For 10,000 years, the Ute Indians hunted game wearing narrow paths in the San Juan Mountains. Horses widened these trails allowing the Utes to travel greater distances. Private enterprise moved in building toll roads over the rugged and treacherous terrain, widening the paths for 20 more years. The 1880s brought trains to haul supplies wearing tracks deeper into the soil for another fifty years. By the early 1920s, automobiles replaced both. The Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway weaves through these historic routes. Following the old Barlow and Sanderson stage route, signs of past miners, explorers and early settlers can still be found. On the road, you’ll feel as though you’re a stagecoach passenger on a trek through the wilds of the 1800s, passing through a canvas of untouched mountain wilderness, forests, deserts, historic Wild West-era structures and desolate reminders of the mining boom. Filled with relics of days long past traced back to the Ute Indians, there is no guarantee what a traveler may find. The only requirements for this journey is to keep a watchful eye in order to see the rich past flourishing in the communities of today.