The Silver Thread


Colorado Highway 149 has been designated The Silver Thread Scenic Byway. On Saturday, we drove the portion between South Fork and Lake City, stopping in Creede for awhile.

The drive from South Fork to Creede was very enjoyable.

Creede was hosting their second annual Creede Balloon Festival. We arrived shortly after the ascent and were able to watch them drift along, slowly lowering down to the river, then rise back up.

Balloons in the morning light

Seeing them against the backdrop of the mountains made for a pretty site.

Creede is definitely a hopping town over the Labor Day weekend. In addition to the Balloon Festival, Saturday was the day of the Creede Mountain Run and the Salsa Fiesta. Creede has a population of 290 today, but at the height of the silver rush in 1891, the town was home to 10,000 people. As befits a mining town, Creede has an underground Fire Department and Community Center.

Adjoining the Fire Department and Community center, the town built (mined) a mining museum into the mountain. While it was never used as an actual mine, it is in a loop that was mined from the mountain and contains exhibits depicting the process of mining for ore. I enjoyed seeing the progression of the different mining methods used over time.

As we’ve noticed with many of the small towns here in Colorado, there are several art galleries. Creede also has a small outdoor art garden.

Creede is home to the Creede Repertory Theater. There was several plays enjoying a run, though we didn’t have time to take one in. Earlier this summer, Disney was shooting The Lone Ranger here in town. The theater had a sign up proclaiming support from Johnny Depp. From what we read, this theater is one of the top theaters in the country.

While here, Kathryn was able to exact her revenge.

Ha! You both go to your room. And no supper either!

We discovered that silver can still be found in Creede.

Airstream in Creede

Heading north from Creede, we passed through more beautiful country. I think this part of the drive as even more scenic than the route south of Creede.

We crossed the Continental Divide and the weather changed almost immediately. ¬†During our drive, we encountered quite the weather swing, going from sunny to rain and from temperatures in the upper 80′s down to the mid 40′s. As we crossed Slumgullion Pass (elevation 11,530 feet) we even drove through rain mixed with sleet.

When we reached Lake City, we drove through the town then turned back south.

We also stopped at North Clear Creek Falls.

We had a great time driving The Silver Thread, but we truly didn’t do it justice. One day is simply not enough time to spend exploring this area. We need at least 3-4 days, and preferably a week to see everything. There are several other scenic routes in the area, including the Bachelor Historic Tour which tours old mining camps and ghost towns. There is also the Wheeler Geologic Area which looks truly amazing. This area is on our short list of spots to return to.

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