We make a one-year tour through the Netherlands with our Dutch camper USA. In Mesa Verde National Park and a pit stop Durango for practical matters, 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. In this blog I will tell you about it Silverton in the US state Colorado, a real wild west mining town that lies on the Million Dollar Highway. You can find the exact location on Google Maps here to look at.
But the town of Silverton isn't the only thing of interest here. In this article I will also tell you about the environment. You can undertake beautiful hikes here, the famous one Ice Lake Trail which takes you past countless waterfalls and eventually to two incredibly beautiful ice lakes, is one of them. We also camped wild here for 5 days, right on a beautiful river. In retrospect, this turned out to be one of the most beautiful wild camping spots in the US!
Table of contents
The ultimate tour of North America
This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.
We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
- Tour America | Amelia City
- Tour America | Amelia Island
- Tour America | Annapolis
- Tour America | Ice Lake Trail
- Tour America | Kennedy Space Centre
- Tour America | KeyWest
- Tour America | Miami
- Tour America | New York City
- Tour America | Ouray
- Tour America | Salt Lake City
- Tour America | Savannah
- Tour America | Seattle
- Tour America | Silverton
- Tour America | St Augustine
- Tour America | Starbase SpaceX complex in Texas
- Tour America | Washington DC
- Tour America | Wynwood
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
- Tour America | All National Parks (list)
- Tour America | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Tour America | Death Valley
- Tour America | Dinosaur
- Tour America | Everglades
- Tour America | Glacier
- Tour America | Grand Canyon (helicopter tour)
- Tour America | Grand Teton
- Tour America | Great Sand Dunes
- Tour America | Mesa Verde
- Tour America | Rock Mountain
- Tour America | Yellowstone
- Tour America | Yosemite
5. Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries compare | TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies compare | WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives compare | Americaplus.
- Cruises and city trips compare | Travel deal.
- Flight tickets compare | Skyscanner, TUI, KLM. as KAYAK.
- Rental cars compare | Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities compare | GetYourGuide.
- Campsites reservation| RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts reservation | Booking.com.
- SIM cards order | USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at airport | Parkos, Central parking of park care.
- travel items (suitcases, world plugs, etc.) | Bol.com.
The small town of Silverton (location here ) is located in a valley between high mountain peaks. This is where the Rockies actually already. Maybe the name of the town already 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 en Farmington, there used to be mainly iron mines and farmers.
The last silver mine closed here in 1992, but there has been a lot of tourism in the town for some time now. It is in fact a typical 'Old-Western Town' and that is certainly visible. It seems as if the town has stood still in time for almost 100 years.
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.
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.
There is a hefty price tag attached to this activity. You rent a quad starting at 125 USD for two hours and a buggy starting at 225 euros for two hours. Tours are also offered and the prices for these are slightly higher.
A more affordable activity, even free, is always walking anyway. Many walks have been mapped out for you in the area. You can find them by searching Google Maps for trailheads (where the hikes start) or using the handy app AllTrails.
Ice Lake Trail
AllTrails tells you which routes are available 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 walk in the area and what a one!
You will go up 900 meters on this hike, almost twice the height of it Empire State Building. During the walk the climb becomes increasingly challenging. You start at an altitude of almost 3 kilometers and reach a maximum of almost 4 kilometers. A tough hike.
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.
There is a train track between Durango and Silverton and the route is beautiful! Moreover, the authentic (diesel and steam) trainsets are from Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge. It is also possible to do a round tour from Silverton. There are different routes to book and a single ride will cost you between 100 and 300 USD.
First class return tickets are 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.
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.
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
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 a lot of meat 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!
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.
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!
In Silverton you will find several hotels, often in old-western style. An overnight stay in the low to mid-range will cost you between 100 and 150 USD per night in the low season and as much as 150 to 250 USD in the high season. You will find availability and current prices here .
We found a nice wild camping spot just outside Silverton. It is not quite 'wild camping' because it is an official campground. It is called Kendall Campground to the Mineral Creek and falls under BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Of course, the best thing about this place is that it's completely free! You can get the exact location here find on Google Maps.
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.
Along this road, which runs along the Mineral Creek River, many of these campgrounds and wild camping spots can be found. You don't have to book these in advance, it's all first-come-first serve.
Only for South Mineral Campground at the end of the road, you pay for a camping spot. You must also book these in advance. This campground costs about USD 34 per night. The only difference with the wild camping spots is that you have a picnic table and fire pit. As far as we're concerned, it's not worth the $34.
Silverton is a unique historic town worth visiting. However, it is so small that you have seen it in a few hours. Nevertheless, it is worth a visit. What makes this place so attractive are the incredibly beautiful places for wild camping, right on the river. From here you can also undertake various day hikes, such as the beautiful Ice Lakes Trail. That Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway is between ouray and Durango, is another reason to come here as far as we're concerned. The Million Dollar Highway is one of America's most beautiful routes for the car or camper.
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
- Itineraries : TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies : WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives : Americaplus en Travelworld.
- Cruises and city trips for America you book with Travel deal.
- Flight tickets for America you book with TUI, KLM, KAYAK en Skyscanner.
- Rental cars : Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities in America you book via GetYourGuide.
- Campsites in National Parks you book on RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts in America you book with Booking.com.
- SIM cards : USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at the airport you can arrange via Parkos, park care of iParking.
- travel items (suitcases, bags, world plugs, etc. can be ordered at Bol.com.