It’s not well know but the Durango Silverton train that runs from (surprise!) Durango, Colorado to Silverton, Colorado offers what they call wilderness access. Depending on the time of year the train will make stops along certain areas of the track where back backers can get off.
On 26 August 2010 I took a trip with three other friends to Durango, Colorado. We drove down US550 from Albuquerque to Durango and we spent the night in a cabin at the Lightner Creek Campground near Durango so that we could be on the Durango Silverton train at about 9am.
Just like in the days when the train was a main mode of transportation, the backpacks are loaded into the baggage car. The baggage car looked pretty rickety and at the very least needs a new paint job.
The train dropped us off just before a bridge over the Animas river at Cascade Canyon.
After hiking a short distance along the river we came across a newer cabin fully stocked with firewood where no one was apparently home.
Near the cabin was a rusted out old truck.
There was an interesting old train engine that had been converted to do some sort of milling work not far from the cabin.
My party and I ended up setting up camp near the Animus and maybe a 1/3 of a mile from the tracks in an established camping area. While some of my party thought it was pathetic that we didn’t really do much of a hike, I thought the area was great place to pitch a tent.
While exploring, we hiked up the river for and found what was left of a building.
While waiting for the train to pick us up, we hung out at a picnic area where the train apparently stops for large group activities.
We did what one does while camping: eating, drinking and enjoying nature without internet access. I took about 200 photos of our trip and they can be found on a set call “Durango Silverton Train & Backpack Trip” on Flickr.