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Author Topic: U.S. 550 from Ouray to Durango  (Read 25845 times)


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Re: U.S. 550 from Ouray to Durango
« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2016, 12:57:23 AM »

The Coronado Trail (191 between Alpine and Morenci) is great if you're not in a hurry. I feel bad for people who see it on a map and think "That looks like an interesting road to take" and then, after an hour of ceaseless 20mph curves, curse the world they live in. I drove it at night once and chased a rabbit down the road almost 1/4 mile. He just had no where to go. Had some great experiences at places along that road over the years. It's rare to find such wild country so close to a paved road.
550, for curves, has nothing on Coronado Trail, but the drop-offs are much worse on 550, and they certainly get more snow. I drove it in April or May once and the snow was piled on the sides well above my head. You could barely see the snow markers. I wonder sometimes if CDOT just takes keeping roads like that open in the winter as a personal challenge.


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Re: U.S. 550 from Ouray to Durango
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2016, 02:17:20 PM »

I actually took a roadtrip last May specifically to drive that stretch of highway!  I love the switchbacks, mountainous terrain and the views you get out there.  Probably my favorite 50 miles anywhere to drive.  I think the biggest allure is that traffic is so light I can go my own pace, whether it's gawking at scenery or seeing how the ol' car handles a sharp curve. 

Yes! The lack of traffic is definitely an advantage of being able to enjoy 191. It helps that traffic bound from Alpine to Clifton and vice versa has a perfectly reasonable alternative of driving US 180 thru New Mexico to get there in roughly the same amount of time.

AFAIK, US 550 lacks the luxury of an alternate route. When I drove it last March, I was tailgated constantly by the locals.


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Re: U.S. 550 from Ouray to Durango
« Reply #52 on: March 14, 2016, 08:03:57 PM »

I've driven 550 twice. Both times south to Durango. Once in the evening, and once in the morning just as the sun was coming up. Spectacular scenery.

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Re: U.S. 550 from Ouray to Durango
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2020, 10:06:03 PM »

One of the highlights of the 2016 Summer Mountain Region Road Trip was a drive on US Route 550 from Montrose south to Durango.  Of note US 550 from Ouray south to Silverton is the famous "Million Dollar" highway over Red Mountain Pass.  The Million Dollar Highway was functionally completed as a toll road in the early 1880s but was upgraded as a modern highway by 1924.  The "Million Dollar" name comes from the heavy expense it took to upgrade the early toll roads between Ouray and Silverton.  US 550 passes through the massive Uncomphagre Gorge where numerous ghost towns and derelict can be found amid the numerous mountain peaks. 



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