- Silverton is a secluded little town sporting wonderful Nineteenth Century architecture along its few streets. It lies at an elevation of 9,300+ feet where Mineral Creek joins the Animas River. The town exists in a small mountain park between Red Mountain Pass, to the north, and Molas Pass, to the south. Ouray and Durango lie on the other sides of the passes, respectively.
The terrain north, east and south of the townsite is riddled with abandoned mining structures and equipment. The spider web of mining supply routes from Silverton to the mines has become an extensive network of four-wheel drive roads for today's recreational drivers. They are also provide good terrain for mountain bikers and motorcyclists. The mines also brought the narrow-gauge railroad to Silverton, which remains as a popular attraction during the summer months. The Durango-Silverton Railroad takes visitors from Silverton to Durango along Molas Pass.
Beyond the mining districts the town is surrounded by the public lands of four National Forests. The Uncompahgre National Forest lies to the northwest of Silverton, with the Lizard Head Wilderness Area immediately west. The San Juan National Forest encompasses land south of Silverton including the Weminuche Wilderness, which is immediately south. The Rio Grande National Forest lies east of Silverton. The Gunnison National Forest lies north of the Continental Divide, northeast of the mines.
Recreation - Silverton is a great spot to begin a wilderness adventure, be it in a kayak, or on foot with a backpack. The upper Animas River offers expert kayakers an outstanding run. The many hikes and climbs in the Needles Range offer a nearly endless supply. Fishing adventures should be relegated to north or south of the mining district as it has tainted many of the rivers with various minerals. This is an exceptional area for jeeping adventures.
Climate - Nestled high in a mountain valley between two steep mountain passes, Silverton receives large amounts of snowfall in the winter, but has cool summer days. Due to the rugged nature of the San Juan Mountains, avalanches are common in the winter.
Silverton is in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. U.S. Highway 550 is the only paved road that passes this small mining town. Nearby, the Animas and Rio Grande Rivers start their flow to the ocean.