The most frequent question Silvertonians field each summer is, “So, when does your town close?”. It’s true that the bulk of our tourist traffic flows in the summer. The train is in full swing bringing thousands of visitors up that majestic canyon. And Silverton’s 4th of July Festival is not to be rivaled with its exquisite fireworks display, Rhubarb Festival, and brass band concert in the park. The Hardrock 100 and the Iron Horse Classic bring thousands of athletes for each event, and August’s Hardrock Holidays honors the mining tradition that built the town.
But what is little understood by our summer guests is that Silverton doesn’t close. It simply changes pace. As the frenzy of June through August passes, the mountains quiet while everyone and everything takes a breath.
September chill tells the Aspens it’s time for their show, and hills of brilliant green turn yellow, gold, and fire red. There is no better place in the San Juans to test your photography skills during our high mountain fall. Trails are quieter, and that peaceful walk in nature that you might have missed earlier can easily be enjoyed in later seasons.
Winter, too, brings its own brand of recreation and fun. Take those snowshoes and head up into the woods or along the river. In the crystalline silence you may see a fox, hare, or even a lynx padding through the snow. Cross-country skiers access groomed trails right from town. Kendall Mountain Recreation Center offers a family friendly ski hill, and if you have the skill and nerve, nothing beats Silverton Mountain for the ultimate extreme ski experience.
February brings a heckuva good time every President’s Day weekend when Silverton Skijoring hits Blair Street. Imagine the cultural cross-over of epic ski-racing and the finest horse and rider teams in the southwest matching skills to bring a purse race to this tiny community. While hundreds of spectators ring cowbells and cheer their favorite teams, horse and riders race along the course pulling a low-flying skier over jumps and through gates. It’s a popular two-day event, so if you plan to come, it’s best to book your hotel room early.
And no winter outing would be complete without a warm beverage at day’s end, available at any of Silverton’s restaurants or bars, many of which remain open in winter.
Our “off” seasons are November and April, so call ahead for availability of services during those months.