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Summer Vacation Ideas

Historic Silverton holds a prestigious place amongst the great communities created during the gold rush of the early 19th century. In fact, the mining here has made it not only a very popular tourist attraction, but a protected Historic National Park. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, this was originally the home of the Ute Indian tribe, but during the gold rush, it was transformed into a very popular Mining town. Since then, it has become a vibrant tourist attraction due to its pristine location in the Rockies and its perfectly restored vision of life during the mining generation of the nineteenth century.

Scenic Drives

Make sure you stop by the Black Canyon. The entrance to the National Park is just eight miles east of Montrose, off Hwy. 50. This is a one-mile-deep canyon that was carved out by the Gunnison River over millions of years. It is simply a spectacular site you will never forget. The canyon—appearing to be black at the surface—will take your breath away at the shear height from top to bottom. Hiking to the bottom of the canyon is definitely for the experienced and not faint of heart, but for anyone up to the challenge make sure you are prepared with the necessary equipment like a Camelback full of water, food, layers of clothing, and sunscreen. The key is to be prepared. In addition, most trails at the canyon require rock climbing gear like ropes, carabineers, gloves, and the correct shoes.


This is a great place for hiking. While hiking, you get spectacular views of the surrounding lush green pines, vegetation in the mountains, and the classic town of Ouray below. There are many trails varying in length, whether you are the experienced hiker or just looking for an easy hike to take in the views. The Lower Cascade Trail is a beautiful hike that gives the less experienced hiker a beautiful trek to the Cascade Falls. This area also has horseback riding trails.

Hot Springs

When you are done hiking make sure to stop by the Ouray Hot Springs. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting pools ranging from 88 to 106 degrees while viewing the amazing peaks wrapping around the town.


What better way to spend your summer vacation and experience a glimpse to the past than to dig for gold. The gold rush may be long over, but that area is still full of gold. Pacer Gold, the gold flake located in the bottom of stream beds, can be easily found with your average pan (just imagine that classic picture of men crouched on the river banks with pans in there hands). If you don’t know how, there a few great tours to help you on your way to striking gold.


Another fantastic way to reach into the past is to trek down the old wagon trails in a 4x4 jeep. Enjoy plenty of old classic sites and best of all, visit some ghost towns, abandoned since the end of the gold rush. These picturesque locations offer a supreme view to life during mid to late 1880’s. Also, don’t forget your pick, there’s plenty of gold to go around.

Mountain Biking

A healthy way to enjoy your summer vacation is mountain biking. The area offers exciting bike trails all through the glorious San Juan Mountains. If you don’t feel like going it alone, you can sign up in some exciting tours.