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Million Dollar Highway

Seattle
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
Million Dollar Highway

Due to time constraints was planning on making a day of it traveling from Mesa Verde to Durango/Silverton/Ouray and then back down to Durango and on to Pagosa Springs.

Is it reasonable to do this trip in a day?

Will we be missing very much if we do not continue on Hwy 550 going North. Our final destination is Denver and we now plan on taking Hwy 160 from Pagosa to Denver.

Any and all suggestions/comments are welcomed.

cheers

Pagosa Springs...
Destination Expert
for Durango, Pagosa Springs
Level Contributor
433 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: Million Dollar Highway

It would be about 5-6 hours of driving, without stops. But, a gorgeous drive! And, if you are staying in Pagosa Springs, there will be hot springs waiting for you after a long day in the car. If you are willing to drive, it is well worth it.

Another option from Cortez, you can take hwy 145 north to Telluride, hwy 62 to hwy 550 into Ouray and along the Million Dollar Highway (hwy 550) to Silverton and Durango and hwy 160 on to Pagosa. This route allows you to see more without having to backtrack.

Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
Level Contributor
13,180 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: Million Dollar Highway

I agree that the route listed above would be a better option. The scenery is spectacular.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,459 posts
178 reviews
3. Re: Million Dollar Highway

I agree, go around through Telluride>Ridgway>Ouray>Silverton>Durango.

As far as the route on to Denver and what you would miss...it's a difficult choice, as both 160 and other routes are very scenic. 160 to South Fork and then the Silver Thread Scenic Byway back to 50 is also very scenic. One of my favorite routes is to Montrose (Black Canyon), then to Redstone>Carbondale>Glenwood, or Carbondale>Aspen (Maroon Bells)>Independence Pass>Leadville. Or Montrose (again, Black Canyon can be a two hour side trip if short on time) then 50 east to Poncha Springs, 24 to Buena Vista (side trip up Chalk Creek Canyon to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and St. Elmo ghost town) and then either through Breckenridge or Leadville to connect to I70. There aren't any wrong choices!

Seattle
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
4. Re: Million Dollar Highway

Assuming I can take a rental car over this route? Read about some "hummer" only routes :)

Seattle
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
5. Re: Million Dollar Highway

Assuming I can take a rental car over this route? Read about some "hummer" only routes :)

Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
Level Contributor
13,180 posts
45 reviews
6. Re: Million Dollar Highway

Yes, these are regular paved roads like you would find anywhere.

Seattle
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
7. Re: Million Dollar Highway

Thanks for the info and have a GREAT DAY!

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,459 posts
178 reviews
8. Re: Million Dollar Highway

They are paved state highways, mostly two lanes and can be travelled in a rental car easily except in bad weather. The section between Durango and Ouray has some steep dropoff areas with very little road shoulder, some without the visual security of guard rails, so parts of that section can be intimidating for those who are nervous about heights, and the driver should definitely plan on keeping his/her eyes on the road! If not familiar with mountain driving it'd be a good idea to brush up on that.

9. Re: Million Dollar Highway

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