Animas Forks is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Colorado. We first attempted to reach it, following advice from the visitor's center in Ouray: take the Corkscrew Gulch road (near Ironton), they told us, it's not as rough as the Engineer pass. We explained that we were driving a 4 wheel Toyota 4 Runner, which was quite large. "No problem", they told us, you will make it. Well, we drove about a mile and had to come back: the road is too narrow and too steep for a car this size. Everybody we met along the way was driving an ATV. We spent the night in Ouray, which allowed us to discover the gorgeous, beautiful Beaumont hotel and continued next day. In Silverton, we took county Road 2 which, while unpaved, is much wider than the one we attempted first. The last 3.5 miles are the most difficult, but at no time did we feel in danger. We also met a great number of other 4 wheel drive cars, along with the Jeeps and ATVs.
We stopped several times along the road to admire and photograph the Animas River. Once we got in the last portion of the road, the delicate Columbine, state flower of Colorado, was abundant.
The town itself has about a dozen standing structures, including the Prince Gold Mill and the Duncan House, the most photographed ghost town house in Colorado, because of its dramatic bay view windows. William Duncan was a miner who struck it rich. Do not expect to find anything touristy, no food or facilities of any type: just the past and what is left of it, if you are passionate about it, I guarantee you a wonderful experience.
Not willing to attempt another road similar to the Corkscrew Gulch, we went back the way we came, it is only 10 miles to Silverton.
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