Day #10 features Animas Forks, Colorado

Located at 11,200 feet elevation Animas Forks, Colorado once boasted the title for being the highest incorporated city in the United States, but since it is now abandoned that title belongs to Alma, Colorado at 10,578 feet.

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Lonely Cabin High on the Hillside

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Old suspension bridge over the Las Animas River

Animas Forks was built around rich silver veins first discovered in 1873. The initial camp was built where a number of high mountain streams converged to create the Las Animas River, and the town was first called “Three Forks of the Animas” but was shortened to “Animas Forks” in 1875. In the summers of the 1880s the town had nearly 500 residents, many of whom would retreat to lower elevations in the winter months. However, a few did remain year-round at Animas Forks, and over 30 homes, a jail, several saloons, a newspaper office, drug store, general store, and Post Office were established permanently. One foul winter storm circled above Animas Forks for 23 days in 1884. When the squall finally let up, 25 feet had accumulated and tunnels had to be dug to connect the residents of the town! Animas Forks faded follwoing the silver crash of 1893, and today around a dozen buildings, numerous foundations, and mining debris remain at the site.

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Cabin at Animas Forks

The highlight of Animas Forks is the often-photographed Duncan House (usually mislabled “The Walsh House”) woth its bay window that overlooks the mining operations and the valley below. In recent years the Forest Service has preserved the house by shoring up the foundation and structural beams, adding plexiglass windows to keep the rain and snow out, and applying a thick coat of Forest Service brown paint to the structure. Although it looked better in older photographs in its natural stay of decay, the Forest Service brown will protect the structure for future visitors to enjoy.

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The Duncan House

 

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Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies

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Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region

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Comments
  1. So, is the best way to get here is via 2 out of Silverton??

  2. J.D. Eberle says:

    Yes, 2 out of Silverton is the easiest way. I think it is around 12 miles. The road is good enough that you can get there in a 2-wd in dry weather, but I would recommend an SUV.

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