The Million Dollar Highway motorcycle route is one of Colorado's best

Hairpin road turn in mountains
Hairpin road turn in mountains
Author Michael Milbourn
Product Manager – Dairyland
April 15, 2024

Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway motorcycle route offers hairpin turns, historic sites, and unmatched views. Some would even say it's one of the best rides in the country. Here's why you must add this route to your bucket list, and what to expect when you get there.

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Million Dollar Highway route map

The 25-mile stretch between the towns of Ouray and Silverton known as the Million Dollar Highway takes around 45 minutes if you ride straight through. Plan for at least two hours out on the road so you can stop and enjoy the views.

If you choose to extend your trip, the 50-mile stretch from Silverton to Durango offers more exploration opportunities. Check out our interactive map to plan your route.

Weather along the Million Dollar Highway

While the Million Dollar Highway motorcycle route is open year-round, weather can be unpredictable. You should always check the weather forecast and road conditions (including possible closures due to snow or landslides) before heading out. During winter months, the route is recommended only for vehicles with four-wheel drive. Most bikers opt for summer or fall between Memorial Day and mid-October. However, late spring can be a good time to experience this route if you want to avoid traffic.

Check out Ouray’s monthly climate averages from the NOAA to help you plan your trip.

Climate data for Ouray, CO.

Million Dollar Highway safety tips

The Million Dollar Highway isn't for inexperienced riders. Under certain conditions, this road can be dangerous. But for veteran bikers with a sense of adventure, the ride is an awesome experience filled with memorable vistas.

With that in mind, here are some of the most crucial safety considerations:

  • Concentrate on the road, as this route includes many tight turns in areas where there are steep drop-offs and no guard rails. Watch your speed, avoid lane-sharing, take it easy around corners, and ride in a group if possible.

  • Remain alert for animals crossing and alongside the road. This route is home to a lot of large wildlife like moose, elk, bears, and bighorn sheep.

  • Check that your motorcycle is in good working condition before you head out. Examine your tires, fill up with gas, test your battery, and refresh your safety kit, as it can be difficult for assistance to reach you. Check that your lights are working, especially if you could end up riding in the dark.

Stops to make along the Million Dollar Highway

There are several opportunities to stop while cruising this high mountain road. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weekend getaway, here are some must-see recommendations.

Orvis Hot Springs

Stop and stay as long as you please at Orvis Hot Springs. This natural hot springs resort, located nine miles north of Ouray on US 550, offers ten soaking areas that are naturally heated and are not treated in any way. Unwind in these geothermal waters while enjoying the surrounding San Juan Mountains. You can take a quick dip in the clothing-optional indoor or outdoor pools—or stay overnight at the lodge.


Ouray is the outdoor recreation capitol of Colorado and the northern starting point of the Million Dollar Highway. This tiny mountain town has many attractions for the adventurous spirit, including rock climbing, waterfall hikes, and horseback riding. History buffs will enjoy the many tours and museums, and everyone can relax in the many hot springs.

Bear Creek Falls

Some stretches of the Million Dollar Highway are extremely narrow with no shoulder to speak of, so when you come across overlooks or turnouts like Bear Creek Falls, it’s a good opportunity to stretch your legs, hydrate, and take in the awesome views.

Look for designated stopping places like trailheads, historic sites, and staging areas all along the route for some safe sightseeing.


Silverton is a quaint town with spectacular landscapes—it's also one of the highest elevated cities in the country. This beautiful town is an ideal base camp, offering close-up views of several of Colorado's famous 14,000-foot peaks from designated lookouts and scenic campgrounds. Enjoy the many local businesses and restaurants along the historic main street. And, if you’re a history fan, you’ll love the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour.


If you make your way down to Durango, try to stay for a few days. This town has old roots, offering a glimpse into the American West of the 1800s. Historic hotels have been preserved, creating an Old West vibe. Be sure to stop at the Diamond Belle Saloon—one of the most infamous piano bars in the Wild West.

There are endless activities for nature and adventure lovers, ranging from mountain biking to river running. If you stay for a night or two, the downtown area is a great place to unwind after a long day. Enjoy restaurants, boutique shopping, art galleries, live music, and more.

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*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.