Overlooking view of Silverton in Colorado during fall season

25 Best Things to Do in Silverton, CO (in 2023)

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I’m a Colorado local and in this guide, I overview the absolute best things to do in Silverton, CO!

Silverton occupies less than one square mile, but the mountain town and surrounding San Juan Mountains offer plenty to explore. This round-up features year-round outdoor recreational opportunities, historic sites, and a few hidden gems you won’t want to miss!

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25 Best Things to Do in Silverton

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Tour

Climb aboard for family fun!

The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad passing along the Animas River
The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad chugging along the Animas River (photo: Bob Pool / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 247-2733 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, May – October | Entrance: $99+ adults, $65+ under 12, free under 4 | 👉 Browse Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad scenic tours

The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the town’s most popular tourist attractions. This steam-powered locomotive travels along the same tracks once used to transport mined ore.

Now, from mid-May through the end of October, tourists board vintage cars to witness spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains. Its breathtaking scenery makes it one of the best train rides in Colorado!

Animas Forks Ghost Town

Experience a famed ghost town.

View of cabins in Animas Forks Ghost Town
Well-preserved cabins in Animas Forks

📍 Google Maps 

In 1873, Animas Forks was a seasonal home to roughly 450 residents. The mining town had a bustling general store, post office, saloon, hotel, and 30 log cabins. But due to a series of busts, Animas Forks became a ghost town by 1920. 

You can reach one of Colorado’s best ghost towns by driving the unpaved Alpine Loop 15 miles into the backcountry. Peer into the past as you wander through the empty, historic structures.

👉 Further Explore: Take a Jeep tour to La Plata City, another abandoned mining town in the area.

Greene Street

Stroll downtown Silverton.

View of the colorful Greene Street with cars parked on it
(photo: MisterStock / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Hours: 6:30 am – 11 pm daily

Greene Street is a colorful collection of historic buildings. Each has been converted into quaint restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and places to stay in Silverton

Visit the impressive lobby of the Grand Imperial Hotel, decorated with Victorian furnishings. At The Bent Elbow Hotel, a honky tonk piano plays, and classic comfort is served. 

Before you go, pick up souvenirs at the Silverton Train Store, Fetch’s Mining and Mercantile, and other charming gift shops.

Ice Lake Trail

A challenging hike that rewards you with epic views.

Scenic view from the Ice Lake and the mountains around it
Ice Lake, lower basin, and the surrounding mountains

📍 Google Maps

The strenuous 8.3-mile hike along Ice Lakes Trail gains nearly 3,000 feet in elevation, but the views are worth the effort. Park at the dirt lot across from South Mineral Campground, then hike to the lower basin. Past the first lake, you’ll see waterfalls and lush wildflowers.

Views continue to amaze as you reach Ice Lake. The dramatic mountaintops of Golden Horn, Pilot Knob, and Vermillion Peak surround the aquamarine pool.

If you’re feeling brazen, hike an extra 1.1 miles northeast to reach Island Lake or head 1.75 miles south to Fuller Lake.

Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour

Ride a mine train into historic tunnels.

View of the tunnel underground in Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
(photo: Lost_in_the_Midwest / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5444 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, Opens May 2023 | Entrance: $30 adults, $15 under 13, free under 5 

On this tour, an authentic mine train will take you into the heart of Galena Mountain. Here, more than a century ago, prospectors sought out gold. 

Learn the history of the site and watch equipment demonstrate how miles of underground tunnels were formed. The veins of colorful minerals sparkle in the light of headlamps, amazing visitors. 

Above ground, you can pan for a valuable souvenir. Keep whatever bits of silver, copper, and gold you may find!

Million Dollar Highway

Take the famous scenic drive.  

View of the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton
The Million Dollar Highway leading to Red Mountain Pass

📍 Google Maps

The Million Dollar Highway is a 25-mile section of the scenic San Juan Skyway, connecting Silverton to Ouray. The Million Dollar Highway is one of the best road trips in Colorado, but is also known to be a nerve-wracking drive, full of hairpin turns through the high country. 

Drivers, stay alert and if traveling in the winter months, use a 4WD vehicle. If you need to rent, compare rates with Discover Cars, our preferred partner.

Silverton Mountain Ski Area

Ski backcountry powder. 

View of people on top of the Silverton Mountain Ski Area

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5706 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 3 pm daily, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays 

Expert and advanced skiers will love Silverton Mountain, where the powder is deep and the crowds are limited. Having a single lift and ungroomed trails, this probably isn’t an ideal location for families, nor beginner skiers and riders. 

Carry an avalanche pack, and from December through mid-March, note that a guide is required. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, reserve a heli-drop run and ski exclusive backcountry terrain!

While definitely not for everyone, for advanced skiers, there is no denying Silverton Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado.

Christ of Mines Shrine

Honor the San Juans’ mining history. 

View of a Miners Shrine sign in Silverton
(photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps

A 16-foot marble statue of Jesus Christ overlooks the town of Silverton, Colorado. Known as the Christ of Mines Shrine, it was erected in 1959 to honor past miners and the industry’s importance within the San Juans. 

