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From the intersection west of Silverton on US550, drive on northeast into town to East 14th St. This is one block before the courthouse. Turn right and drive SE to a "Y" intersection just across the Animas River. Park out of the way at this intersection. This is the "lower" trailhead for those with passenger vehicle only. Coordinates are: N 37° 48' 39.66" W 107° 39' 31.55". If you have to hike from here, total round-trip mileage will be 11 miles and elevation gain will be 4,040 feet.
For those with higher clearance or 4WD vehicles, you may continue to drive to an upper trailhead. The last time we drove this road was in 2002. At that time, we had no problem at all driving all the way up to a switchback at 12,260 ft. in a Jeep Cherokee. The road was in generally good condition and it took us about a half hour from the lower trailhead. It has been our observation that this road is a popular jeeping route which means it receives a lot of use. You may want to inquire in town as to its overall condition now before heading up. The switchback at 12,260 ft. is what we are calling the "upper trailhead." Coordinates are: N 37° 47' 19.55" W 107° 37' 49.53". A hike from here is Class 1. To make the hike a little more sporting, there's a good place to park at a switchback at tree line at 11,475 ft. Coordinates are: N 37° 47' 05.04" W 107° 38' 27.41".
There is no camping in Silverton. The closest campgrounds are up South Mineral Creek or up toward Molas Pass. Campgrounds near Molas Pass include the Molas Lake Campground Park operated by the Town of Silverton (located right on Molas Lake) and the Little Molas Lake Campground, a fee site operated by the forest service. Both up the Molas Pass road (US550) and the South Mineral Creek Road ( FR585) you can find a number of primitive sites, all of which tend to completely fill up on summer weekends.