Alpine Loop Information

Welcome to the Alpine Loop Back Country Byway, one of the finest examples of our nation’s Back Country Byway System. Seventy-five miles of road carve through the breathtaking San Juan Mountains connecting the towns of Lake City, Ouray, Telluride, Ophir, and Silverton. Routes through the mountains follow ancient paths worn by Native Americans traversing the region as they returned to traditional summer camps. In the late 1800’s, miners in search of precious metals widened these paths to accommodate horse- and mule-drawn wagons and built additional roads to access mines. Today, the remains of ghost towns, mines, mills, aerial trams, and railroads, are prominient reminders of the region’s extensive mining history.

For more information, please contact the Silver Thread/Alpine Loop Interpretive Center at 970-944-2527 or 1-800-569-1874 or visit

The above information was taken from a brochure titled, “Alpine Loop Motor Vehicle Summer Travel Routes” dated 2011 by the U.S. National Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interiors Bureau of Land Management.

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