Historic Towns For Family Fun

Glimmers of silver and gold brought the original Coloradans to this remarkable region of the American West. Today, the charming small towns located a little north of Glacier hearken back to their historic origins while welcoming visitors with good food, drink, and cultural experiences the whole family will enjoy.

They call it “The Switzerland of America.” It’s no wonder: the town of Ouray is surrounded by stunning alpine mountains, rugged canyons, and pastoral valleys. Along the back roads and byways, scenes from classic Hollywood westerns are brought to vivid life. In the mountains surrounding the town, visitors drive Jeeps along roads carved from historic wagon trails. In town, a charming Main Street, dining and shopping options, and the much-loved Ouray Hot Springs Pool reward those who visit here.

A National Historic Landmark, the town of Silverton lies along the noted San Juan Skyway and connects with Ouray via the Million Dollar Highway. It is home to Animas Forks and the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Once the center of numerous mining camps, then an important railroad stop, Silverton is now a quaint small town with welcoming shops and restaurants. It provides an entry point to outdoor excursions in the surrounding mountains, in particular Silverton Mountain Resort. It is also the summer destination for the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train.

At a higher elevation, the larger town of Telluride is also within easy travel from Glacier. Telluride is known for its elegant shopping spots, craft beer, and local festivals. From September’s Blues & Brews festival to July’s Yoga Fest, free-spirited events keep the town rocking all year long.

Their names may be unknown, but the high country around Glacier is studded with true ghost towns that offer intriguing clues about Colorado’s history. Some of these mining towns were inhabited by only a few people, while others once had thousands of residents. In some towns you may find ruins with only a few buildings still standing, in others more substantial shadows of the past.