Explore Animas Forks

Rate this Adventure 0.25 miles 40 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Lucas Bremer

Once a bustling boomtown, today only skeletons remain.

The ghost town of Animas Forks, CO is located in the San Juan Mountains at an elevation of 11,200 feet. There are several original buildings remaining. The best way to explore the region is by Jeep or other high-clearance 4×4.

The cabins began being built by prospectors in 1873. Three rivers meet nearby, one of them being the Animas River, leading to the name Animas Forks.

By 1876, Animas Forks was a bustling mining community. At that time the town had 30 cabins, a hotel, a saloon, a post office, and a general store. Roughly 450 people occupied Animas Forks in 1883. As with most other areas of the San Juan Mountain region, mining, speculation and processing mills spurred Animas Forks’ growth. By the early 1900's, most of the mining had stopped in the area. Animas Forks was a ghost town by the 1920s.

Today Animas Forks is preserved and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and is located on a system of unpaved roads known as the Alpine Loop. The dirt road from Silverton to Animas Forks is only passable in summer by two-wheel drive vehicles. The road beyond Animas Forks is four-wheel drive only. It takes you over Engineer Pass to Lake City.

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Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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