We had a great time on this tour and it was cool to learn about how the miners actually worked a... read more
In Silverton, if you are interested in the mine tour, you should also plan on the Mayflower Mill tour and the historical museum. There is a "Heritage Pass" that gives adults a discount for all three. You will want to spend a... More
In Silverton, if you are interested in the mine tour, you should also plan on the Mayflower Mill tour and the historical museum. There is a "Heritage Pass" that gives adults a discount for all three. You will want to spend a day exploring these attractions, and plan on lunch in town. We did Silverton in this order: drove directly to the mine for the tour, then stopped at the mill for the self-guided tour (this was SO MUCH FUN, don't skip the mill). Then we drove back into town for lunch, then spent the afternoon at the museum. By the time we were done with all of that, it was after 4 p.m. We decided not to do any shopping or checking out the rest of Silverton because of monsoon rains in the afternoon. Also: depending on when you are going, the road between Silverton and Durango is undergoing construction. Our drive was an extra 30-40 minutes each direction because of the construction. Just getting to the mine from Silverton takes another 20-40 minutes, depending on weather, traffic and road conditions. We found the mill tour to be absolutely fascinating, and the museum in town was like a Tardis -- it looks small on the outside, but it just goes on and on inside. The exhibits were really interesting, and we were glad we had planned a full day in Silverton. After you finish the tours, you will probably Mesa Verde really demands at least one full day. I would recommend that you purchase the tickets to the tour or tours you want to take in advance of your visit so you can avoid the ticket lines, which will add another half hour or more to your stop at the Visitor's Center. It is a 40-55 minute drive from the Visitor's Center to Cliff Palace or the museum/Spruce Tree House. We found ourselves stuck behind some really slow drivers on the way to Cliff Palace from the Visitor's Center because they were driving a large vehicle. The museum is well worth stopping at. With a full day available, you will not have time to do more than a couple of things in Mesa Verde. I bought our tickets to Cliff Palace in advance, and we still were not able to fit in as much as we wanted. We only managed to see the museum, view Spruce Tree House from afar (it was closed due to falling rocks), do the Cliff Palace tour, have a picnic lunch, stop at Far View House briefly (we did not do the hike), and then do the short hike to tour Step House on Wetherill Mesa. We arrived at 8 a.m. and left the park at 6 p.m., and we wished we had planned at least one more day to tour Long House and do a couple of other hikes, like the Petroglyph trail hike next to the museum.