While staying in Cortez, Colorado, we took the drive, (not the train) from Cortez to Silverton in September. All I can tell you is this; it's incredible in the Fall. We opted not to take the train because of the length of time it took and having a dog, and we could not leave her that long by herself. We woke up early and headed out. We bypassed Durango and headed over Molas Pass.
Going over this pass was such a treat. The aspens were turning colors, the air was crisp, and it was a beautiful fall day. There was no snow on the ground, and I would not want to make this trip if there was. It's also a route that I'm not sure I would like to take my motorhome or 5th wheel. Some twisty corners and hairpin curves would cause me a little heartburn if I were traveling in anything other than a car.
Molas Pass, elevation 10,910 feet, is a high mountain pass in the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado. The views are stunning and well worth the trip. Once you reach the top, you will see there will be a viewing turn-off. I highly recommend taking that along with your camera to snap a few pictures.
About 15 minutes later, we were entering Silverton, Colorado.
The town is in a remote part of the western San Juan Mountains, a range of the Rocky Mountains. The elevation of Silverton is 9, 318, which of course, means there is a lot of snow in the winter. Silverton is known for mining, with a population of 637 from the last census in 2010. While we were there, the town seemed to run mostly on tourism. I did talk briefly to the server that waited on us in the restaurant. She told us that Silverton runs year-round. In the summer months, people visit to take in the beauty, and in the winter, they come for skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.
When walking downtown, there are many cute shops and restaurants. As with any town, they have been hit by the pandemic; many restaurants ran on a skeleton staff. Some of the shops and restaurants were only open for a brief period due to the inability to find workers.
If you are considering a trip to Silverton, I highly recommend doing it as a day trip. Taking small children, you will be spending a lot of time in the car. Bring snacks and things to keep them busy. Plan to stop on the pass (Molas Pass) to let them run around and get some energy out of them before making the trip into Silverton. You will not be disappointed at all; this trip in my book was a 5/5.
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