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Arrastra Gulch, Colorado

San Juan County

Located just outside of Silverton Colorado, Arrastra Gulch was one of the leaders in ore production in the area. The claims began in the 1870's and continued on for several years. The trail up the gulch is fairly mild and easy to navigate. As you drive up the trail, keep an eye out for the overhead tram system that goes from the top all the way down to the Mayflower mill. Parts are missing yet the ore cars still hang anticipating a resurrection that wont be coming.  

Arrastra Gulch

The Mayflower Mill  was built in 1929 to recover gold, silver and other precious metals from Arrastra Gulch mines. The mill is not running anymore yet remains ready to go at any given moment. In fact, it is the only mill left in Colorado that is functional. The mill was listed as a   National Historic Landmark in 2000 and is owned by the Silverton Historic Society. During the summer, a tour of the mill is offered. It is very interesting and I highly recommend taking the tour. 

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Silverton is another old mining town that refused to die. Originally part of an Indian reservation, ore that was discovered in 1860 was not really available until 1873 when a treaty was signed with the local tribe. There were working mines in the area until the mid 1980's, though these later mines were not on the scale size wise of the 1890's. With mining no longer the towns money maker, they citizens turned Silverton into an economy based on tourism. During the summer and fall months, the town is the end point of the Durango Silverton train as well as a base camp for Jeeping, hiking and all other outdoor sports. In the winter, skiing and snowmobiling are just a few of the things that happen there.