it's neighbors, Ouray and Telluride, Silverton was a prosperous
mining community during the late 1800's. At one time the town boasted
over 2000 residents and was one of the bawdiest, rowdiest mining
towns in the San Juans.
Today there are about 550 residents, many of them artists and craftsmen.
Because the town was never the victim of a major fire as so many
mining camps were, the buildings have been preserved. Many of them
have original furnishings, fixtures, stamped tin ceilings and polished,
mirrored back bars. Most of the streets are still dirt. The bordellos
have been turned into hotels, shops, galleries and restaurants.
Silverton is at the end of the Million Dollar Highway which started
23 miles north in Ouray (see Ouray
description). It is also the terminus of the Durango & Silverton
Narrow Guage Railroad. The
historic railroad has been in continuous operation for over 122
years, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives thru
the backcountry wilderness of the San Juan Mountains. You can ride
the train in either direction or both ways. We took the bus from
Durango to Silverton (about 1-1/2 hours over the mountains) and
rode the train back (about 4 hours). See Durango description for
more information and pictures from the train trip.
In the hills just outside the town, Christ of the Mines Shrine
looks out over Silverton. The
statue was dedicated in 1959 to the mining industry and all the
men who worked underground.
To view more photos from this area click here: Silverton
Descriptions Photos Map