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Then and Again over the Million Dollar Highway

million dollar highway snowshed

The Then and Again trip over the Million Dollar Highway!

The Million Dollar Highway, also known as Red Mountain Pass or a section of Colorado Highway 550, is by my definition the section of pavement that connects Ouray to Silverton Colorado.   As a then and again subject I find it quite remarkable how little this road has changed in around a 100 years.  I try to remember that it was not too long ago that this road resembled many of our local 4×4 roads such as Engineer Pass.  One story of its name (the Million Dollar Highway) claims that the 9 mile section of this road from the town of Ouray to the point when you reach Ironton Park, the most extreme section that climbs up a canyon with darn near vertical walls,  was going to be improved to make it more passable by automobiles in the 192o’s.  The nine miles was sectioned into 3 parts and contractors bid on the 3 sections.  After the 3 contractors where chosen, the 3 bids came to within just penny’s of a million dollars, which in the 20’s was a huge amount of money for a 9 mile section of road.  Today they can spend darn near that much on a road sign!  The CDOT guy in charge was the one who started coining the phrase Million $ Highway.  But my point is that it was improved in the 20’s and I think paved during the 50/60’s and worked on many a time over the years, yet looks so unchanged!

The Million Dollar Highway just past Bear Creek Falls, view of Mount Abram-

Mount Abram, then the Million Dollar Highway

Million Dolaar Highway Mount Abram Again

Mount Abram Again!

Link to The Then and Again trip over the Million Dollar Highway! The Ruby Wall-

Let me know if you have ever driven Red Mountain Pass, on our Facebook page!






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