10 January, 2021

Million Dollar Highway and Telluride - A Travelogue

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Here is the Day #3 itinerary of our Colorado SouthWest trip. We visited Black Canyon of Gunnison on Day#1 and #2. 

Due to Covid, we stayed in the same hotel in Montrose all 3 days to cover the places around. Hampton Inn Hotel in Montrose made sure that they followed all safety procedures for Covid. Rooms are exceptionally clean, contactless check-in available and they provided to-go complimentary breakfast as well. 

We started to Telluride from Montrose in the morning after breakfast. On the way, we made a quick stop at Dennis Weaver Memorial Park in Ridgeway. Just to see this Giant Eagle up close. This park also has river access, so you can get your feet wet and relax.

Dennis Weaver Memorial park, Ridgeway

We reached Telluride by afternoon. The drive was scenic. We took the free telluride Gondola and had lunch in the downtown area. 

Biking paths from Telluride Gondola

Bridal Veil Falls (the tallest falls in Colorado) is not far from downtown. We could see the falls and the powerhouse from the parking area but didn't have enough time to hike to the falls. This seemed to be a busy area with parking lots full. Someday, we would love to drive on the dirt road to reach Powerhouse on Jeep / 4 wheel drive. 

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride

I am not sure what these 2 blue lakes are. Seems like they got color from some mineral deposits. But, they looked cool!


Our next destination was Ouray. We had to skip Box Canyon falls on the way, as we thought we need at least 2 hrs time to explore the falls.

The US route 550 between Ouray to Silverton is known as Million Dollar Highway. It indeed gives million-dollar views!


The highway got its name as someone in a planning meeting mentioned that it will cost million dollars to construct the road between Ouray and Silverton.

The scenic drive starts after the Ouray lookout point. The first stop is Bear Creek falls which can be viewed by the parking lot.

Bear Creek Falls

Later, the road goes through several switchbacks, narrow roads without guard rails with 360-degree views of majestic mountains and valleys.

Million Dollar Highway

The Switchbacks

The next stop is Hayden lake on the highway. A beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Then, we drove through the red mountain pass.

Hayden lake

A few more views

We could capture a few more beautiful scenery before reaching Silverton. Trees were just turning yellow, it was around Sep 20th.

No Gaurd rails

The beautiful Yellows

We couldn't drive to Durango as we had to reach Montrose back by night and we don't want to risk driving the Million dollar highway without daylight.

But, If you plan a trip, stay in Telluride / Ouray so that you can explore the beautiful mountain town, Durango, as well.

By the way, While returning, we had a great Mexican meal at a local restaurant (GNAR Tacos) near Ridgeway. I highly recommend this restaurant if you love Mexican food.

Side Trip Ideas :

Even though we didn't have enough time to cover all places, I made a list of places and Side trip ideas. Hope, these are useful!

  • Telluride - Try Lost dollar road (4 wheel drive required ) and snap a picture of the mountain you see on Coors Beer bottle :-D This is also best to visit during the fall season to enjoy the fall colors.
  • Ouray - Visit Box canyon falls on the way, expect to spend 1-2 hrs.
  • Durango - If you can spend a day in Durango, catch the Durango to Silverton Narrow gauge train / hike the Animas river trail. A dip in Durango hot springs would be relaxing too. 
  • Silverton - Try the gold mine tour
On Day #4, while returning to Colorado Springs, we drove through Crested Butte and covered 2 more scenic drives. Those details will be in my next travelogue. Stay tuned.

Here is a map to book accommodation in Montrose:

Until then,

Stay safe.

Pin it for later!

Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at everydaygyaan


  1. What awe-inspiring scenery, Mahathi. Thank you for sharing this with us. I can imagine the gold hunters of the old days making their way through this difficult terrain!

  2. That's a beautiful road trip with some amazing sights. Million Dollor Highway.... what a cool story behind its name! Gorgeous pictures.

  3. Such a lovely drive this must have been. A sight for sore eyes. I miss such views. Gorgeous Pictures indeed.

  4. Such beautiful, winding roads! And, the Hayden Lake...I think I could spend the rest of my life by the lake! Such serenity! Thanks for the visual treat, Mahathi :) Loved that majestic eagle, too!


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