10 Things to Do in Silverton That You Shouldn't Miss

July 25, 2017 Terina Blouin

The town of Silverton is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in San Juan County, Colorado, United States. Silverton is a former silver mining camp, most or all of which is now included in a federally designated National Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. The town population reached its nadir at 531 at U.S. Census 2000. It has grown since then.
Restaurants in Silverton

1. Million Dollar Highway

Hwy 550, Silverton, CO
Excellent
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5 based on 464 reviews

Million Dollar Highway

A six mile section of the San Juan Skyway with incredible views.

Reviewed By MellohYellow - Richmond, Texas

We have traversed this Highway a few times - this time the first in the dead of winter. Incredibly scenic, well maintained for a high mountain road but definitely some white knuckle portions. Be a safe, courteous driver and you will experience true beauty.

2. San Juan County Historical Society

1557 Greene St. - Courthouse Square, Silverton, CO 81433 +1 970-387-5838
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5 based on 114 reviews

San Juan County Historical Society

14,000 Sq. Ft Mining Heritage Center. One of the BEST Mining Museums in the country! Also see the 1902 fully renovated 1902 jail next to Mining Museum. A must see!!!! Open Memorial Day Weekend to mid-October.

Reviewed By rp-yp - San Mateo, California

Stopped by and was impressed with the range of displays in this museum. The original jail, displays about living in Silverton and one the largest collection of mining equipment and mining information that I have ever seen. A worthwhile visit but there is a second...MoreThere is an elevator.

3. Ice Lakes Trail

Silverton, CO
Excellent
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5 based on 63 reviews

Ice Lakes Trail

This breathtaking hike can be done in a day: 3.5 miles one way that takes hikers from 9,900 feet to over 12,200 feet, with many steep switchbacks, waterfalls and sweeping views along the way.

Reviewed By clreichert24 - Arlington, Texas

Starting out getting our feet soaked in a waterfall wasn't a great start, but luckily I brought an extra pair of socks. The trail through the forest was nice and leisurely, but the incline up to the actual lake was very snowy and a bit tricky. Ice lake was almost completely frozen over, however we trekked over to island lake after, and boy was that beautiful. On our way back around, we lost the trail for a bit due to the snow, but found our way and had a nice easy hike back. Highly recommend!

4. Silverton Mountain

6226 State Hwy 110, Silverton, CO 81433 +1 970-387-5706
Excellent
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4.5 based on 63 reviews

Silverton Mountain

Reviewed By Teresa L - Colorado

Being in Silverton is very much like stepping back in time; the shops are well-stocked & lively in the summer, & there are many eating establishments & diversions, such as the Silverton railroad trip to create a lovely day! The main street is lined with shops of all sorts catering to tourists---& the original/refreshed architecture from the "Old West" (1880s, etc.) is great to see in lively colors as you stroll along the sidewalks...We had a great day, & so will you! :)

5. Mayflower Gold Mill

135 County Road 2, Silverton, CO 81433 +1 970-387-0294
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4.5 based on 39 reviews

Mayflower Gold Mill

The American West once had hundreds of precious metal mills. Now, most are in various stages of ruin. One important exception is the Mayflower Mill, (or the Shenandoah-Dives Mill) located two miles northeast of Silverton. A National Historic Landmark, this wonderful piece of mining history is open to the public. Witness first hand how the miners were able to extract gold, silver and base metals from the hard rock ores in this complete processing mill. The San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado were one of the last ranges to be prospected. Although some prospectors were still looking for placer gold, it was becoming quite evident that if any wealth was to be made in the San Juans, it was going to be in underground lode mining.

Reviewed By Cherie P - Pahrump, Nevada, United States

The Mayflower Mill has a self guided walking tour that is very educational. It is best to tour the Old Hundred Gold Mine tour and then go to the mill to learn how processed the ore. The mill closed in 1991 without even giving the workers notice, so the mill looks the same as a typical work day would have back then. It is very interesting, informative and fun with some interactive displays.

