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Many trails begin in the foothills around town and every trail provide you with picture perfect backdrop. Ouray trails are as varied as they are vast. Always be prepared by bringing adequate supplies and letting others know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Short & Sweet Hikes

Box Canyon Falls Trails

If you haven’t seen Box Cayon Falls, consider it a must. To reach the entrance by car, go south out of Ouray around the first switch back and take a right onto Camp Bird Road, then take an immediate right onto Box Canyon Road. The entrance can be reached by foot by gong 2 blocks uphill at the west end of Third Avenue. During the summer months there is a small fee to see the falls but it is worth much more than what they charge.

After you have seen the falls inside the canyon, you have the options of climbing a series of stairs and then following a 1/4 mile trails to a bridge far above the canyon. The views from the bridge are spectacular.

Hiking Time: From the west end of Third Avenue, a visit to see the Box canyon Falls and hike to the top should take less than 1 hour.

Lower Cascade Falls Trail

Cascade Falls is the waterfall in the northeast corner of Ouray, visible from almost any location in town. The 1/4 mile hike to the base of the falls is worth the time and effort. There are plenty of places where you can sit and enjoy a peaceful, relaxing lunch at the base of the falls.

You can reach the falls by hiking uphill from Main St on 8th Avenue. It is only 2 blocks to the beginning of the trails. Or, you can drive up to the end of 8th Ave, park in the small parking area, and walk from there.

Hiking Time: From anywhere in Ouray, this round tip walk to the base of Cascade Falls should take about 45 minutes, schedule additional time if you want to spend time at the top. Children love this short hike.

Lower Cascade Falls Trail

Cascade Falls is the waterfall in the northeast corner of Ouray, visible from almost any location in town. The 1/4 mile hike to the base of the falls is worth the time and effort. There are plenty of places where you can sit and enjoy a peaceful, relaxing lunch at the base of the falls.

You can reach the falls by hiking uphill from Main St on 8th Avenue. It is only 2 blocks to the beginning of the trails. Or, you can drive up to the end of 8th Ave, park in the small parking area, and walk from there.

Hiking Time: From anywhere in Ouray, this round tip walk to the base of Cascade Falls should take about 45 minutes, schedule additional time if you want to spend time at the top. Children love this short hike.

Portland Trail

This is a slightly longer hike than Box Canyon Fall sand Lower Cascade Falls. It is easy and one that children enjoy.

The trailhead starts a short distance up the dirt road just after you turn onto the Amphitheater Campground Road. Park your care at the base of this dirt road and hike to the trailhead.

The trial follows Portland Creek, which meanders through the basin above the Amphitheater. This trail makes a 3.8 mile tour of this beautiful, rolling basin and gains only 900’ along its various ups and downs. The trails ends in the campground. From there, walk downhill on the paved campground road to your car.

Hiking Time: This hike will take about 3 hours.

Ice Park Trail

This is a slightly longer hike than Box Canyon Fall sand Lower Cascade Falls. It is easy and one that children enjoy.

The trailhead starts a short distance up the dirt road just after you turn onto the Amphitheater Campground Road. Park your care at the base of this dirt road and hike to the trailhead.

The trial follows Portland Creek, which meanders through the basin above the Amphitheater. This trail makes a 3.8 mile tour of this beautiful, rolling basin and gains only 900’ along its various ups and downs. The trails ends in the campground. From there, walk downhill on the paved campground road to your car.

Hiking Time: This hike will take about 3 hours.

Baby Bathtubs

This is a great hike to acclimate to Ouray’s altitude and one that is good to do if you have small children.

Drive two switchbacks south of Ouray on Hwy 550 to the Amphitheater Campground Road.

Just after you turn, park on your left on the highway side of the first bridge.

Cross over the bridge on foot and the trailhead is just to your right. This trail offers beautiful scenery in a 0.3 mile stroll to a horse crossing below a bridge. Return as you came or follow the Portland Trail back for a loop trip.

Hiking Time: This beautiful hike can be done in 30 to 45 minutes.

Longer/Moderate Hikes

Perimeter Trail

Ouray’s Perimeter Trail, a unique five-miler, features the surrounding cliffs and mountains. It begins across from the Ouray Visitors’ Centers on the east side of US 550 (Please wear boots or sturdy shoes on this mountain trail!). Get a free map and brochure of this trail at the Visitors’ Center.

Hiking Time: Park at the Visitors’ Center and walk across US 550 to the trailhead. Allow approximately 3 to 3.5 hours for the round trip. Plan on a little longer if you stop to capture the gorgeous vies on film.

Lower Blue Lakes Trail from East Dallas Road

This is a magnificent hike. The scenery is spectacular around every turn. The trail to the lower lakes is safe and not too difficult  for children who are used to hiking. Round trip is 6.6 miles.

