US 550 begins at Interstate 25, just north of Albuquerque, NM. Shortly after the highway begins it crosses the Rio Grande, and trends northwest on a winding route below high, colorful cliffs on the Colorado Plateau. It soon enters the spacious valley of the Rio Puerco, home to some farms and the town of Cuba, and crosses a wooded plateau, where the Great Continental Divide is crossed. The highway then enters the colorful desert, and after passing a gas station it curves northward, passing by Huerfano Mountain to the east, and meets with US 64 at Bloomfield, where, under impressive cliffs, it continues north into Colorado.
After crossing the state line, the highway meets US 160 and passes through the town of Durango. What follows is the highway's passage across the rugged San Juan Mountains, a daunting yet scenic route known as the "Million Dollar Highway;" the origin of this name is disputed, with explanations including the claim that, in the 1920s, it cost a million dollars a mile to build, and the notion that the fill dirt on the highway contains a million dollars worth of gold. In real life, the Million Dollar Highway runs between Red Mountain Pass and Ouray, a distance making up a fraction of US 550's passage through the mountains; it is this exact section of the highway that runs between Durango and Ouray in the game, a section with ample warnings of its difficulties at both ends.
The Million Dollar Highway begins with Red Mountain Pass, which is ascended via a steep grade and a large switchback. Past the summit, which has an elevation of 11,018 ft. (3358 m), the highway snakes its way along many tight switchbacks. One of these switchbacks features a parking area that provides a view of the highway, the remaining trestle of the abandoned Idarado Mine, and informational plaques about the nearby Red Mountain. After the last switchback, the highway curves sharply and enters the Uncompahgre Gorge; it is here that the highway gains its notoriety, as it hugs the wall of the gorge with a jagged cliff on one side and a steep drop-off on the other, and no shoulders or guardrails, leaving little to no room for error. At the end of this hazardous stretch the highway crosses over Bear Creek Falls, where an overlook provides an excellent view up the gorge, and after passing through a short tunnel the highway reaches an overlook over the town of Ouray, where a viewpoint is located. The highway descends to Ouray through two tight switchbacks; stemming off the lower one is Camp Bird Road, which provides access to Montrose's NAMIQ mine, which sits high in the Sneffels Range, a subrange of the San Juans. After passing through the scenic town of Ouray, the highway exits the San Juans with no more difficulty and soon after enters Montrose, where it terminates.
|Albuquerque||0||0||I-25 – Albuquerque, Santa Fe||Southern terminus; I-25 exit 242|
|Bloomfield, Farmington||140||225||Gas Station|
|142||229||US 64 west – Farmington||TOTSO|
South end of US 64 overlap
|145||234||US 64 east – Santa Fe, Raton||TOTSO|
North end of US 64 overlap
Northern terminus in game
- The achievement Million Dollar Highway requires the player to drive through the such called section of US 550 in Colorado. It is located between Durango and Montrose, south of Ouray.
- In update 1.32, the section of US 550 from Interstate 25 in Albuquerque to US 64 in Bloomfield was added.
- In the initial version of the Colorado map expansion DLC, the section of US 550 from US 64 in Bloomfield to US 50 in Montrose was added.
SCS blog (pre-release)
|Cities||Alamogordo - Albuquerque - Artesia - Carlsbad - Clovis - Farmington - Gallup - Hobbs - Las Cruces - Raton - Roswell - Santa Fe - Socorro - Tucumcari
Scenery Towns: Akela - Bloomfield - Carrizozo - Corona - Cuba - Deming - Eagle Nest - Elida - Fort Sumner - Lordsburg - Mountain Park - Newcomb - Omega - Pastura - Quemado - Santa Rosa - Shiprock - Sky City - Tierra Amarilla - Vaughn - Yeso
|Highways||Interstate 10 - Interstate 25 - Interstate 40|
US 54 - US 60 - US 62 - US 64 - US 70 - US 82 - US 84 - US 160 - US 180 - US 285 - US 380 - US 491 - US 550
NM 292 - NM 418 - NM 529 - NM 597 - NM 599
|Cities||Alamosa - Burlington - Colorado Springs - Denver - Durango - Fort Collins - Grand Junction - Lamar - Montrose - Pueblo - Rangely - Steamboat Springs - Sterling
Scenery Towns: Bristol - Cheyenne Wells - Cortez - Craig - Dinosaur - Divide - Eads - Estes Park - Fairplay - Glenwood Springs - Granada - Granby - Grand Lake - Johnson Village - Julesburg - Kit Carson - La Junta - Las Animas - Limon - Loma - Maybell - Ouray - Pagosa Springs - Parkdale - Poncha Springs - Saguache - Sheridan Lake - Starkville - Trinidad - Walsenburg - Wiggins - Wild Horse - Winter Park - Wray
|Highways||Interstate 25 - Interstate 70 - Interstate 76|
US 6 - US 24 - US 34 - US 40 - US 50 - US 84 - US 160 - US 285 - US 287 - US 350 - US 385 - US 491 - US 550
SH 1 - SH 13 - SH 14 - SH 21 - SH 30 - SH 39 - SH 47 - SH 52 - SH 64 - SH 67 - SH 71 - SH 82 - SH 96 - SH 131 - SH 139 - SH 340