DescriptionAfter the first major silver strike in 1871, Silverton became a prosperous mining community. Between 1882 and 1918, the Las Animas district mines produced $65 million in ore. The Grand Imperial Hotel, an 1880s showplace for silver kings, and the gold-domed San Juan County Courthouse are evidence of the opulence of Silverton's bonanza years.
Blair Street and its assorted 24-hour bordellos thrived. The infamous thoroughfare, with its false-fronted buildings recalling the Wild West, is a tourist attraction and was often used as a movie set.
Other remnants of yesteryear are several ghost towns, including Animas Forks, 12 miles northeast on CR 2. Note: CR 2 is mostly a gravel road, passable by two-wheel-drive vehicles. Past Animas Forks a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required.
The rugged San Juan Mountain Range, one of the most scenic parts of the state, is crossed by US 550 through Silverton and is part of the San Juan Skyway, a scenic byway. The section leading from Silverton to Ouray includes the spectacular Million Dollar Highway. San Juan County is a top destination for off-road adventurers; jeep tours and rentals are available.
Silverton is the terminus of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic coal-burning passenger train. Much of the surrounding region lies within the San Juan National Forest.
Visitor InfoSilverton Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center 414 Greene St. SILVERTON, CO 81433. Phone:(970)387-5654 or (800)752-4494
Self-guiding toursMaps for a walking tour of historic Silverton as well as jeep road maps are available at the chamber of commerce. Gallery and studio literature also is available.
Things to SeeMayflower Gold Mill Tour
Jeep Tours (Self-driving)Silver Summit Jeep Rentals