Driving the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado: The best things to do from Silverton to Ouray!

Planning to drive the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado? We’re sharing everything you need to know, as well as the best stops from Silverton to Ouray!

By far the highlight of our two months road tripping in Colorado was our time in the San Juan Mountains. Located in the southwestern part of Colorado, this range is home to rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and historic mining towns, making it an absolutely stunning and fun place to explore. 

And one of the best ways to see the beauty of this area, without much physical effort, is to drive the Million Dollar Highway, which is a popular drive known for its epic scenery, nerve wracking twists and turns, and interesting mining history. 

Driving the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado: Everything you need to know, safety tips, and the best stops from Silverton to Ouray

We spent an afternoon driving this road and were constantly “ooo-ing and aww-ing” around every single turn. We ended up driving this road SIX times during our time in the area and each time we noticed different things and still felt the initial giddiness that we experienced on our first drive up the road.

Watch our experience Driving the Million Dollar Highway. You can also see all of our Colorado adventures here!

In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know before driving the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado, such as where to start and end your drive, things to do along the way, if we think it’s as scary as some say, and the best time to drive the road. We hope that you enjoy this scenic roadway, as well as this region of Colorado, as much as we did! 

LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO DO IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO?

Please Leave No Trace
Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!

These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.

Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

About The Million Dollar Highway

Ouray, Colorado

The Million Dollar Highway is a 25 mile scenic drive that runs from Silverton, Colorado to Ouray, Colorado. The road is famous for its hairpin curves, drop offs and lack of guardrails, mining history, and mountain views, as it climbs 2,000 feet to its summit at Red Mountain Pass, before dropping 3,000 feet along the way to Ouray. 

The road was first built in the 1880s by Otto Mears as a narrow wagon toll road to connect the two mining towns and was rebuilt in the early 1920s to be a two lane road like it is today.

While there are many theories on why the road is called the Million Dollar Highway, no one truly knows the real reason. A couple theories state that it’s because of how much the road cost to build, the amount of gold ore that remained in the roadway’s fill, a traveler once proclaiming “I would not travel that road again for a million dollars,” or the figurative price for those amazing San Juan Mountain views.

Whatever the true reason, the name seems very fitting as you drive along it, as it’s hard to put a price on the views you’ll see along the way!  

Where is the Million Dollar Highway?

The Million Dollar Highway is located in Southwest Colorado, between the two historic mining towns of Silverton and Ouray, along US Highway 550. While US Highway 550 runs from New Mexico up to Montrose, Colorado, only the 25 mile stretch between Silverton and Ouray is considered the Million Dollar Highway. Although we can confirm that other portions of the drive, such as between Durango and Silverton, are pretty gorgeous as well.

See things to do on the drive from Durango to Silverton in our 12 Day Southwest Colorado road trip guide! (coming soon)

Depending on where you’re coming from and your mode of transportation, here are some of your options when it comes to getting to this area of Colorado to enjoy the Million Dollar Highway.

Flying to the Million Dollar Highway

If you plan on flying into Colorado to explore this area and drive the Million Dollar Highway, you have a few options when it comes to airports. 

To drive the route from South to North (Silverton to Ouray), your closest airport will be the Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO), which is a 1.5 hour very scenic drive (63 miles) to Silverton. While a small airport, it does offer nonstop flights from Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Denver on American Airlines, Delta, United, and Frontier.

To drive the route North to South (Ouray to Silverton), your closest airport will be the Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ), which is a 50 minute drive (39 miles) from Ouray. This is also a small airport, but offers nonstop flights from Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Houston, and Denver on American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. 

For a major airport option, the Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) in New Mexico is actually the closest option. This airport is a 4 hour, 45 minute drive to Silverton and a 5.5 hour drive to Ouray. The Denver International Airport (DEN) is also an option, but is a 6 hour, 45 minute drive to Silverton and a 6 hour drive to Ouray.

Driving to the Million Dollar Highway

If you want to drive to the Million Dollar Highway from other popular areas nearby, here’s how long the drive will be to the closest beginning point of the highway.

