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Thread: Animas Forks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    St. Louis, Mo area

    Default Animas Forks

    About 12 years ago, I took my son & a friend from Silverton to Animas Forks to ride the ATV's. It was great. We stopped in a flat area on the way up the gravel road to Animas & camped in a large flat field alongside a dry creek bed. The place was at the foot of what seemed to be out of ancient Roman ruins. There were steps across the side of the hill that were supposed to be an old mine processing site. There were still large dump trucks running up the well kept mountain road. A local said that there used to be a large lake at the end of the road which found it's way into the gold mine, & closed it for a while. While we were there, we rode up the road about 3/4 mile & found an old mine on the right side. Upon further inspection, we noticed the iron gate at the entrance was open enough to get we did. Inside it was great. There were ice stalagtites hanging from ceiling to floor, & gold dust all over the place. I was told it was most likely "fools gold" & I never stopped to have it looked at in town. It was well worth the side trip. While we were camped down below, we were awakened in the morning by about a thousand sheep running through the campsite on their way up Cinnamon Pass to graze. I talked with the "cowboy" herder at the end of the herd & he said he gets way up off the pass, pitches a tent about as big as a large motel room (stove & all), & watches the herd. Someone shows up a couple times a week with a pick-up to bring hay for the horse, food for the Austrailian Sheppard, & move his stuff to the next meadow. We all enjoyed the trip. You could spend a few days around there & not see it all (Silverton, Animas Forks, Lake City, etc.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Big Bear Lake, CA

    Default Silverton, CO

    That area of Southwest Colorado is absolutely beautiful and exciting; we took the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton one-way, stayed at a 1880's hotel in Silverton, rented a Jeep and explored the area. (When the tourist-laden trains leave, Silverton becomes really peaceful and quiet...with its wooden sidewalks and dirt roads it is like stepping back in time...highly recommended for us GT'ers!) There even used to be a railroad (Silverton Northern RR) from Silverton to Animas Fork! On the "Million Dollar Highway" (should be named "Heart Attack Highway"; hold on to your steering wheel tight!) between Silverton and Ouray there are some ghost towns a short distance off the highway; we were happy to see that they were in reasonably good shape! There is also a large, intact mill (Mayflower Mill) that you can walk through and explore. We then returned to Durango on a later train. We love this area and plan to return!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004



    I suspect the area you camped in was the old Eureka townsite. Look here and see if the photo bottom left looks familiar. What you were seeing was the foundation of the Sunnyside Mill.

    Additionaly there are numerous ghost towns, mountain passes to explore in the area. Here are just a few that are on my site. Ironton, Frisco Mine, Engineer pass, Cinnamon pass, Howardsville, Animas forks Carson etc etc.
    Visit Colorado Ghost Towns at

    No Sales pitch just plenty of photos and stories.

    "I led a quieter life before I got hearing aids." Mike


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