The Million Dollar Highway offers stunning scenery

July 11, 2011 12:00 AM

Stretching between the old mining towns of Silverton and Ouray in Colorado, the 25-mile stretch of U.S. 550 known as the Million Dollar Highway is one of the most famous roads in the country - and possibly the most beautiful.

Drivers will ascend through numerous mountain passes as they travel along this route, according to Sherman's Travel. Perhaps the most famous is Red Mountain Pass, which is named after the interesting coloration of the mountains in the area. Another point of interest is Uncompahgre Gorge, which was formed by a collapsed volcano and now features several waterfalls.

Part of the thrill of the highway, however, is the way the road is laid out. It's famous for its numerous hairpin turns, some of which don't have guardrails. It's by no means dangerous, but drivers should definitely take precaution while traveling there.

There are varying theories as to how the road got its name. Some believe that it refers to the cost of paving the road, while others think it refers to the silver and gold found in the mountains. There's also a legend that a hiker, dealing with the steep hills, told people he wouldn't go back on that trail "for a million dollars." Now that cars make the journey much easier, drivers can simply enjoy the view - and come back as many times as they please.

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