Silverton, Colorado and the Million Dollar Highway

The Colorado landscape is dotted with small mining towns, some are long abandoned, some are considered haunted, and some are being resurrected. Silverton, Colorado is one such town.

To get to Silverton from our home base in Ouray, we drove the Million Dollar Highway. Theories as to how this road got its name range from the cost to build it to the incredible views along the way. Whichever you believe, one thing is certain. The spectacular views and nerve-racking drops off the side make for a million-dollar driving experience.

Our Views on the Million Dollar Highway

Silverton – Shopping & Dining

Silverton is the epitome of an old mining town. While the main drag is paved, the side roads are all still covered in dirt, creating an atmosphere of an old west town.

We were in Silverton in mid-May, just a week before the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad began running. Shops and restaurants were just beginning to open, some having been closed for the winter and others due to COVID. Shopkeepers told us that business would definitely be picking up once the train began running.

Our Favorites – Just a sampling of what Silverton has to offer

Coffee Bear – great coffee in a relaxed, charming atmosphere, including a roof-top deck overlooking the San Juan Mountain Range

Shady Lady Restaurant & Saloon – Once the last remaining brothel in Silverton, Shady Lady is now a family-owned restaurant and saloon. We had a delicious lunch and enjoyed seeing all the memorabilia scattered around this historic business.

Old Arcade Trading Post – Housed in a former brothel, this shop has a wide selection of souvenirs, wall art, and even homemade fudge.

The Orange Crate – Tucked in between two larger stores and across from Coffee Bear, this shop was a surprise. Full of unique gift items, t-shirts, and a large hat selection (which Mike took advantage of), we were glad we stopped in.

Our Views of Silverton


While many of the attractions hadn’t yet opened for the tourist season, we enjoyed our stroll around Silverton. We’ve heard that once the train starts running, the establishments can get quite crowded. Not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind if you don’t like crowded touristy spots.


    • Thank you for reading! We had heard that a lot was closed the week before, so we were glad we waited until May 15. There were still some businesses closed, including some restaurants that had been recommended and the museum.

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