Starting in Silverton
Durango, Colorado: 1 hour, 10 minutes (48 miles)
Mesa Verde National Park: 1 hour, 45 minutes (84 miles)
Pagosa Springs, Colorado: 2.5 hours (108 miles)
Great Sand Dunes National Park: 4.5 hours (213 miles)
Albuquerque, New Mexico: 4 hours, 45 minutes (263 miles)
Santa Fe, New Mexico: 5 hours (261 miles)

Starting in Ouray
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park South Rim: 1 hour (48 miles)
Telluride, Colorado: 1 hour, 10 minutes (50 miles)
Grand Junction, Colorado: 2 hours (97 miles)
Moab, Utah: 3 hours (150 miles)

When to drive the Million Dollar Highway

While the Million Dollar Highway is generally open year round, there are some things to consider when deciding when to visit.

Winter
In the winter, the road is technically open, but it can close at times if snow or ice make it unsafe. We suggest carrying chains and/or having snow tires if choosing to drive during this time.

Spring
The spring is a great time to drive the Million Dollar Highway to beat the summer crowds, but you will be more limited on activities in Silverton and Ouray due to snow and the road itself may still have a good amount of snow and active snow storms occurring. 

Summer
The summer is definitely one of the best times to experience the road and the surrounding area if you want to hike, offroad, and see the scenery in its most green state. We drove the road in early June and it was perfect! The road was totally snowfree, but the mountains still had snow on them, which made them extra pretty, plus the crowds weren’t too bad yet. 

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the summertime in Colorado can bring afternoon thunderstorms, which can make the road more dangerous. To avoid these storms, start your drive early if you can! 

Fall
The fall would be a magical time to drive the Million Dollar Highway, as the aspens turn into a golden yellow, making the already beautiful colors of the road’s scenery even more colorful. While there may be a snowstorm or two that pop up, if you visit earlier in the fall, you should have clear conditions and amazing views. During the prime leaf peeping weeks, expect higher crowds on the road, but from our experience, there is plenty of road for everyone! 

What kind of vehicles are allowed?

Driving the Million Dollar Highway

All vehicles are allowed on the Million Dollar Highway! We saw anything from motorcycles to 18 wheelers, so it is doable by anyone. However, the larger the rig you have, the slower you’ll have to go, especially on curves, and the more anxiety-inducing the drive may be.

We drove the road in our 170 WB Mercedes Sprinter Van and it handled it like a champ! 

Is driving the Million Dollar Highway scary?

Reinhard Schön, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Before driving the Million Dollar Highway, we had heard that it was a terrifying road. However, in our opinion, it’s really not bad and we never felt scared or unsafe. The biggest downside of the road, in our opinion, is you really need to pay attention while driving, which means if you’re the driver, you won’t get to enjoy the views as much, but that’s why it’s good to make stops along the way!

While there are drop offs, with some being pretty steep, and the majority of the road does not have guardrails (see the photo above for one of the “sketchier” parts), the entire drive is not a white knuckling experience. There are quite a few sections where there is a slight shoulder, as well as some sections that are straight and flat with zero drop off danger.

If you’re driving from Silverton to Ouray, you only have a couple drop off sections, as a lot of the drive hugs the mountainside, whereas the Ouray to Silverton direction has a longer stretch of drop offs. So if you’re very afraid of heights, you may want to drive from Silverton to Ouray.

Driving the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado: Everything you need to know, safety tips, and the best stops from Silverton to Ouray

The majority of the drive is a 10 mph-25 mph speed limit and we found most abided by it. After all, most drivers are on the road to see the views and it’s hard to enjoy the scenery if going too fast! We did have some motorcyclists pass us on the road (we do sometimes go slower than others due to the size of our van), with a couple passing us over a double white line as a cop was coming at them. Needless to say, they all got pulled over, so be extra careful if passing. There are a few pull outs along the way to safely let people pass.

There are about 40 accidents a year on the road, but most are not fatal. As long as you do not speed, dangerously pass people, and pay attention to oncoming traffic, the Million Dollar Highway is a safe experience. 

How long do you need to drive the Million Dollar Highway?

While technically the Million Dollar Highway can be driven in under an hour if you do not stop, to truly enjoy the drive, as well as experience the towns at the beginning and end of the drive, we recommend allotting at least a half day to drive the road and at least two days in the area if you want to experience everything Silverton and Ouray have to offer!

Additional tips for driving the Million Dollar Highway

  • Make sure to get gas and use the restroom in Silverton or Ouray, as there are no facilities along the road.
  • If driving early or late in the day, keep an eye out for wildlife. We saw moose, deer, and elk along the road!
  • There is no cell service for the majority of the drive, so make sure to download offline Google Maps if you want to ensure you don’t miss any stops!
  • As you are descending down the mountains do not ride your brakes, use a lower gear so you don’t wear out your brakes or have brake failure.