Hiking Time: The drive to the trailhead takes about 45 minutes. Although the trail map says the hiking time is 3 to 4 hours, allows a little longer for this round-trip.

Sutton Trail

This is a magnificent hike. The scenery is spectacular around every turn. The trail to the lower lakes is safe and not too difficult  for children who are used to hiking. Round trip is 6.6 miles.

Hiking Time: The drive to the trailhead takes about 45 minutes. Although the trail map says the hiking time is 3 to 4 hours, allows a little longer for this round-trip.

Blaine Basin Trail

Directions to this trailhead are the same as those to the “Lower Blue Lakes from East Dallas Road” recommended previously. From the trailhead parking area, the Blain Basin Trail takes of to the left and over the bridge.

The hike to the basin is an easy grade through forests, partly along Wilson Creek. From the basin, you have spectacular panoramic vies of the north face of Mount Sneffels and nearby peaks. The round trip is 3 to 4 hours.

Hiking Time: The drive to the trailhead can take about 45 minutes. The actual hiking time is about 3 to 4 hours.

Longer/Difficult Hikes

Bear Creek Trail

The is an awesome hike and is a favorite of many locals. This is on elf the few trails in the nation designated as a National Recreation Trail.

If you have a fear of heights and narrow ledges, you might think twice about this particular trail. It is also not recommended for venturesome children. You don’t want to get caught on the shelf portion of this hike in a thunderstorm, so know the forecast before heading out.

The Grizzly Bear Mine, reached after 2.5 mills, is a great place to stop for lunch. You can then continue on 1.7 miles to the Yellow Jacket Mine or call it a day and return.

Hiking Time: Plan to spend 8 hours if you go to the Yellow Jacket Mine but only about 5 hours if you return after exploring the Grizzly Bear Mine site.

Weehawken Trail to the Alpine Mine

The trailhead for the Weehawken Trail is a short drive up the Camp Bird Mine Road.

This hike starts out by going through aspen groves and open meadows with beautiful views of Mt. Hayden area. After 1.6 miles, forks off to the right, climbing steeply past the Alpine Mine to a magnificent overlook of Ouray. This round-trip hike is 5.2 miles.

Hiking Time: Plan about 5 hours to complete this hike

Upper Cascade Falls Trail

That iconic old metal corrugated building 2,300’ up the mountainside in the northeast corner of Ouray is the old Chief Ouray Mine bunkhouse and machinery building. This is the culmination of the Upper Cascade Falls Trail and wow, with a view!

The trailhead is in the Amphitheater Campground just south of Ouray. The first half hour of hike is sheltered but the sun can get hot when traversing the switchbacks at the upper portion of the trail. Be sure to take plenty of water and sunscreen. It is best to start early in the  morning to complete this 4.9 mile hike during the cooler part of the day.

Hiking Time: Plan 5 hours to complete this hike.

Ice Lake Trail

This is a favorite rail of many Ouray visitors. It offers dramatic scenery, waterfalls, meadows abundant with wildflowers, alpine tundra, and glacial lakes  — providing more scenic beauty and Kodak moments than one person can handle in a day. Much of this trip is only moderately difficult, with only two very steep sections.

Hiking Time: It takes about 45 minutes to drive to the trailhead just north of Silverton along South Mineral Road. Allow about 6 hours of hiking time to complete this magnificent adventure.

Difficult/Technical Hikes

Twin Peaks Trail

This 6.4 mile round-trip hike is extremely deceptive. It starts out rather mildly, following the same path as as the Oak Creek Trail. After it splits off, it can become extremely demanding, challenging even for the most avid hiker. It can be windy and cold at the top so be sure to take a jacket along for protection.

Many of the published aerial photographs of Ouray have been taken from this spectacular vantage point.

Hiking Time: This can take as long as 6 to 7 hours.

Blue Lakes Trail, Lower Lakes to Blue Lakes Pass

This hike is a continuation of previously mentioned, Blue Lakes from East Dallas Road (CR 7). Beyond the Lower Lakes, the trail steepens, and the final ascent to Blue Lakes Pass rates a 5 on anyone’s difficulty scale.

Hiking Time: It takes about 45 minutes to drive the trailhead. Once you begin this hike, allows about 8 to 9 hours to complete the 11.4 mile round-trip hike.

The Horsethief to the Bridge of Heaven

Refers to “Hiking Trails of Ouray County” for detailed information.

Many of the avid hikers who come to Ouray consider this to be one of the finest trails in the area. During this hike, you will have panoramic views of Ouray, many of this area’s 13,000’ and 14,000’ peaks, much of the surrounding San Juan Mountains and even the La Sal Mountains in Utah. It is one breathtaking experience after another.

Click the button below for a detailed list of describing local trails from the Ouray Trail Group.