6. Silverton Visitor’s Center

414 Greene St., Silverton, CO +1 970-387-5654
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4.5 based on 47 reviews

Silverton Visitor’s Center

Reviewed By Debra I

We stopped in as our first stop to Silverton. The ladies were very kind and informative. We could tell they loved Silverton and it's rich history. The restrooms are very clean as well as the rest of the building. They have a variety of books, postcards and other items of interest. Spend a few dollars here and help make sure it stays open for the next group of people. A must stop!

7. Ice Lakes

Silverton, CO
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5 based on 27 reviews

Ice Lakes

High-altitude basins in Colorado's San Juans offer excellent hiking opportunities.

Reviewed By Steve B - Imperial, Missouri

With easy access, so much beauty, and the possibility to do non-technical summit scrambles (in season), Ice Lake Basin has become one of the most popular hikes in CO.
My method of beating the crowds, and the "monsoon" storms, is to car camp for free along one of the pulloffs on FS 585 the night before, set the alarm to wake up about 5AM, quick breakfast snack, start hiking. FS 585 is the gravel road that connects US 550 to the trailhead and South Mineral Campground. If all of the free sites are taken, please be advised that overnight camping in the trailhead parking lot is NOT allowed, so plan accordingly.
One unique feature of this hike is that you get two basins for the price of one, each having it's own ecosystem. The Lower basin breaks out right at treeline, and hosts a large variety of summer wildflowers. There's water everywhere-ponds, streams, rivulets, falls. Very lush. Make the effort to switchback up the cliff to the Upper basin, the trees disappear, but there's more lakes, plus some of the shorter, high elevation wildflowers. If you know where to look, there's some mining ruins. And, a closer view of the colorful, crumbly rock that makes up the San Juan Mountains. If you happen to make it to the top of a mountain, the summit views are unforgettable!
Warning. Even if the skies are bright blue, and the Silverton forecast is clear, bring adequate clothing! This includes a legit raincoat, and I'd recommend legit rain pants as well. Especially during summer "monsoon" season, storms can flare up quick, bringing cold winds, rain, flurries, sleet, or all of the above. And keep in mind, if thunder and lightning are present, you're very vulnerable up high. Don't keep going up to more exposed, higher areas, one million volts always wins, head back to lower ground immediately. On the other end of the weather spectrum, bring high SPF sunscreen and lip balm, plus sunglasses. The UV rays are really intense at high altitudes.

8. Kendall Mountain

Silverton, CO
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5 based on 22 reviews

Kendall Mountain

Small ski resort area encompassing approximately 35 acres that offers eleven trails for Alpine skiing.

Reviewed By tweenah - Tucson, Arizona

What great fun, kick sled races, fireworks, horse shoes, fat tire bike race, talent show, chili cook off... And more in one weekend in Silverton, co. Like stepping back in time when you drive down the mountain. Friendly and welcoming town everyone knows everyone.

9. Silverton Powdercats

Highway 550 Mile Marker 65, Silverton, CO 81433 +1 970-385-7288
Excellent
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5 based on 13 reviews

Silverton Powdercats

Reviewed By skibum187 - Durango, Colorado

I've been skiing with Silverton Powdercats a hand full of times and the experience is always great! The skiing has been phenomenal, with a variety of terrain suitable for just about anyone. The guides are friendly and laid back, yet still very professional and safe. I've skied with a few other cat skiing companies in and out of Colorado, and I have to say my best and most enjoyable days have been with Silverton Powdercats.

10. Island Lake

Silverton, CO
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5 based on 9 reviews

Island Lake

Set against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs, this scenic lake is an excellent destination for hikers and fishing enthusiasts.

Reviewed By JoelMarty - Newton, MA

As the other reviewers have noted, the Upper Ice Lake is one of the premier hiking destinations in Colorado. But after you have caught your breath (physically and spiritually), it is time to break away from the awe-inspired crowd and head up to Island Lake. Don't worry - it will not be too difficult or to long, and it promises to be the icing on an already rich cake.

If you do not have a trail map or guide book, don't despair. Look behind you from the near shore of the Ice Lake and up a hill to the left. You should be able to make out the trail. To get there, you will have to do a relatively easy ford over the stream that feeds into the Ice Lake, but, once you are over this, it is a relatively modest trek up and around the bend to view the Island Lake. It has iridescent blue coloring and an almost jewel-like setting for the little island in the middle. A great place to have your lunch, and then head back down.

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