Where to stay to drive the Million Dollar Highway

If you plan to explore more of Silverton and Ouray (we’re including lots of suggestions below of things to do), here are some different lodging options so you can have a good home base to experience what each town has to offer.

Free camping in Silverton, Colorado

Silverton

While Silverton is pretty small and doesn’t have a large grocery store (something we always enjoy during our travels), it’s such a cool town and makes for a really fun place to stay! We stayed in Silverton for over a week and loved going for walks in town, visiting the local coffee shop (Coffee Bear!), and seeing so many amazing views constantly.

Hotels

Silverton doesn’t have any of the typical chain hotels, but they do have some historical, independent hotel options that look pretty neat!

Airbnbs

Note: these Airbnbs have 2 night minimums.

Cozy Downtown Guesthouse (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom): This guesthouse sleeps 4 and has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a full kitchen, bathroom, washer and dryer, and patio!

Silverton Home with Garage (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom): This house sleeps 8 people total and has great views, plus a heated garage with tools, perfect for those with bikes or lots of gear to store on their trip!

Silverton Hillside Cottage (4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms): This is a great house for groups! It’s tucked a tiny bit off the main street in town (not on the OHV route) and has some cool historic touches.

13th Street Studio Loft: This loft is right in the heart of Silverton and is located in a historic building from the late 1800s!

Dispersed Camping

There is a gold mine (get it?!) of free dispersed camping in the Silverton area, which is where we stayed! There are 4 camping areas located just north of Silverton, at the beginning of the Million Dollar Highway and right along a river, making them all very scenic places to call “home.”

However, these areas are popular, so for the best bet for a spot, we suggest arriving during the week. 

  • Kendall Camping Area: This is where we stayed the majority of our time in Silverton and although it was busy, it had decent cell service, which allowed us to work most days from the van.
  • Anvil Camping Area
  • Sultan Camping Area
  • Golden Horn Campground: This is the final campground on the road and we stayed here our first night in the area. It’s more remote, less busy, and has gorgeous views, but very limited cell service. 
Ouray Perimeter Trail in Colorado

Ouray

Ouray is more built up than Silverton, with slightly more amenities, but still has a very small town feel and the views are just as amazing! There is also a lot to do near Ouray, such as Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Uncompahgre National Forest, and Telluride, so it is a good spot to stay to explore more than just Ouray itself.

Hotels

Similar to Silverton, Ouray does not have any chain hotels, but it offers a handful of independent hotels and inns.

Airbnbs

Note: These Airbnbs have 2 or 3 night minimums.

Downtown Ouray Townhouse (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom): This stylish, renovated townhouse is just half a block from downtown!

Updated Ouray Condo w/AC (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom): This condo offers everything you need for a comfortable stay, with a full kitchen (including an air fryer)!

Walkable Ouray Condo (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom): This nice, updated condo has a great living and working space, outdoor patio with a grill, and a very nice kitchen!

Dispersed Camping

We camped for free a couple nights near Ouray and right off the Million Dollar Highway, at the Ironton Park Dispersed Camping area. This spot is pretty convenient to Ouray, but right off the road (so it can be noisy) and doesn’t have cell service. So if you’re in a pinch, it’s not bad, but it wouldn’t have worked for us long term with needing to work.

The best things to do on the Million Dollar Highway

Although you can enjoy many of the views from the Million Dollar Highway without ever leaving your vehicle, the best way to experience it is to get out and explore, whether it’s in the towns that mark the beginning and end of the route or along the drive itself.

Below are some of the best things to do along the Million Dollar Highway. This list is in order from Silverton to Ouray, but could easily be reversed.

Explore Silverton

Silverton, Colorado

For the sake of this guide, Silverton marks the beginning of your Million Dollar Highway journey. Silverton is a small historic mining town that was established in 1874, but grew immensely starting in 1881, when the Denver & Rio Grande Railway reached the town. 

Although Silverton is now more touristy, the town is still full of historic charm, with many of its original buildings remaining, plus mostly unpaved streets, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when wandering around town. 

While you could just grab a quick coffee or bite to eat and start your drive on the Million Dollar Highway, it’s really worth spending at least a day in this area. Here are some of the best things to do while in Silverton!

