30. August 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 37: Driving from Colorado Springs to Durango · Categories: Uncategorized

U.S. 550: The Million Dollar Highway

I guess it’s high time I start writing about our family’s southwest summer vacation. After all, we left for the vacation exactly two months ago.

As usual with my lapses in writing, real life started to get in the way. I really truly want to write about these adventures while everything was still fresh in my mind. Here’s hoping it still is.

We took a week at the end of June and beginning of July and headed west. There were several places we wanted to visit on the trip and it was tough to prioritize things. We were able to visit four national parks, see several great sights on our drives, and even ride on a tourist railroad.

I plan to continue numbering our Colorado adventure even though I snuck in that Color Run post somewhat out of order. So let’s see how much writing I can accomplish this holiday weekend, shall we?

The first day of our trip was a nice drive across Colorado to Durango. We traveled through Cañon City, Salida, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Ridgeway, and Silverton. We took a route that allowed us to stop at a couple of railroad-history sites and see some stunning scenery:


We started our trip traveling through the Royal Gorge, a very popular whitewater rafting spot. Timmy enjoyed posing with the Arkansas River.


We watched several white water rafting groups travel past.


We tried to stop to see a historic Denver & Rio Grande locomotive at the Curecanti National Recreation Area near Cimmaron, Colorado. We drove about a mile off the highway through a canyon and came upon an empty trestle. Read more about this exhibit here.


We briefly stopped at the Ridgeway Railroad Museum, which is off U.S. 550 in Ridgeway, Colorado. There are several locomotives and cars on display.


Silverton, Colorado. This is a nice drive, but the road we needed to take to Durango ascends up those mountains in front of us. That is the northern end of the Million Dollar Highway.


It takes about 1 1/2 hours to travel the 25 miles on US 550 between Silverton and Durango. The scenery on the Million Dollar Highway is amazing, but you really need to keep your eyes on the road, here more than anywhere else we’ve ever driven in my life.

Feel free to view more pictures from our drive to Durango at our Google photo album.

We arrived in Durango near dinnertime and enjoyed a fun dinner at the Diamond Belle Saloon…where Dave ran into someone he worked with in Nebraska! The next day would be our adventure on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad!