Hiking Project Logo

Wonderful 360 degree views from this challenging climb that is really amazing for fall colors.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key





Out and Back

12,393' 3,778 m


9,096' 2,772 m


3,977' 1,212 m


3,982' 1,214 m



Avg Grade (9°)


Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers


If you can stomach the innumerable switchbacks up loose rock for the first half of this hike, the reward is great views from two summits. Fun ridge-line hiking and the possibility of seeing marmots and pika.

Need to Know

The moderate exposure along the ridgelines may give some people with acrophobia a little concern. Be sure start early and go on a clear day with no chance of thunderstorms or weather. The whole second half is above treeline with no escape routes and it is very prone to lightning strikes. Hiking poles and sturdy footwear are highly recommended.


Starting at the camping area just off La Plata Canyon Road, head downhill towards the stream. At low water the crossing is easy enough over partially submerged rocks, but during the spring run-off this crossing is not recommended.

The first half of this route is an old mining road that switchbacks interminably uphill. The very steep doubletrack surface is extremely loose with small, rocks that roll underfoot. There is lots of shade here from pines and aspens. You'll get a few brief glimpses of the surrounding mountains through the trees as you climb.

After about 3 miles, you finally leave the doubletrack. Look for a skinny, steep singletrack trail that somehow climbs even more steeply up the hillside. After an improbably steep pitch through stunted evergreens, you emerge above treeline.

From here, you travel the ridge over scree and larger rocks. Some old mining claims are marked with sticks and there are old mines all over the hillsides. Clamber ever upwards towards the summit of Deadwood Mountain at 12,274 feet.

There is a small cairn at the top and sweeping views in all directions. You can see Lizard Head, Hesperus, Engineer, The Needles, Lake Nighthorse and down into the town of Durango.

From here, head southeast and gently downhill over the grassy knoll. Continue downhill more steeply over slide-y tussocks towards the lower ridgeline. Travel over the ridgelines is arguably easier going that all the loose rock that preceeded it, but those who are not surefooted will need to take it slow.

A stumble and fall along here would be very dangerous. Traverse the ridgeline over rocky outcrops and more tallus. After a few more ups and downs, you finally approach the summit of Silver Mountain up one last grunt of an ascent. This summit is at 12,389 feet and has slightly different but still wonderful views in all directions. After a well-deserved rest at the top, retrace your steps back down!

Besides the altitude, what makes this hike so challenging is the tricky footing that requires constant vigilance (and of course the punishingly steep grade).

History & Background

Lots of mine tailings, mine claims and markers around here. The La Plata Mountains get their name from "la plata" in Spanish which means silver - for all the silver mining that was done in the area.

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote


in Mancos


  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Recommended Route Rankings


in Mancos


in Colorado


0 Views Last Month
0 Since Oct 8, 2023
Very Difficult



Heading back down the ridgeline from Deadwood Mountain.
Oct 8, 2023 near Mancos, CO
Looking northwest from the summit of Silver Mountain.
Oct 8, 2023 near Durango, CO
Fall foliage in mid-October.
Oct 8, 2023 near Durango, CO
Looking across at Silver Mountain from near the top of Deadwood Mountain.
Oct 8, 2023 near Durango, CO
Looking south from Deadwood Mountain.
Oct 8, 2023 near Mancos, CO
Amazing fall colors in the La Plata Mountains.
Oct 8, 2023 near Mancos, CO



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In