40.7K Followers

Home » North America » USA » Silverton, Colorado | Wild West mining town | Roadtrip USA (27)

Silverton, Colorado | Wild West mining town | Roadtrip USA (27)

Na Mesa Verde National Park and a pit stop in Durango for practicality, it was time to drive on again. We went out of town and into the mountains! We were finally able to escape the high temperatures, except for those of the auto† In this blog I tell you about Silverton in Colorado, a mining town located on the Million Dollar Highway† In addition, I will tell you about a beautiful hike, the famous Ice Lakes Trail which takes you past numerous waterfalls and eventually to two unprecedentedly beautiful ice lakes.

Greene Street | Silverton Colorado
Greene Street | Silverton Colorado

Plan your vacation to America here


Our journey through the United States and Canada

This article is part of a major one-year journey that we (Chris and Malou van Wereldreizigers.nl), are currently making by the United States en Canada† We started in New York City and are through Washington DC en Baltimore (where we shipped our RV), first traveled south (Florida) and then made a full round of the country.

Organizing this trip took a lot of time and energy. So we had to US B1/B2 visa of one year and we spent weeks working on it renovating our 4×4 camper† Then we got to work on the RV to America to ship and in hindsight it turned out to be a Dutch vehicle insurance in America to be one of the biggest challenges.

When that was all over, we could finally focus on the anticipation: figuring out and planning all the beautiful places we want to visit. I built the ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada of roughly 50.000 kilometers in Google maps and we are now making our dream come true! The interactive map can be viewed below.

More blogs from our trip through America and Canada

About Silverton

The small town of Silverton (location here.) is located in a valley between high mountain peaks. This is where the Rocky Mountains actually begin. Perhaps the name of the town gave you an idea; there used to be many silver mines here. In the area you will also find towns with names such as Ironton and Farmington.

Silverton as seen from a viewpoint on the Million Dollar Highway
Silverton as seen from a viewpoint on the Million Dollar Highway
Greene Street | Silverton Colorado
Greene Street | Silverton Colorado

The last mine closed here in 1992, but there has been a lot of tourism in the town for some time. It is a typical 'Old-Western Town' and it certainly shows.

Old Town Square | Silverton Colorado
Old Town Square | Silverton Colorado

Things to Do in Silverton

Visit old mines

Most of the mines have been lost, but a few have survived. If you are interested in this, you can visit this one. Mayflower Gold Mill en Old Hundred are examples of this. During such a tour you will learn how miners managed to extract gold, silver and other metals from the hard rocks.

Off-roading

In Silverton there are several rental providers of buggies (UTV) and quads (ATV). The best way to explore the area and mountains surrounding Silverton.

This way you will cross the mountain in no time and you will be rewarded with the most beautiful views. As of tomorrow, the devices will no longer be on the road, so they will ensure that they are transported to where they are allowed.

A UTV | Silverton Colorado
A UTV | Silverton Colorado

However, this activity comes with a hefty price tag. You rent a quad bike starting at 125 USD for two hours and a buggy starting at 225 euros for two hours. Tour are also offered and the prices for these are slightly higher.

Mountaineering

A more affordable activity, even free, is always walking. There are many walks mapped out for you in the area. You can find them by searching Google Maps for trailheads (where the hikes begin) or using the handy AllTrails app.

Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado
Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado

Ice Lakes Trail

AllTrails tells you which routes can be found in your area, how difficult a route is and how long it takes on average. Other people also share photos and reviews. Ice Lakes Trail is the most popular hike in the area and what a one!

Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado
Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado

You will ascend 900 meters during the walk, almost twice the height of the Empire State Building. During the walk the climb becomes more and more challenging. You start at an altitude of almost 3 kilometers and at the most you reach almost 4 kilometers.

Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado
Ice Lakes Trail | Silverton Colorado

Want to know more about the Ice Lakes Trail? We've written a full blog with many more beautiful photos, tips and information about this amazing hike.

Read also: Ice Lakes Trail, Colorado | Countless waterfalls and beautiful lakes

Train

There is a train track between Durango and Silverton and the route is beautiful! In addition, they are authentic (diesel and steam) trainsets from Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge. It is also possible to do a tour from Silverton. There are different routes to book and a single ride will cost you between 100 and 300 USD.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

First class return tickets is here. regularly bookable for USD 200, but are usually sold out. Prices depend on the route and which class you book. In Durango you can also visit the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. The entrance to the museum is free.

Shops and art galleries

There are dozens of colorful shops and art galleries in downtown Silverton. You will find special items in the shops. Gemstones, fossils, jewelry, antiques, Indian stuff and you name it.

