Nestled in the Wet Mountain Valley, Silver Cliff is a former mining camp with stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and lots of character. There are several commercial businesses that cater to locals and tourists alike, and it closely borders the town of Westcliffe.
Situated at an elevation of 7,982 feet, the community is surrounded by mountains and forests to explore. As of 2020, there were 609 people living in Silver Cliff, making it the most populated town in Custer County.
The town was built in the 1870s in order to accommodate the nearby Silver Cliff mine workers. It was incorporated in 1879 and by 1880 had around 5,000 residents. At that time, it was Colorado’s third largest city behind Denver and Leadville.
After the initial boom, the company that owned the mine, unfortunately, went bankrupt. Another company tried to take over but it also failed, leaving the town to slowly dwindle away. Silver Cliff was the Custer County seat from 1886 until 1928, when it was relocated to neighbor Westcliffe. Today, the two towns are essentially one large, charming community.
Silver Cliff Museum – Originally the firehouse and town hall, this building now serves as an ode to the historic mining camp. There are several exhibits with artifacts relating to the old bank, laundry service, and post office dating back to the 1800s to explore for free.
Smokey Jack Observatory – This area in Custer County has been recognized as a Dark Skies Community, meaning there is minimal light pollution and ideal stargazing conditions. The observatory has a 14-inch telescope great for viewing far-away stars and other-worldly objects. They frequently host ‘Star Parties’ and other events open to the public.
- Lake DeWeese has several dispersed spots on the north side of the lake that are free if you have a valid CO fishing or hunting license. Most sites have magnificent views of the mountains and plenty of wildlife to spot. There are vault toilets, but no other facilities.
- Alvarado Campground has a variety of camping options close to hiking, horseback riding, and ATV trails. There are 51 total sites, with 3 dedicated horse camping sites and 9 pull-thru RV spaces.
- Grape Creek RV Park has 34 pull-thru sites with full hook-up options in addition to two cabins for rent and 2 tent camping sites. The property offers guests laundry facilities, community firepits, a clubhouse, and restrooms.
- Read about the camping near Westcliffe and Rye.
- Lake DeWeese is a beautiful State Wildlife Area lake that is open to fishing and non-motorized watercraft with a valid Colorado fishing license. You’ll find an assortment of trout and bass here.
- Lake Pueblo State Park is a 1 hour drive to the east of Silver Cliff but is definitely one of the most popular fishing spots in the southern part of the state. With over 4,600 surface acres of water, fishing for bass, walleye, crappies, and trout from any type of boat or from the shore is always a good time.
- Newlin Creek totals 6.2 miles through a boulder field, across streams, and eventually to an abandoned mine at the top. It is considered moderately difficult and is dog-friendly.
- Mt. Shavno and Tabeguache Peak trailhead is a unique place where you can knock out 2 14ers in one hike. It typically takes around 10 hours and is definitely not a walk in the park, but offers sweeping views of the area that make the effort worth it.
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Wet Mountain RV Park & Cabins – Centrally located right in nearby Westcliffe, Wet Mountain has a variety of RV spots and cabins for overnight stays. There are 3 minimalist cabins they rent out through Airbnb, each with a full bed, microwave, and minifridge. For larger groups or longer stays, there are two apartments with queen beds and kitchenettes.
Westcliffe Inn – This quaint, locally owned Inn has all the comforts you need for a great stay. Each spacious room includes a flat-screen TV, fridge, microwave, and pillow-top bed(s). There is a hot tub and sauna on the property, and the parking lot is large enough for big rigs to comfortably park.
Dark Sky Suites – Each of the 11 recently renovated rooms at Dark Sky feature a kitchenette and dining table, so if you prefer to cook instead of eating out this is a nice option. It is situated right in town, meaning you’re only a short walk away from shopping and other activities.
Read about the best hotels in Westcliffe and Silver Cliff.
4Kings Bar & Grill – A laid-back, dive bar type of eatery serving up great mixed drinks, cold beer, and tasty food. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and an assortment of fried sides.
Silver Cliff Mountain Inn – Cozy American diner with hearty homecooked meals at great prices. Guests rave about how generous the portions are and the friendly service.
Tony’s Mountain Pizza – The place in Silver Cliff for quality pizzas and calzones, Tony knows his stuff. When it gets warm out, the restaurant has huge garage doors that open up so you can get some fresh mountain air.
Activities near Silver Cliff
- Bishop’s Castle (28mi)
- Silver Cliff Community Park
- Cañon City (46mi)
- Coaldale (28mi)
- Colorado City (49mi)
- Cotopaxi (24mi)
- Florence (36mi)
- Gardner (34mi)
- Hillside (13mi)
- Howard (36mi)
- Penrose (42mi)
- Pueblo (55mi)
- Rye (43mi)
- Salida (49mi)
- Texas Creek (25mi)
- Walsenburg (61mi)
- Westcliffe (1mi)
- Wetmore (25mi)
View the town’s official website.