San Juan Mining 2016

San Juan Mining, June 20-24, 2016

Explore Colorado History and Geology with an incredible summer course from Extended Studies

This summer, Western State Colorado University Extended Studies will offer a trip in June 2016 that explores Colorado’s historic mining camps and other sites throughout the San Juan Mountain region.

Participants need not be history buffs to enjoy this trip. Tour guides Duane Vandenbusche and Bruce Bartleson are sure to make the tours as entertaining as they are educational. Having taught history at Western since 1962, Vandenbusche has a knack for telling stories about Colorado’s rich heritage. Bartleson is an emeritus professor and taught geology at Western for 33 years. He is a renowned expert in the geology of the Western Slope and shares little-known facts about the unique geologic formations that shape Colorado’s landscape.

Held from June 20-24, the San Juan Mining Camps tour takes participants through some of Colorado’s most storied mining regions. Vandenbusche and Bartleson will lead travelers over Red Mountain, Owl Creek, Slumgullion, and Ophir Passes to the towns of Montrose, Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, and Durango. This tour includes a stop at Blue Mesa Reservoir,the Ute Indian Museum, the Ouray County Museum, a ride on the famous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a tour of the Old Hundred mine, visits to mining museums, and stays at some of the most famous historic hotels in Colorado.

The cost is $775 and includes all travel (leaving from Gunnison), lodging, ticket on the Durango-Silverton Railroad, melodrama, and all tours and museums. Space is limited and a $200 deposit is required to register.

Contact Western Extended Studies at 800.876.5309, ext. 7 or download the application and submit to Extended Studies for registration.  These trips fill up quickly and space is limited, so it is recommended to register early.

Application for registration (one application per person)

Check out last year's tour on Facebook.
    Thank you to Dan Zeroski for putting this page together for Western Extended Studies.


Download the flyer for this year's San Juan Mining Camps Historical Tour

San Juan Mining Camps TOUR SCHEDULE


  • Check-in at Western State Colorado University, Kelley Hall, 7:30am
  • Leave for Montrose – Ute Indian  Museum 
  • Ouray, Hot Springs Inn


  • Ouray – Box Canyon -- Beaumont
  • Hotel -- Red Mountain Pass – Telluride Tram
  • Bear Creek Lodging, Telluride


  • Telluride, Idarado Mine, Museum, Ophir Pass
  • Ames Power Plant, Animas Forks Mine
  • Grand Imperial Hotel, Silverton


  • Silverton, Old Hundred Mine Tour
  • Silverton to Durango Narrow Gage Railroad, Diamond Circle 
  • Melodrama
  • Best Western, Durango


  • Durango
  • Geology of area: Silverton, Ouray, Montrose, Gunnison