The Ghost Town of Animas Forks
The San Juan Mountains, Colorado
California Gulch lets out at the small ghost town of Animas Forks at 11,200′. The town’s first cabin was built in 1873 and by 1883, it was a community of 450 people, who spent each winter in the warmer town of Silverton, 12 miles southwest. Eventually Animas Forks contained 30 cabins, a hotel, general store, saloon, post office and even a newspaper until it’s decline in 1910 when the Gold Prince Mill shut down. It was officially a ghost town by the 1920’s, but continues to be a small tourist attraction (100,000 people per year) managed and kept relatively in-tact by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A Colorado State Historical Fund grant to San Juan County, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, provided for stabilization of the remaining structures in 1997 and 1998. This initial stabilization effort was followed up with a comprehensive restoration of the buildings in 2013-2014.
By the time we got to Animas Forks, it had already been a really long day so we decided to just head back down a portion of the Alpine Loop in the direction of Silverton and eventually back to camp.