No trip to southwest Colorado would be complete without a visit to the historic mining town of Silverton. Part of the scenic San Juan Skyway, Silverton is a national historic landmark. As a destination of the steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the town offers a fun and unique glimpse into the past. In addition to its mining history tours, Silverton is host to a variety of summer and winter outdoor sports, boasting some of the best 4×4 roads in the area.
With its rich mining history, Silverton offers plenty of locations to explore across the rugged terrain. The best way to experience the ghost towns and mining camps from the 1800s is to take a Jeep tour. Jeep rentals are available from Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours, or if you prefer to enjoy the ride into the high country and see the sights, we can take you on a group or personal 4×4 tour.
The Alpine Loop is an exhilarating Jeep trail through the San Juan mountains with many mines, ghost towns, and other points of interest along the way. Comprised of Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass, the Alpine Loop runs approximately 63 miles and includes two 12,000ft passes.
Engineer Pass is a 20-mile trail with its high pass peaking at over 12,800ft elevation. The beautiful scenery along the route includes waterfalls and ghost towns. This adrenaline-pumping road should not be treated lightly, but the breathtaking vistas are well worth the challenge. Miners used this road over 100 years ago. Now you can adventure in their footsteps.
Cinnamon Pass lies within the San Juan National Forest and is considered one of the most scenic Jeep trails. Connecting the ghost towns of Sherman and Animas Forks, the trail climbs over the Continental Divide and follows both the Gunnison River and Cinnamon Creek. Though it isn’t as high as Engineer Pass, Cinnamon Pass is close at over 12,600ft, providing breathtaking views.
A tour of the Jeep trails around Silverton reveals several ghost towns and mining camp ruins. The most famous ghost town in the area is Animas Forks. Situated high up in the San Juan mountains about 12 miles from Silverton, Animas Fork is best reached by Jeep.
Originally built by prospectors in 1873, Animas Forks evolved from a camp into a busy mining community complete with a saloon, newspaper, and post office. The high altitude forced residents to migrate south to the comparatively warmer Silverton during the winter months, but Animas Forks continued to prosper until the early 1900s. By 1910, mining in the area had ended, and Animas Forks was completely abandoned by the 1920s. Several of the original buildings remain, making it an excellent spot to experience history.
Experience the trails around Silverton with a Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours Jeep. We offer both rentals and 4×4 tours, so whether you’d like to go it alone or take it easy, we’re here to help make your Silverton outdoor adventure the best.