To visit this remarkable work of art, visit the Anvil Mountain hillside and walk just a few hundred yards from the lot. 

National Historic Landmark District

Learn from local guides. 

View from the National Historic Landmark District in Silverton
(photo: Olga Lyubochkina / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5609 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, Opens May 2023

Silverton is one of Colorado’s best mountain towns and a National Historic Landmark in itself. The same distinction applies to the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Mayflower Mill. 

Purchase a Heritage Pass to gain discounted entry to the Mill, Old Hundred Gold Mine, San Juan County 1902 Jail, and Mining Heritage Center.

Blair Street

Walk the wild side of town.

Welcome sign to Blair Street in Silverton, Colorado
(photo: melissamn / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Hours: 9 am – 11 pm daily

Back in the Old West days, Silverton was geographically divided. Law-abiding churchgoers occupied Greene Street. Meanwhile, the town’s gamblers and dance-hall girls filled the saloons on “Notorious Blair Street.” 

Though brothels are now hotels and this rowdy crowd is long gone, visitors can still sense the era’s charm. Visit restaurants and shops including The Bent Elbow, The Avon, Old Arcade, and The Eureka Station.  

Summer Activities in Silverton, CO

Off-Road Backcountry Tours

Adventure into the San Juan Mountains.

View of jeeps driving along the Alpine Loop in Silverton
Jeeps driving the Alpine Loop to Animas Forks

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 247-3706 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, Opens May

Explore the Colorado backcountry with a side-by-side off-road vehicle. These modern UTVs can hold up to six passengers. With a built-in GPS, you can feel confident renting and driving solo. But if you prefer a guide, Pirates Backcountry Adventures has you covered.

Want a larger vehicle? Contact San Juan Backcountry to book a tour or rent one of their 4WD Jeep Wranglers! 

Both outfitters are conveniently located in downtown Silverton, Colorado. You’ll be in for an adventure, regardless of what vehicle you choose!

White Water Rafting

Splash down the Upper Animas River.

A group of rafters in Silverton

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 247-4789 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, Opens May | 👉 Browse Whitewater Rafting Tours on Viator

Rafting is one of the most popular things to do in Colorado, and Silverton is a great place to do it! From late May through early August, Silverton visitors can raft the Upper Animas River. This is one of the country’s most challenging commercially-run routes. 

For this experience, book a single-day or multi-day adventure with Mild To Wild Rafting Tours. Their professional guides will rush you through Class II-V rapids on the banks of 14,000-foot San Juan peaks.

If you’re a less experienced rafter or have children under 14, plan a midsummer trip. During this timeframe, water levels are lower and rapids are less difficult, but just as fun!

Farmer’s Market

Savor Palisade peaches, green chiles, and more.

A bunch of peaches in Farmer's Market

📍 Google Maps | Seasonal, Opens every Saturday starting February 4, 2023

Located at Columbine Park on Blair Street, the Silverton Farmers Market is a lovely summer activity. Browse a wide variety of fresh produce, including Colorado favorites like Palisade peaches and green chiles. Local vendors sell fresh flowers, artisan baked goods, and so much more.

Mayflower Gold Mill

See where prospectors mined for gold.

View of an old metal gold mining cart on track in Silverton

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-0294 | Website | Hours: Seasonal, Opens May – October

The Mayflower Gold Mill was the last big mill to be built in the San Juan Mountains. For that reason, it was the most advanced and longest-running mill in Colorado history.

Today, visitors can take a self-guided tour, learning how the ore was processed into precious metals. Some artifacts, such as the buckets and tram system that once transported gold, are still in their original place.

Horseback Riding

Trot down exclusive wilderness trails.

View of two cowboys riding their horses in Silverton

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 259-8590 | Website 

Fifteen minutes south of Silverton, horseback riders meet with San Juan Sky Outfitters. Their expert guides haul horses up Coal Bank and Molas Pass and obtain exclusive backcountry permits. 

For two hours, you can ride into the San Juan Mountains and enjoy stunning views. Witness wildflowers, jagged peaks, and an impressive 60-foot waterfall. 

Food & Drink in Silverton, CO

Avalanche Brewing Company

Drink with the locals.

View of vintage wood skis in Avalanche Brewing Company
(photo: Anne Richard / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5282 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 8 pm Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun; 11:30 am – 9 pm Fri – Sat; Closed Tuesdays 

Avalanche Brewing Company is a favorite in southwestern Colorado. In true Silverton spirit, several of their craft beers are named after historic locals. 

Their Fischer Pilsner honors the town’s first brewer. Romero’s Mexican Lager celebrates the Romero family who, for more than fifty years, ran a restaurant in the same building. Pair your pour with tacos or housemade pizza, perfect after a busy day of exploring. 

Thee Pitts Again 

Dine on Southern mesquite barbecue. 

View of Three Pitts Again BBQ in Silverton
(photo: melissamn / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5027 | Website | Hours: Opens May – October 

Famed for their feature on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Thee Pitts Again wowed host Guy Fieri. This award-winning, family-owned restaurant is sure to do the same for you, too.

Barbecue fans will love their pulled pork, beef brisket, and hearty sides. Don’t forget a slice of peach cobbler for dessert! 

Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory

Treat yourself!  

View of a funnel cake with sugar on it

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (479) 739-0997 | Hours: Opens May

This isn’t the standard funnel cake you’d find at the county fair. Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory creates extraordinary treats. 

Try their caramel apple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or lemon drop with powdered sugar. From strawberry cheesecake to cookies n’ cream, you won’t be disappointed! 

Golden Block Brewery

Cheers to craft beer and pizza.

View of the Golden Block Brewery sign and the colorful shops in Silverton
(photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5962 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 8 pm Wed, Thu, Sun; 11:30 am – 9 pm Fri, Sat; Closed Mon & Tue

Few things hit the spot more than a cold beer and a slice. Golden Block Brewery is a newer addition to Silverton’s restaurant scene. But, they’re quickly gaining popularity for their brick-oven signature pizzas. 

Try The Snow Cat featuring pepperoni and pineapple, or The Outdoor Enthusiast topped with bacon and smoked gouda.   

Handlebars Food & Saloon

Try rocky mountain oysters.

The Handlebars Food & Saloon sign in front of it
(photo: melissamn / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 970-387-5395 | Website | Hours: May – October

Upon entering Handlebars Food & Saloon, you’ll immediately notice the collection of Wild West bric-a-brac. Like the decor, the menu is Colorado-inspired with one of the state’s most famed dishes: rocky mountain oysters. 

Tourists, be warned – these deep-fried delicacies are not seafood! Rather, they’re battered bull testicles, served with Handlebars’ homemade barbecue sauce. Yum!

Winter Activities in Silverton, CO

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

Ski beginner and family-friendly slopes.

View of ski equipment in Kendall Mountain Ski Area

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 387-5522 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 4 pm daily, closed Monday – Thursday | Entrance: $26 adults, $18 under 19, free under 6 

If the backcountry terrain at Silverton Mountain is too intimidating, head to Kendall Mountain Ski Area. Entry is affordable, and you can even purchase half-day passes. Families and beginners will love the groomed green and blue trails accessible from the chair lift. 

After a morning of skiing, rent a pair of skates at the Kendall Mountain ice rink! Finish the wintery day with a cup of hot cocoa from the Lift Shack. 


Glide through deep powder.

View of a man driving a snowmobile in Silverton

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 247-3706 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily 

Even in the winter, the off-road vehicle companies in Silverton stay busy. Rather than a Jeep or ATV, rent a personal snowmobile from San Juan Backcountry. The engines in these sleds are powerful, allowing you to ride up and down the powder slopes.

Prefer riding with an expert? Pirates Backcountry Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours. Their vehicles can accommodate both single and double riders, perfect for couples and families with children over the age of 4. 

Sleigh Ride

Experience holiday magic. 

View of a sleigh with people on it

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 844-4049 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $79 adults, $69 under 13, free under 5

Take a delightful horse-drawn sleigh ride into the San Juan National Forest! Buck’s Livery, located at Bears Ranch, is a bit of a drive some Silverton, Colorado. Though nearly 30 miles south, visitors won’t be disappointed by this unique experience. 

Dash through the snow, then gather around the campfire for hot chocolate and holiday cheer. 

Purgatory Resort 

Be pampered at a luxury ski resort.

View of a snowy mountain in Purgatory Resort

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 247-9000 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily 

Purgatory Resort is also a bit of a distance from Silverton, roughly 22 miles south. But for those seeking an elevated après ski scene, fine dining restaurants, and spa services, this location is for you. 

With 13 lifts, the mountain offers a wide variety of terrain, great for all skill levels. Enjoy ski-in/ski-out access, soak in the heated pool, and check their special events calendar for live music, demo days, and more.

Silverton Powdercats

Go cat skiing and snowboarding.

View of people enjoying their ski experience in Silverton
(photo: Ted Alexander Somerville / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 422-2223 | Website | Hours: 8:45 am – 4 pm daily | Entrance: $550 adults

Generally, untouched powder requires a hefty hike through the backcountry. But Silverton Powdercats’ guided tours make the journey easy, yet adventurous. 

This experience includes 8-12 runs and is ideal for advanced and intermediate skiers. Avalanche kit rentals are also included in ticket purchases. Start at the top of Molas Pass and enjoy gliding through tree terrain, open fields, and steep mountain faces. 

FAQs About What to Do in Silverton, CO

What is Silverton famous for?

Silverton is famous for its mining history, which visitors can learn about on the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour and by exploring the National Historic Landmark District.

Silverton is also famous for its outdoor recreation. Activities include skiing at Silverton Mountain Ski Area, hiking Ice Lake Trail, and whitewater rafting.

What is the ghost town near Silverton?

The ghost town near Silverton is Animas Forks. Visitors can access this site by driving 15 miles along Alpine Loop, a backcountry road that’s open seasonally.


This mining town’s boom era may have passed, but its history and natural beauty continue to draw travelers from across the globe. Have fun exploring the best things to do in Silverton, Colorado!

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much! You beautifully described the quaint town so much so that I would like to visit!!! Do you know if there are any Tiny Home Villages there or in the neighboring areas? Thank you again!!

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