The drive from Durango to Ouray is undoubtedly 1 of the most scenic drives we have been on. The 25 miles between Silverton and Ouray is known as the Million Dollar Highway, and it certainly offers million-dollar views.
Built in the 1920s, this stretch of highway is an engineering feat in any era. While some say the name is from the views, others claim that the road cost a million dollars per mile to build, and others claim the name is from the amount of unmined gold underneath the road. Regardless of why it is called the Million Dollar Highway, it is most definitely worth the trip.
Weaving through mountains, the mining history in the area is evident. There are old mining operations scattered across the mountains, and it is incredible to think of what the area was like in its heyday when operations were going full tilt.
While beautiful, this stretch of highway is a little disconcerting as there are no guardrails and the drop-offs can be intense. Thankfully, Will knows I am not terribly fond of heights, and we were not in any sort of rush, so we took our time. Given some of the roads we have traveled during our adventure, this was not the most terrifying, but I can certainly understand how it could be in different weather or with more traffic.
We did not have much in mind for our short day trip to Ouray, but I had scoped out a playground, and we figured we would grab some lunch in town before making our way back to Durango. On our way up, we stopped at a pull-off to play in some snow, and it was fun not having a plan or agenda.
Bird loves a good playground, and Fellin Park was a good fit. The playground equipment was a little dated, but there was a nice walking path around the park that Daisy loved, and we all thoroughly enjoyed watching the fish and turtles at the pond.
Since we were visiting in November, Main Street in Ouray was incredibly quiet. Many of the storefronts were closed for the season, and we had a little trouble finding a dog-friendly place for lunch. However, when we stumbled upon Timberline Deli, we opted to order sandwiches to go and sat at a little bench outside, just enjoying the fall day.
On our way back to Durango, we stopped at a few overlooks to soak in the incredible views and learn a little history about the road and area.
We loved our time in beautiful Ouray, and there were so many aspects of this area that we were unable to enjoy (hiking and the famous train ride to Silverton, to name a few), so I know this will be high on our list the next time we are in Durango. Regardless of how it got its name, the Million Dollar Highway absolutely makes for an amazing and unforgettable adventure.