It's all in the marketing - one time Amimas Forks was said to be the "Largest City in the World ...at this
altitude!" Nestled in the San Juan Mountains at 11,584 feet and a great drive from Silverton. Dual Sport motorcycle or 4x4 is advised. If you don't have one, rent an ATV in Silverton and go explore the "Forks" and beyond. The road out of Silverton is easy for any vehicle; but then it gets pretty rough - not bad - but think I'd leave the Ferrari in the garage!
HA! That does remind me, a buddy of mine years ago had a couple of Lamborghini Countach and I asked if I could use one in a fashion shoot out at a place called Montana de Oro in California Sure he said.. Then I remembered the road got a bit rough and decided best to not use the Lambo. Same driving to Animas Forks. A street car "could" do it; but it will be yours - not mine!
The above photos don't show the depth of just how rough the raod can be. The video will.
The Ghost Town of Animas Forks
Animas Forks Jail William Duncan's House
Think of the harships establishing a town at 11,800 feet back in the1870s. But you know, they had everything; from the road and soon came the narrow gauge railroad. Electric service, telegraph even the telephone. So when William Duncan arrived in 1875 from Pennsylania he built a wonderful Victorian home in 1879.. The Duncans left in 1884. Life at this altiude brought its own challenge.
Winter with its snow depth, some storms bringing more then five feet. Avlhhalanches that would
isolate the town for months at a time. You had to be tough to live there. Even today the Forest Service closes the road. Best time to visit is late May through Mid October.
View from Animas Forks back towrads the road to Silverton.
Following film is a visit to the Million Dollar Highway this time for the little bit of snow we got on this
trip. If you will - a few nickels and dimes - along the way. The contrast of the white and the gold of the Aspens was beautiful.
really must ride the train. Pick it up in Durango and it rocks you like a babys cradle though some of the beauty only to be seen from the tracks. Ending in Silverton. In Silverton you have roughly a ninty minute break for lunch and shopping. Here is a movie I shot of the train a back in the early 1990's:
One of my favorite lunch or dinner spots is HANDLEBARS. Should you find yourself in Silverton now, they are are not open. Reopen in March.
Diner that evening was a huge Rib Eye, baked potato with tall the fixins, and a fine Cab.
See you next summer Ken!
Silverton. Located between Ouray and Durango in the heart of the high coumtry.. Elevation is 9,308 feet.
Even in the dead of Summer you can get snow, so be sure to bring a coat. At this altitude, even without snow, the nights can get down into the 30's. On this trip I did have snow for a couple of days and it was beautiful. Then the following days it was again in the 60's.
Silverton offers up lots of trings to do, of course the trian is a big attraction as is the 4x4 adventures; but there is white water rafting, horseback riding, fishing mountain bikeing and just a wonderful place to camp and enjoy the San Jaun Mountains. One of my favoite camp sites is just a few minuite drive towards Durango on Highway 550 to Molas Lake. If staying here, at the campground, the season starts in May and ends the end of September.
I arrived with rain. The following day was beautiful and I was able to drive up to Amimas Forks ghost town. That evening brought snow, not a bunch; but enough to contrast witht he Fall Color.
Before heading out to Amimas Forks Ghost Town; I had a wonderful breakfast at The Brown Bear Cafe. Built in 1893 the building that houses the cafe is built of bricks hauled in by the train the now carries tourists.
The building has a lot of history. For instance the bar was originally built for the Silver Queen Bar in Silverton back in 1898. Yours hosts are Fred and Patty and will be glad to tell you the history of the building.
More of the train; this time no music bed and you can hear it "breathing", and chugging and all the
bells and whistles.
In the next post we will drive up to Amimas Forks Ghost Town and revisit the "Million Dollar Highway.
I'll take you on a ride I did a few years ago up Ophir Pass on my motorcycle.
Stroll Cripple Creek
It also had a rather fancy brothel too. The Old Homestead Brothel was known to cater to the towns wealthiest men. The most famous madam was Pearl DeVere and she required a letter of application so as to check the gentlemans worth - no riffraff allowed! A trick cost $50 and to spend the night was $250.00 - $9,000 in todays money. In 1958, it was turned into a museum.
The family car is adiquate to drive the road; but I would not suggest towing a trailer for the tunnels are narrow and there are a few tight and narrow turns along the way. As for RV's, I drove it a few years ago in my Sprinter based RV and was able to clear the tunnels without an issue. I would not recommend the "wider" body RV's.
See You Down The Road
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