Why not spend the night in Silverton and take a day to explore the beauties of the Alpine Loop. The 65-mile back country by-way will convince you that the Rocky Mountains earn their name. It will also convince you that the miners and settlers who first settled this region were a tough breed indeed.
You can rent a 4X4 vehicle or an ATV in Silverton and depart early for your adventure. Start by following the Animas River for a short drive until you reach Animas Forks, a mining ghost town. After exploring that area, you’ll head straight up via a series of switchbacks to the 12,600 foot (3800+ meters) Cinnamon Pass. No sooner will you reach the top when you’ll be invited to drop back down into the beautiful American Basin, trailhead for hikers up Handies Peak (14,048 ft, 4200+ meters). This is a beautiful spot for a picnic, especially in full summer when the wildflowers are in bloom.
After lunch, continue on to Lake City. Take a little time to explore this quaint mountain town before heading back onto the Loop and taking on Engineer Pass, another 12,000+ foot pass. Drop back down into the Animas watershed and complete your 65-mile adventure with a beer in Silverton’s brewpub. You’ve earned it!