that we've never seen.ReplyDelete
LOVE that area. We stayed there 2 years ago and did a lovely hike out to Blue Lakes in the Mt Sneffels Wilderness. AWESOME!
We did that hike today!Delete
Looks like an awesome spot to camp, right on the river.ReplyDelete
How did Hans like driving the Million Dollar Highway??
We felt that it was much easier than the hype that preceded it! We traveled during the best possible conditions and in the best direction. If you were to travel it with the motorhome you might feel more comfortable driving the toad separately.Delete