About “Red Mountain Cascade”
The “Red Mountain Cascade” was kind of an accidental find for us after being compelled to stop and photograph the attractively bare-yet-colorful Red Mountain while driving the Million Dollar Highway (Hwy 550) between Ouray and Silverton.
Most people just drive past the roadside pullout that we managed to stop at, which allowed us to find this rather obscure waterfall.
The more sanctioned lookout for Red Mountain, which was further north along the Hwy 550, didn’t even allow us a view of this cascade.
This further added to its obscurity, while I put the quotes around the name “Red Mountain Cascade” since it was an unofficial name I just came up with.
Anyways, this was more or less my waterfallers excuse to include the Red Mountain with the cascade, which you can see in the photograph above.
The Red Mountain itself was actually the site of one of the richest mining extractions during its 20-year heyday in the latter part of the 19th century.
Much of the red and orange stains in the area were apparently the result of contamination from metals contained in the waste rock that drained from tailing pipes as part of the mining operation.
Restoration work reclaimed and funded in part by the Idarado Mining Company sought to improve the water quality of the Uncompahgre River drainage, which this area was a part of.
“Red Mountain Cascade” resides in the San Juan National Forest near the town of Silverton in San Juan County, Colorado. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The pullout where we stopped to view the “Red Mountain Cascade” was about 0.8-mile south of the Idarado Mine Lookout turnoff along the Million Dollar Highway (Hwy 550) on the left.
It was about 0.9-mile north of the Red Mountain Pass along the same highway on the right.
In either direction, these distances took us on the order of about a half-hour.
For context, Silverton was about 23 miles (about 45 minutes drive) south of Ouray, about 48 miles (over an hour drive) north of Durango, 73 miles (under 2 hours drive) south of Telluride, 120 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) southeast of Grand Junction, 324 miles (over 6 hours drive) southwest of Denver, 173 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) east of Moab, Utah, and 263 miles (over 4.5 hours drive) north of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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