Tag Archives: Silverton

Getting There Is Only Half The Fun

Silverton Colorado

The saying “getting there is half the fun” seems tailor made for Silverton, Colorado. However you choose to get here, be prepared for an incredible travel experience. Approaching from the south, you can reach Silverton’s 9,318 mountain elevation on one of the world’s greatest train journeys. Or from the north, take one of the world’s most exhilarating drives along the Million Dollar Highway, as we did from Ouray.

But getting to Silverton really is only half the fun. Exploring this old mining town’s boisterous past is the other half. Old west style architecture still dominates the city’s often dirt roads and tells the tale of a town once divided.

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Video of the Day: Million Dollar Highway

A stretch of mountain road connecting Durango, Colorado with our next stop in Ouray is often referred to as The Million Dollar Highway. Nobody knows if that dollar figure refers to the value of the gold and silver ore thought to be mixed in with the fill underneath the pavement or an attempt to put a price on the accompanying views. One thing everyone seems to agree on though is that driving the Million Dollar Highway, with its steep grades, hairpin turns and absence of guardrails can be one of the most dangerous trips in the country. It even made an appearance on an episode of Speed Network’s Dangerous Drives. So naturally, it’s a road we just had to drive.

All Aboard! Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

For 130 continuous years coal-fired steam engines have powered up the narrow gauge tracks that connect Durango, Colorado to Silverton. Originally constructed to haul workers to, and precious metals back from, gold and silver mines in the San Juan Mountains, the line now operates exclusively for the benefit of tourists.

Pulling restored 1880-era passenger cars, the locomotive winds along 45 miles of the Animas River as it climbs to Silverton’s 9,035 feet elevation. During its three-hour trip, the train clings to canyon walls, passes waterfalls, and gives views of 14,000 foot peaks that are often topped with year-round snow.

Is it any wonder the Society of American Travel Writers chose it as one of the World’s Top 10 Train Rides.

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