After leaving the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and our favorite Best Western in Montrose, Colorado, we drove the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway toward our next destination. Actually, the San Juan Skyway forms a loop, and we traveled only the eastern and southern portions of it. I look forward to another visit when we can see the rest of the loop.
The portion of the Skyway that runs between Ouray and Silverton is known as the "Million Dollar Highway." I haven't been able to find a definitive answer as to why it bears that name. I thought it might be due to the many silver mines that had been located in that area during the late 1800s. But it may refer to the cost of building the road, which was completed in 1924. Or it may be a reference to the "million dollar" views all along the route. Or one explanation is that someone said, "I wouldn't drive that again if you paid me a million dollars."
|Ouray, Colorado (Nicknamed "The Switzerland of America")|
|Some of the "Million Dollar" Scenery|
|An Old Mine (There were lots of these visible from the roadway.)|
|Information about the mining towns established in the area|
|Information about the Yankee Girl Mine|
|The Narrow Gauge Railroad at Silverton|
- W. H. Holmes, U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey,
describing the San Juan Mountains, September 7, 1876.
Our beautiful drive took us to Cortez, Colorado, where we would stay while visiting Mesa Verde National Park, which will be featured on the next installment of this travelogue. Stay tuned.