Driving the Million Dollar Highway in Durango, Colorado is one of the most amazing road trip experiences in the USA. An exhilarating journey, it will take you on steep and winding roads with dramatic views of the San Juan Mountains all around you. You’ll travel from an elevation of 6,200 feet near Durango to over 11,000 feet when you cross Red Mountain Pass. If you plan on driving this route, allow yourself plenty of time so that you can stop along the way and make the most of it. On your road trip, here are some of the places you can stop and explore in and around Durango, Colorado.
Mesa Verde National Park
The amazing natural wonder Mesa Verde is 9 miles east of Cortez and home to mesa-top villages and spectacular cliff dwellings. It has been named one of the best historic monuments in the world and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the time to go on a ranger-guided tour so that you can learn about the history of this unique ecosystem.
Old Hundred Gold Mine
Learn about the history of gold mining in the Colorado town of Silverton. You can take a tour to the Old Hundred Gold Mine and ride a train 1/3-mile-deep into a mine within Galena Mountain. You’ll explore the mining tunnels, see live mining demonstrations and learn about what mining was like throughout the decades. The tour also offers the chance to try your own hand at mining at the sluce boxes and keep any gold you find.
Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
In continuous operation since 1882, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the most unique ways to take in the spectacular views offered by the San Juan Mountains and the Animas River. Choose from standard-class coach or gondola, or premium class which include family or adults only and choices of coach, gondola, parlor and glass roofed cars.
The Animas Museum
Discover an incredible amount of history at the Animas Museum, which displays artefacts dating back to the wild west era. You’ll hear some pretty amazing stories, like how the FBI can trace its origins to La Plata County – or the story of when the sheriff of Durango was shot by the marshal in a strange standoff.
Steamworks Brewing Company
If you have had a long day of driving and you want to stop for a great meal before retiring for the evening, check this local favourite Durango eatery. Steamworks Brewing Company's menu boasts a lot of variety, with pizzas, sandwiches, pastas and much more. It also has a lot of excellent micro-brews on tap as well as other non-alcoholic drinks for the driver and a laid back atmosphere with friendly staff.
These are just a few of the fascinating road trip stops you can make in and around Durango, so why not get started on planning your ultimate Colorado road trip today? For more road trip info, check out 4 Reasons The San Juan Skyway Is The Perfect Day Trip Drive.