The 4x4 RV for an antique shop in Silverton
The 4×4 campervan for an antique shop in Silverton
Gift shop | Silverton Colorado
Gift shop | Silverton Colorado

If you are a collector, you can have fun and lose your money. If you are just curious like me, it is also nice to admire the special items.

Empire Street | Silverton Colorado
Empire Street | Silverton Colorado
Greene Street | Silverton Colorado

In addition to shopping, it is also simply wonderful to stroll around here. Look around you! The old Saloon-style buildings are extremely well preserved. Many of these buildings have been there since the late 1800's.

Food and drink

Restaurants

Of course you don't have to go hungry in Silverton. We were looking for something delicious and wanted to go to the restaurant The Pickle Barrel food, because it has the best ratings on google. However, it was closed on Mondays…

We then saw the pink barbecue restaurant Tea Pitts Again and ordered spare ribs. We didn't regret that! We got serious with a homemade spicy barbecue sauce.

Fun at Columbine Roadhouse

After dinner we looked for fun. Close to our wild camping spot and just outside Silverton, live music and cold beer (their slogan) was at hand Columbine Roadhouse† Silverton itself was pretty extinct on Friday night, but maybe that's because everyone was here!

conviviality | Silverton Colorado
conviviality | Silverton Colorado
Live music at Columbine Roadhouse | Silverton Colorado
Live music at Columbine Roadhouse | Silverton Colorado

There was also a food truck on the site. Other visitors enjoyed the music, a beer and a game of cornhole. Dogs are also welcome and they obviously had fun.

Columbine Roadhouse | Silverton Colorado
Cornhole at Columbine Roadhouse | Silverton Colorado

Remark: Cornhole is really a typical American game. Usually you play this with four people, two against two. We have seen this several times on our trip, at campsites and at cafes.

In turn, you throw a small beanbag at a slanted board with a hole in it. If you hit, you get three points. When the bag lands on the board, you get 1 point, but your opponent can still knock it off the board. If a team reaches (not more than) 21, the team has won.

Should you visit Columbine Roadhouse, you will be surprised by the friendliness of the staff and owners. So don't forget to order their homemade jalapeño poppers! They are truly finger licking good!

Residence

Hotels

In Silverton you will find several hotels, often in old-western style. An overnight stay will cost you between 100 and 150 USD per night.

Camping

We found a nice wild camping spot just outside Silverton. It is not completely 'wild camping', because it is an official campground. It's called Kandell Campground on Mineral Creek and is under BLM (Bureau of Land Management). The best thing about this place is of course that it is completely free!

Kendall Campground and Mineral Creek | Silverton Colorado
Kendall Campground and Mineral Creek | Silverton Colorado

However, there are no amenities, with the exception of a pot toilet. We were right on the water and enjoyed it for about five days. We also filled our water tank with the icy river water from the mountains.

Remark: We usually don't just get water from a river, but the meltwater from the mountains near Silverton is known to be very clean. Also we have water filters installed in the motorhome that filter the water in such a way that it is safe to drink.

Kendall Campground and Mineral Creek | Silverton Colorado
Kendall Campground and Mineral Creek | Silverton Colorado

Along this road, which runs along the Mineral Creek River, many of these campgrounds and wild camping spots can be found.

Mineral Creek and the road that follows the river | Silverton Colorado
Mineral Creek and the road that follows the river | Silverton Colorado

Only for South Mineral Campground at the end of the road, you pay for a camping spot. I believe it costs about USD 34 per night. The only difference with the wild camping spots is that you then have a picnic table and fire pit.

Finally…

After Silverton we continued on the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray, another beautiful place and comparable to Silverton! You will read about this in the next blog, so see you next one!

PS. If you have any questions (whether that's for information or out of curiosity or whatever), don't hesitate to ask!


Plan your vacation to America here


Avatar picture

Malou

From an early age 👶 I have been fascinated by distant travels and other cultures. Seen many a country 🗺️, but certainly not ready yet! At this age (31) I often think about how to organize my life further. When I travel, I quickly let go of that and I can fully enjoy the here and now 🧘.
At home 🏠 I have a job in childcare, but at the moment I have a year off to go on an adventure with my husband Chris and the camper 🚐 in the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

Written by:

Avatar picture

Malou

SOUGHT

TRAVEL CHECKLIST

✔️ This travel insurance also covers orange covid-areas.
✔️ Compare and book the cheapest airline tickets here..
✔️ Save and book the best activities on GYG..
✔️ Multiple hotels? Then book with 20% Genius discount.
✔️ Save and reserve your airport parking spot.
✔️ Roadtrip† Compare and book a discount rental car.
✔️ Prepare for a trip? Score a practical travel Guide.
✔️ Need a backpack or suitcase? Offers here.
✔️ Gift† I'm giving away 500 times 10 euros!

Translate »
Copy link