Driving Highway 50 and Red Mountain Pass

Colorado, 170 miles

Jun 30, 2009
Outside Magazine

Even when there aren't avalanches flowing across it, Colorado's Red Mountain Pass is the stickiest stretch of highway in the country. That's partly because of its 8 percent grade, countless hairpins, and few guardrails, and partly because its cliffside views keep pulling your eyes off the road. The most spectacular approach is from the north: Head down the Rockies from Grand Junction on Highway 50 toward Montrose, where you'll pick up Highway 550. The road begins to climb slightly to Ridgway and then sharply at Ouray. Between Ouray and Silverton, try not to look to your right, where the canyon drops off some 400 feet. PIT STOPS: A 35-minute detour north from Montrose brings you to the base camp of Black Canyon Anglers, who ply the Gunnison River (guided wade-fishing day trip for two, $475; blackcanyonanglers.com). Spend a night in Ouray at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs (doubles, $145; boxcanyonouray.com).

Filed To: Road Trips

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