Sitting just over the mountains from Telluride, Silverton’s remote locale has preserved its rustic feel and begun to attract a new kind of visitor looking for backcountry adventure.
- Silverton is a history-rich mountain town with a rustic atmosphere and beautiful scenery.
- The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad cuts through beautiful mountain terrain and is a great way to visit Silverton in the summer.
- The services here are basic but there are options.
Only a rugged mountain pass separates Silverton from Telluride, yet the atmosphere of each couldn’t be much different. While Telluride can be a bit of glitz and glamour, Silverton is still rough-and-tumble, a place where snowmobiles can be the vehicles of choice. But things are slowly changing in this rustic mountain town. Always a popular destination in the summer, the birth of Silverton Mountain Ski Area has sparked winter tourism and kept town running year-round. New businesses have slowly moved in and the town now has a brewery and a distillery.
And like much of the San Juan Mountain towns, the scenery is spectacular and the people are friendly.
Silverton, Colorado, is sandwiched between two rugged mountain passes in the San Juan Mountains. The town is 23 miles south of Ouray and 50 miles north of Durango.
You won’t find a wide array of supplies here, but there are enough small restaurants and hotels to keep you fed and warm.
There are remote 14,000-foot peaks in every direction and no major towns for miles, so if you like experiencing wild and unspoiled wilderness, this is the place. Hiking, mountain biking and four-wheeling are the summer draws. Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are the winter sports.
A railroad connecting Durango to Silverton was originally constructed in 1879 in order to haul silver and gold ore out of the mining-rich San Juans. The train now shuffles passengers 45 miles through narrow canyons, stunning peaks and wild mountain vistas and is a great way to visit Silverton while comfortably soaking in the remote backcountry.
The Silverton Brewing Company brews seriously good beer and is ideal for an après drink or two.
To reach Telluride from Silverton, CO, head north on Highway 550 toward Ouray. Take a left in Ridgway onto CO-62 and then a left on CO-145 to Telluride.