Tour the Old Hundred Gold Mine

The Old Hundred Gold Mine tour was so much fun and worth every penny! For $28 per adult (less for kids and seniors), you get to ride in a vintage electric powered mine train that takes you 1/3 of a mile into the heart of the 13,000 foot Galena Mountain (you’ll get wet!), walk around the inside of the mine, learn mining techniques, and see demonstrations of mining equipment from the 1930s (warning: it’s LOUD!), which we hear is unique from other mining tours.

Our tour guide was a miner in the past, so he was very knowledgeable about mining and was so engaging to listen to! After getting out of the mine, you’re able to pan for real silver, copper, and gold and you can keep what you find. We didn’t have much luck, but it was still fun. 🙂

This tour is only operational in the summer and leaves every hour. They don’t take reservations, but we recommend arriving for the first tour, as it was way less busy than the second tour. If you can only do one thing in Silverton, do this tour!

Watch our experience touring the Old Hundred Gold Mine here!

Walk around town

Silverton itself is a lot of fun to walk around, with tons of old buildings to see, many of which have the date they were built listed on the outside. The main street through town is Greene Street, which back in the day was an unofficial boundary in town, separating where the law-abiding, church-going residents lived and where the saloons and brothels were.

And speaking of the saloons and brothels, these could be found just a block away on the famous Blair Street, which was the red light district of Silverton. It’s now just another strip of shops and restaurants, but has unpaved streets, giving it more of a wild west vibe. 

Christ of the Mines Shrine

Silverton, Colorado

The Christ of the Mines Shrine is a memorial perched on top of a hill, which was created to honor and protect those in the mining industry. You can hike up to this view point or drive up to it and from the top you’ll have amazing views of town! 

Go for a hike

Photo Credit: Daniel Weber

The Silverton area is home to some of the BEST hikes in the San Juan Mountains! Here are a couple trails to consider hiking, which start near Silverton, but please keep in mind that these can all get very busy, so start early and PLEASE Leave No Trace!

Ice Lakes Basin
8.6 miles | 3,070 feet of elevation gain

This is probably the most popular hike in the area, if not in the entire San Juans. It was closed during our visit due to a wildfire that had happened in 2020, but is now back open and despite being warned that it may become a permit only hike, it still remains open to anyone (but please treat it with respect).

This hike takes you to three gorgeous, blue lakes, as well as has some amazing views of the San Juans. It’s high up on our list for when we return!

Columbine Lake
8.3 miles | 2,933 feet of elevation gain

This is a tough hike, but you’re rewarded with incredible views of the mountains and a gorgeous blue lake at the end. Parking is pretty tight here and you may have to park by the bridge and walk to the trailhead if you arrive late, so plan to get here early. 

Highland Mary Lake Trail
4.9 miles | 1,414 feet of elevation gain

While shorter than the two hikes above, that doesn’t mean this will be an easy stroll! The hike takes you to a couple lakes, and similar to both of the previous hikes mentioned, has great mountain views (it’s really hard to go wrong hiking in the San Juans). The road to the trailhead can be really rough in the last mile, and parking is limited, so if you’re not driving a 4×4 or arriving late, you may want to park about 0.7-1 mile from the trailhead and walk the rest of the way.

Grab a bite to eat in Silverton

If you get hungry while in Silverton, we highly recommend Coffee Bear for coffee and breakfast burritos, which are a unique square shape. Make sure to go to the top deck to admire the town from above!

Some other good spots to check out are Kendall Mountain Cafe for breakfast, Handlebars for burgers, Avalanche Brewing Company for pizza, tacos, and other bites, The Eureka Station for a variety of food options, and Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory for a sweet treat.

Red Mountain Pass & Mining District

After you leave Silverton, the first big landmark along the Million Dollar Highway is Red Mountain Pass, which sits at an elevation of 11,018 feet. Starting in 1882, this area boomed with mining camps and became known as the Red Mountain Mining District, with 40 mines at one point. The mines operated until 1979 and since then the area has been under reclamation to clean up the damage from the operation and tailing ponds.  

There are a couple overlooks to stop at, including this roadside pull off and this more formal parking area, where you can admire the 3 peaks of Red Mountains, see the remains of the Yankee Girl, Longfellow, and Idarado mines, including a trestle, and also explore the abandoned buildings that once housed miners.

