Animas Forks: Explore A Historic Colorado Ghost Town At 11,000 Feet
Colorado Ghost Town On the Alpine Loop
Animas Forks is a ghost town, located about 12 miles northeast of Silverton with an elevation of 11,200 feet. You'll find Animas Forks on a 65-mile system of roads known as the Alpine Loop connecting Lake City, Ouray, and Silverton. Though off the beaten path, more than 100,000 people visit the region every year.
Great Colorado Mining History
This is some great history behind Animas Forks with the first log cabin being built in 1873 and becoming a thriving mining community in a few short years. About 450 people lived in Animas Forks by 1883, and the town even had its own newspaper, the Animas Forks Pioneer. The town had 30 cabins, a hotel, a general store, a saloon, and a post office.
Each fall, many residents would move to Silverton for the winter because of its "warmer" climate. The story is told of a 23-day blizzard in 1884 that covered the town with 25 feet of snow. Residents actually had to dig tunnels to get around town.
Once a booming mining town, profits began to decline, and the Gold Prince Mill closed in 1910. By the 1920s, Animas Forks had become a ghost town.
Animas Forks Today
Today, Animas Forks is a tourist attraction managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The nine standing buildings that remain have been stabilized, repaired, and restored. You'll find a parking lot with interpretive brochures and maps of the site.