Nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Silverton, Colorado, is a picturesque town that beckons adventurers with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant community spirit. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or thrill-seeker, Silverton offers a myriad of activities to suit every taste. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Silverton, promising an unforgettable experience in this charming mountain town.
- Scenic Train Ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad:
Embark on a journey through time on the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This iconic steam-powered train takes you on a breathtaking 45-mile ride from Durango to Silverton, offering unparalleled views of the Animas River and the San Juan National Forest. The trip is not just a mode of transportation but an immersive experience that transports you to the bygone era of the Wild West.
- Exploring the Silverton Historic District:
Step back in time as you wander through the Silverton Historic District. Lined with well-preserved buildings from the mining boom era, the town’s main street exudes an authentic Old West charm. Visit the Mining Heritage Center to gain insights into Silverton’s mining history and the challenges faced by its early settlers. Don’t forget to capture the essence of the past with a stroll through the Memorial Park and its collection of mining equipment.
- Adventurous Jeep Tours:
For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Silverton is surrounded by a vast network of off-road trails accessible by 4×4 vehicles. Join a guided Jeep tour to explore the rugged backcountry, witness breathtaking alpine landscapes, and discover hidden gems like ghost towns and abandoned mines. Experienced guides provide not only a thrilling ride but also a wealth of knowledge about the area’s geology and history.
- Hiking in the San Juan Mountains:
Silverton serves as a gateway to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the San Juan Mountains. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual nature enthusiast, there are trails for every skill level. The Ice Lakes Basin Trail is renowned for its stunning turquoise alpine lakes, while the Colorado Trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. Make sure to check trail conditions and come prepared for changing mountain weather.
- Silverton Mountain Ski Area:
In the winter, Silverton transforms into a snowy wonderland, attracting avid skiers and snowboarders. The Silverton Mountain Ski Area is renowned for its challenging terrain and deep powder snow. If you’re an advanced skier seeking an adrenaline rush, heli-skiing is also available, providing access to untouched backcountry slopes.
- Silverton’s Art Scene:
Immerse yourself in Silverton’s vibrant art scene by exploring local galleries and studios. The town’s creative spirit is evident in the works of local artists who draw inspiration from the breathtaking surroundings. Consider attending art events or workshops to connect with the community and gain a deeper appreciation for the intersection of art and nature.
- Fishing in the Animas River:
If you enjoy angling, the Animas River provides excellent opportunities for fishing. The river is home to various trout species, and its pristine waters make for a serene fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, consider casting your line into the river and relishing the peaceful ambiance of Silverton’s natural surroundings.
- Visit the Silverton Brewery:
After a day of exploration, unwind at the Silverton Brewery, a local gem offering craft beers and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Sample a variety of handcrafted brews, enjoy a delicious meal, and engage in conversation with friendly locals. The brewery often hosts events, adding an extra layer of community charm to your visit.
- Ghost Town Exploration:
The San Juan Mountains are dotted with ghost towns that tell tales of the region’s mining history. Take a scenic drive or hike to explore places like Animas Forks or Eureka. These well-preserved ghost towns offer a glimpse into the past, with dilapidated structures, rusted mining equipment, and a sense of eeriness that sparks the imagination.
- Photography Expedition:
Bring your camera and capture the breathtaking landscapes of Silverton. Whether it’s the historic architecture, sweeping mountain vistas, or the play of light at sunrise and sunset, Silverton provides endless opportunities for photographers. Consider taking a photography tour or workshop to enhance your skills while documenting the town’s unique beauty.
- Silverton’s Annual Events:
Check the calendar for Silverton’s annual events and festivals, which showcase the town’s lively community spirit. Events like the Silverton Skijoring Race or the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run bring locals and visitors together for a celebration of sports, culture, and the outdoors. Attending one of these events can provide a unique and memorable experience.
- Relax at the Kendall Mountain Recreation Area:
During the warmer months, head to the Kendall Mountain Recreation Area for a day of family-friendly fun. Enjoy activities such as disc golf, mountain biking, and a playground for the kids. In the winter, the recreation area offers opportunities for sledding and tubing, making it a great spot for family recreation throughout the year.
- Silverton Rock Pirates Off-Road Rentals:
For those who prefer exploring off the beaten path independently, consider renting an off-road vehicle from Silverton Rock Pirates. Navigate the scenic mountain trails at your own pace and discover hidden gems that might be missed on guided tours. This is a fantastic option for adventure enthusiasts looking to customize their off-road experience.
Silverton, Colorado, is a destination that seamlessly blends history, adventure, and natural beauty. Whether you’re riding the historic train, exploring the town’s rich mining heritage, or conquering mountain trails, Silverton offers a diverse range of activities for all interests. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to create lasting memories in this gem of the San Juan Mountains.