One really interesting thing we learned from the signage about this area is that there is a mining tunnel that runs under the 13,000 foot mountains to the huge Pandora Mill near Telluride. To drive from this area to the Pandora Mine would be about a 60 mile journey! 

This is a must stop and one of the most unique views along the drive, with the orange and red colored mountains contrasting beautifully with the green trees and greyish blue mountains off in the distance.

Crystal Lake

Photo Credit: Alan Stark

Remember when we mentioned that part of the drive was flatter and had no drop offs? That is where you can find Crystal Lake! This small roadside lake is located in a valley, surrounded by mountains and is a perfect spot to take a breather from driving. It’s also the area we saw the most wildlife as well, including a moose!

Uncompahgre Gorge

Bear Creek Falls Million Dollar Highway

The Uncompaghre Gorge isn’t necessarily a stop, but is a gorgeous region of the drive, with such different scenery from the Red Mountain Pass area shortly before it. (The photo above is looking back at the gorge from the Bear Creek Falls stop)

This gorge is a deep mountain canyon formed by the Uncompahgre River and Red Mountain Creek and some consider this the most scenic and dangerous part of the drive. There are unfortunately not too many places to pull over here, so you’ll mostly be admiring it from the car.

This was Adam’s favorite part of the drive because of the steep valley walls, the river rushing through it, and the many tall waterfalls you’ll see. 

Bear Creek Falls

If you’re not paying attention you could miss this waterfall because you will drive right over it! To see Bear Creek Falls, you’ll need to park either right before or right after the bridge and walk out to the overlook above the falls. This raging waterfall is 227 feet tall and thunders down into a narrow canyon known as Bear Creek. It is crazy powerful!

Although, what surprised us the most about this stop is that we got to see a second waterfall as well, which was from snow melt on the mountain across from Bear Creek Falls. These two waterfalls joined into the same river, which was really cool!

Switzerland of America Lookout Point

Shortly after leaving Bear Creek Falls, you’ll make it to Ouray! Ouray is nicknamed the “Switzerland of America,” and after making a quick stop at this lookout, you’ll quickly realize why! 

This lookout has a great view of the town and surrounding mountains and marks the last few minutes driving along the Million Dollar Highway. But the fun isn’t over yet, now it’s time to explore Ouray…hooray!

Explore Ouray

Ouray Perimeter Trail Colorado

Ouray is a small mountain town, tucked into the San Juan Mountains, which is named after Chief Ouray of the Ute tribe, as the area was inhabited by the Ute Native Americans. For centuries, the tribe traveled here during the summer months to fish, hunt, and to soak in what they called their “sacred miracle waters.” In fact, the town’s original name was “Uncompahgre,” which is the Ute word for “hot water springs.”  

In 1873, Chief Ouray, who was the leader of both the Tabeguache and Uncompahgre bands of Southern Ute, reluctantly signed a government treaty releasing their San Juan territory to encroaching settlers and in 1876 the town was incorporated and named in Chief Ouray’s honor.

There is a lot to see and do in the “Switzerland of America” and similar to Silverton, we highly recommend giving at least a day or two to properly explore it. Here are some of the best things to do while in the area.

Hike the Perimeter Trail

The Perimeter Trail is a 6 mile trail that traverses the mountain sides on the perimeter of Ouray, gaining 1,600 feet of elevation. While the hike can be steep at times and we found ourselves huffing and puffing more than expected, we were rewarded with 4 waterfalls, 5 bridges, and views of town and the mountains along the way.

What we thought was extra cool about the trail was that you’re never more than 500 feet vertically or 1 mile horizontally from Ouray’s city limits, so you can hop into town during part of the hike to grab a snack or only do a portion of the trail if you’re not up for all 6 miles.

We started from the visitor center in the north of town and went clockwise, but there are several entry points along the way, so you can start almost anywhere in town. 

See our full guide to hiking the Perimeter Trail or watch our experience

Visit Box Canyon

Box Canyon is a 285 foot waterfall that drops thousands of gallons of water per minute inside a narrow canyon. It costs $5 to visit and we thought it would just be a tourist trap, but we were SO impressed by this waterfall!

There are three trails you can experience in the park. 

