Nowhere will you find a more authentic Western mining town than Silverton. With only 500+ year-round inhabitants, it has been described as “a gritty little mining town with Victorian pretensions.” Opened to mining in 1874 as a result of a treaty with the Utes, the mountains surrounding Silverton attracted fortune hunters from near and far. By 1876, the town had grown to over 500 determined and hardy residents servicing the miners. Today, it is best known as the destination of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway which floods the little town with tourists during the summer months. In the past, the D&SNG hauled in supplies for the miners and residents while returning to Durango with ore for Durango’s smelter. Silverton most recently gained fame as the home of the private training site used by snowboarder Shaun White prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics. If you’re into extreme skiing, this is where you want to be. If you’re into the Old West, this is where you want to be.
The D&S NG disgorges passengers at Silverton for lunch each day in the summertime, but if you want to experience the “real” Silverton, hang about and spend the night. Take a short trip up into the mountains to experience the Old One Hundred gold mine tour. Walk around an “authentic” mining town. Enjoy the night skies as nature made them and the peace of nature absent the sound of automobiles. Just enjoy the magic of the mountains.