7 SILVER THREAD
Length: 117 Miles Driving time: 3 Hours
The colorful old mining camps of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway offer a fantastic combination of history, scenic beauty, and authenticity. The rugged mountains around Creede and Lake City are strewn with abandoned mines, most of which are accessible thanks to a network of backcountry roads even if they are a bit rugged. The road between the two follows the Rio Grande River, at least partly, and offers some truly spectacular scenery including North Clear Creek Falls, the shark-like fin of Uncompahgre Peak, and the unique Slumgullion Earthflow National Natural Landmark. Formed about 700 years ago thanks to a mammoth rock slide, the huge mass blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and created Lake San Cristobal. Incredibly, a second earthflow began about 300 years ago and is still active today. Look for trees growing at odd angles.
These mountains are also the site of one of Colorado's grisliest tales, that of Alferd Packer who cannibalized his companions during an ill-fated winter expedition.
The byway was recently extended on the north end from Lake City to Blue Mesa Reservoir which means you can connect with the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway.