Visiting more Colorado Ghost Towns

Kerri planned a nice day of exploring for us. Not only were we looking for a place to boondock not far out of Silverton, but there were two ghost towns within reach as well. That made for a whole day of off-road adventures.

The boondocking ended up a bust… the three places we looked were legit, but massively over-crowded and muddy. I just can’t imagine why anyone else would want to pull in there only to squeeze in, only feet away from the neighboring rigs. It was worse than an inner-city RV Park, spacing-wise. instead, we decided to just stay exactly where we were, in a nice peaceful meadow on the other side of the mountains.

On the North side of Silverton, Colorado, up a long and bumpy (and wet thanks to the weather) dirt road sits the old ghost town of Animas Forks. As are most towns in this area, it was a silver mining town in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Only a few structures remain today, and thanks to the Forest Service and BLM, they are open to the public for exploration. So we did, as well as lines and lines of others in their OHVs, Jeeps, Quads, and motorcycles. Considering the length of rough-ride of the road to get out here, there was no shortage of people wanting to come visit the old town.

When we finished exploring we dropped into Silverton for a meal and continued exploring by hopping over another mountain pass to the old ghost town of Ironton, Colorado. At first the GPS coordinates sent us on a wild goose chase, but eventually we found our way down the right dirt trail (it was barely wide enough for the truck) and pulled right into what seemed to be the center of town. Of course, Ironton was another town that sprung up due to the silver mining, but did not last long into the 20th century. Dozens if structures still stand – barely – with the surrounding forest nearly completely taking the town back. Trees have grown so thick in the town now that you do not see one building from another. It made for a very exciting hour or so exploring around. Something new was popping out of the trees every few steps.

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8 Responses

  1. Marshall says:

    Sorry that the boondocking locations in Silverton didn’t work out for y’all. Cuz, let me tell you, they are superb! We spent 2-2 week stints there and LOVED it, one at the beginning of last summer and one at the end. We didn’t have the crowds, but did get snowed on. Also didn’t have the crowds when we went to Animas. Love that area!

    • Van-Tramp says:

      They would be great spots if not for the crowds, I agree. Shoulder season should be fine, we are just here right in the center of the summer. Next time!

  2. Skywalker says:

    Sorry for the naive question… Can you enter the building in those towns or just look from the outside?

    • Van-Tramp says:

      A lot can be entered to look around inside, although they are just empty other than all the mouse pooh.

  3. Michele Overacker says:

    That ghost town looks so neat!

    You aren’t planning on driving the Million Dollar Highway (US 550) between Ouray and Silverton, are you? I think Kerri would die, or at least have a nervous breakdown!šŸ˜± I know I would! We looked into it, since we will be in Durango and will be taking the
    Durango -Silverton Railroad in October, and I said “no way!” However, my friend who lives in Albuquerque had no problem with it.

    • Van-Tramp says:

      We were considering it at first, but as usual, we changed out planned route over the past weeks and will now be going back down to Messa Verde Ntnl Park.

  4. Michele Overacker says:

    We will be going to Mesa Verde on our way to Durango and to our friend’s who live in Albuquerque in October. Gary can’t climb the ladders into and out of the cliff dwellings because of his back, so we will have to view what we can from the overlook. If you are disappointed when you go there, don’t tell us, since we already have reservations in the national park campground.šŸ˜†

    • Van-Tramp says:

      Not disappointed in Mesa Verde at all. And the overlooks will give you great views of the dwellings.

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