  • The Falls Trail is a MUST do in the park! This is an easy, mostly level 500 foot walk into the canyon, where you’ll walk on metal stairs and walkways to get you up close and personal with the Box Canyon Falls. It is a powerful and loud experience! 
  • The High Bridge Trail is a half mile trail with 200 feet of gain that takes you above the Box Canyon and provides gorgeous views of town and the Amphitheater Cirque. This is also a can’t miss trail!
  • The Native Plant Loop is a short stroll through the trees and shrubs in the park. There are signs and placards to read that tell you more about the plants in the park. Unless you’re an anthophile, you can probably skip this trail.

A couple things to note: dogs are not allowed in Box Canyon, except for the bridge along the high bridge portion of the trail, which runs along the Perimeter Trail. Also, this can get very busy, so we suggest getting there right when they open. We did this and were able to have it mostly to ourselves!

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls is a 200 ft waterfall that cascades down the side of a mountain and can be seen from almost anywhere in Ouray. While you can visit Cascade Falls as a stop on the Perimeter Trail, for those who do not want to hike the entire trail, you can access the falls easily by parking in a lot and walking up 0.2 miles round trip to it. When we visited in June, this waterfall was raging from the snowmelt and it was absolutely stunning! 

Rent a Jeep

Jeep 4x4 trails in San Juan Mountains

One of our all time favorite activities was renting a Jeep from Switzerland of America Jeeps in Ouray to go on some of the 4×4 trails. While not a cheap experience, it was honestly one of the most fun things we have ever done and gave us some of the BEST views we saw in Colorado! And the best part? Kona was able to join us!

There are tons of 4×4 trails you can experience in the area and during our visit we did Corkscrew Gulch, Animas Forks (closer to Silverton), and part of Yankee Boy Basin. They each had totally different scenery and challenges. 

Corkscrew Gulch took us up to the top of mountains, where we had endless views of the San Juans and Red Mountains (it was INSANE), at Animas Forks we got to see a ghost town and learn mining history, and Yankee Boy Basin was the most nerve wracking (in our opinion) and although we didn’t go to the end due to snow, the views and waterfalls were stunning.

Watch our experience driving a Jeep in the San Juan Mountains! 

You can also drive the Alpine Loop, which is about a 65 mile loop that connects the towns of Ouray, Silverton, and Lake City. There are so many possibilities!

If you’d like to do this, keep in mind that the trails close in the winter and reopen around late May to early June. We were there in the very early season and not everything was open yet, but we used Switzerland of America’s website for updates and asked them for suggestions when we picked up the Jeep. 

We cannot rave about this experience enough and even if you are new to 4×4 trails, like we were, there are options for all skill levels and you’re guaranteed to have a blast!

Note: There are trails in both Silverton and Ouray, as well as in between, so you could start your Jeep adventure in either town (Silverton has Jeep rentals too). If you would like to do this, we highly recommend picking up your rental (if applicable) the night before and dedicating an entire day so you can fully enjoy the trails.

Soak in the Hot Springs

Ouray Hot Springs

With the town’s original name of  “Uncompahgre,” which is the Ute word for “hot water springs,” it’s no surprise that there are hot springs to enjoy. The Ouray Hot Springs are located right in town and while it’s more of a public pool environment, these hot springs use the same healing waters the Ute Indians used to enjoy. 

There are various pools, which range 75 to 106 degrees and it costs between $12-$18 per person to visit.

Climb the Via Ferrata

Something we did not do in Ouray, but we have done elsewhere before, is climb the Ouray Via Ferrata! A via ferrata is a climbing route that has rungs, ladders, and cables that you hook yourself to via a harness and two leashes. 

We did this in West Virginia and it was one of the CRAZIEST experiences we have ever had. Despite us both having differing fears of heights, we were able to safely do this AND have a blast!

What makes the Ouray Via Ferrata unique is that if you have the equipment and experience, you can use this via ferrata for FREE, without a guide! If you’re a beginner or you want to go with a guide, there are a handful of companies in town that can take you to ensure you have a safe experience.

Grab food or drinks in Ouray

Looking for a spot to grab a bite to eat or a drink while in town? We recommend visiting Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee for coffee and sweets, Ouray Meat & Cheese Market for any hiking snacks (their meat sticks were SO good), Maggie’s Kitchen for burgers, Ouray Brewery for beer and pub food, and Brickhouse 737 or Bon Ton Restaurant for a nicer meal.

Ready to brave the Million Dollar Highway?

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about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.

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