Named for the silver mining era of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Silver Thread highlights an earlier time in the region when ranching and mining were the main industries. The Silver Thread Byway weaves past valleys and peaks in the San Juan Mountains connecting the towns of South Fork, Creede and Lake City and ending at Blue Mesa Reservoir just west of Gunnison, Colorado. Paved road all the way, good signage, friendly locals, and the scenery—especially in autumn—is most definitely worth the trip!
See colorful old mining camps that offer history, scenic beauty, and a heavy dose of authenticity. The heights around Creede and Lake City remain strewn with abandoned mining structures, most of them reachable via rugged backcountry roads. Between the two towns, Highway 149 shadows the upper reaches of the Rio Grande, serving up a bounty of natural wonders – sparkling North Clear Creek Falls, the Slumgullion earth slide, and the shark-like fin of Uncompahgre Peak.
Along the way, you will encounter astounding geological formations, abundant wildlife, and much of Colorado’s early history. At nearly 42,000 surface acres, Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest body of water in Colorado and is great for sailing, waterskiing, and pursuit of giant lake trout.
Travel Hwy 50 east to Gunnison for a genuine Old West experience, convenient lodging locations, diverse dining and unique shopping, events, festivals and so much more.
TRAVEL PLANNING: Gunnison Visitor Center located at 500 E. Tomichi Avenue or call (877) 448-1410
DISTANCE: 117 miles
TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN: 7,500 – 11,361 feet
TRAVEL TIME: Allow 3 hours