Silverton

Tiny and nestled between two rugged San Juan Mountain passes, Red Mountain and Molas, Silverton has been a beloved destination since its mining days, especially those pursuing new heights outdoors, from OHV trails, backcountry camping and hiking, fishing and much more.

Many visit Silverton to board the northern terminus on the beautiful Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tour. Challenging mountain biking is found all around Silverton on old mining roads that today serve as excellent four-wheel routes, too. The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, over two passes to Ouray and Lake City, is a top four-wheel excursion. Hiking trails are accessible in the surrounding San Juan National Forest, including easy access to the Continental Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Silverton's best family destination in winter is Kendall Mountain, with ski lift tickets under $20, as well as rentals of sleds, ice skates, snowshoes and tubes. For the more intrepid skiers and snowboarders, Silverton Mountain is Colorado's highest and steepest ski mountain, with un-groomed, no-easy-way-down expert terrain. For something even more extreme, the resort's heli-skiing program gives you the kind of access you've only seen in Warren Miller movies.

Most of the downtown in a designated National Historic District and the San Juan County Historical Society, in the old county jail, is good for uncovering the past. Three other historic venues make for interesting stops: Old Hundred Gold Mine, Mayflower Gold Mill National Historic Site and the Victorian Grand Imperial Hotel.

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