One of the most beloved roads in the country, this classic stretch of two-lane blacktop snakes its way through the San Juan Mountains, the wildest and most rugged peaks in the Rockies. Marked on maps and by road signs as U.S.-550, which runs south from the Gunnison River ranchlands around Montrose to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the "Million Dollar" tag is generally applied to the 25 steep and twisting miles that link Ouray and Silverton, a pair of remote gold and silver mining communities. It's also an appropriate nickname for those 110 miles of steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and terrifying turns around passes without guardrails. The ascent of Red Mountain Pass is notable for its hairpin curves and narrow lanes – many cut directly into the sides of mountains. Though we don't recommend staring too long, the views are spectacular, too. The countryside is decked in wildflowers during the spring, and sustains elk, mountain goats, black bears, and deer.
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