Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Silverton, CO (8/26/2016)

Just outside Silverton is a picturesque valley and South Mineral Creek.  Several campgrounds are located within this lovely spot, but there are also trails to beautiful mountain lakes.  One hiking trail goes to Lower and Upper Ice Lakes, but it is a four mile hike with more than 2000 feet elevation gain.  We won't be taking that trail today, but will instead take the 4 x 4 trail to Clear Lake.  This rough road is about four miles long and climbs more than 2500 feet to reach a beautiful alpine lake at 12,000 feet above sea level.

By the time we started up the mountain, clouds and mist had settled in, threatening rain at any minute.  It was also pretty cool, dropping to 52 degrees at the top.  The road, which gets little or no maintenance, was also in bad condition, so it took us an hour to reach the lake.  Some of that time was due to stops for photos of the surrounding mountains and the two waterfalls along the way.

The lake is surrounded by jagged peaks, with lots of wildflowers thrown in for decoration.  However, there have been many more wildflowers when I have come here in the month of July.

Driving back down the mountain was much faster, taking only 50 minutes to reach South Mineral Creek Road, where we made a quick stop to see one of the waterfalls in the creek.

Then it was on to Silverton for a nice lunch at the Grand Imperial Hotel (photos at Silverton Travelogue).  We enjoyed old time piano music from Lacey Black, while the wait staff was wearing period costumes.  It was a fun experience all around.  Leaving the restaurant, we saw that it had rained while we were inside.  While there was a break in the weather, we walked the main street and checked out some of the shops and galleries.  Pam bought some nice things from my favorite shop, Storyteller Indian Store. 

These photos show some of the color and style of Silverton and the mountains around the town.

For a video of the road to Clear Lake, made on my last visit in 2014, go to Road To Clear Lake .  At that time, there was so much snow left in July, the road was blocked and I had to walk the final few hundred yards to the lake.  That's why the video does not include a view of the lake itself.


  1. There's a famous story about the mayor of Silverton. Seems Stanley (I think that was his name) grew up with an affinity for women's clothing. He ran the local movie house (that had been run for years by his father) and whenever he scheduled a new movie, he would dress up as the female lead, and so on. The town accepted him without a problem, and even elected him mayor. The famous part is when a bunch of rowdys from a neighboring town came to town to make trouble and harass him, the whole town stood by him and defended him.

    1. Thanks for that interesting story, Mike. Funny that no one in Silverton has ever mentioned that incident to me.