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Independence Day in the San Juan’s

Independence Day | Friday, July 4, 2008

This year we decided to spend our holiday weekend in the San Juan Mountains. We left Thursday after work and made our camp along Mineral Creek a few miles north of Silverton.

After getting a good nights sleep, we got an early start on Independence Day and made our way over to the Alpine Loop, starting with Engineer Pass.

Following the shelf road on Engineer Pass

This last winter wasn’t good to the Mickey Breene Mine

Here’s a picture of the same building from last July

At the top of the pass

Plenty of snow on the other side of the pass

What’s left of the Bonanza Empire Chief

Stopped and took the short hike to Whitmore Falls

Capitol City

When we reached Lake City, we ended up stopping and grabbing some lunch. The town was packed for the holiday, so we waiting a bit longer for food that we had planned. After we did finally get our food and ate, it was time to jump on Cinnamon Pass and head back to Silverton.

Headed up to the pass

Looking down past Cinnamon Pass. When we were here a month ago, this area was completely full of snow. Lots of melting going on.

Looking down into Animas Forks

We finally made it back to Silverton. We were planning on watching the fireworks here, but still had plenty of time before they started, so we decided to check out Clear Lake Trail not too far from our campsite.


Headed up to Clear Lake

The trail up to Clear Lake is a just a number of switchbacks up the mountains.

Up near the top, there were a few snow drifts that made the trail a bit narrow, but still manageable. The last 100 yards or so of the trail were blocked by a large drift still, so we had to make the short hike to Clear Lake. The lake was still a bit icy.

After checking out Clear Lake, we headed back down the mountain and made our way back to Silverton to watch the fireworks display. We found some prime seats 🙂


It was a very good show.


After the show and getting stuck in some pretty bad traffic, we made our way back to the campsite for the night.

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