Silverton and its surroundings

As I wrote on the post about the historic railroad, Silverton is a historic mining town established in 1874 in Baker’s Park in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. It is the surrounding mountains in particular that make Silverton so unique, in addition to its incomparable charm as an old western town.

We have a few ideas of what you can do in the area, if you have a little more time to spend…

  • Even the journey to Silverton from Durango or Ouray is spectacular. Coming from Durango, you can enjoy the view at the top of Molas Pass, from where you can also hike a section of the Colorado Trail if you want to get some exercise. The road then winds its way around a few hairpins towards Silverton, with great views over the town.
  • Coming from Ouray, you drive along the Million Dollar Highway, along steep slopes and often without a guardrail. Your passenger should better not be afraid of heights. Just before you arrive in Silverton, there are several campsites along the beautiful Mineral Creek on the right, some of which are free of charge.
  • Once in Silverton, you can tackle the Boulder Gulsh Trail from the cemetery. This trail is quite steep in places, but rewards you with fabulous views. Wear appropriate footwear and I personally found a hiking pole quite helpful on the descent.
  • If you want to do a multi-day hike, we recommend the route from Silverton to Lake City, which leads a good 36 mi along an OHV track, but this one is not very busy. Of course, you can also rent an OHV in Silverton and ride the route in one day.
  • In an (not too big) off-road vehicle, slowly head northeast from Silverton on Animas Forks Rd to the ghost town of the same name. Visit the remaining mine and residential buildings and imagine the hard life of the workers there, the altitude and the harsh winters. If you are traveling with a camper, there is a small site where overnight stays are permitted (Please clarify beforehand whether it is still permitted!). And if you are not there with an OHV, don’t try to get north or east from here via the pass roads, you won’t have any fun.

Hiking a 14er

Are you fit and would like to climb a 14,000 ft or higher peak? The area around Silverton offers you the opportunity.

Handies Peak is one of the less technically demanding 14ers in Colorado, but the climbs are nonetheless strenuous and the altitude should not be ignored, especially if you have only been in the Rockies for a short time.

Da man von Silverton aus nicht mit einem normalen Straßenfahrzeug ins American Basin kommt, die Strecke von Westen über den Cinnamon Pass ist meistens stark ausgewaschen, empfehlen wir eine alternative Route von der Animas Forks Rd aus. An der Abzweigung der 26 von der 2 kann man sein Fahrzeug abstellen und findet den Trailhead dann etwas weiter nördlich rechts.

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