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Ironton Park Nordic Trails

NOTE: These trails also may be hiked in the summertime

Colorado Boy | Ironton Townsite Loop | North Pipeline
South Pipeline | Silver Belle | Saratoga Trails

Click on these pictures to enlarge


Old pipeline bridge
over Corkscrew Gulch


View from the
pipeline bridge


Steep, tricky descent on skis

If the drive to it doesn't set your nerves on fire, you're set for a pleasant day of skiing trails at the Ironton Park Cross-Country Ski Area. From whichever direction you approach Ironton Park (9 miles south of Ouray, 15 miles north of Silverton), the road is steep, windy and its unguarded drop-offs arresting. But the anxiety of sliding off Hwy 550 switches to that of excitement soon enough. In a fairly level valley at a point less than a mile north of mile marker 85, a wide spot plowed free of snow on the east side of the highway marks the parking lot and easiest access to the trails.

Snow conditions of deep powder to icy may be encountered. The "green" groomed trails, loops of four clearly marked miles groomed with set Nordic track by the Ouray County Nordic Council (OCNC), trace valley contours of mostly moderate terrain. The trails are groomed as soon as enough snow covers the ground, usually sometime in November.

Several miles of more difficult "blue trails" are not groomed, and generally follow old roads and trails to mining claims on the mountainsides. If you have the skills and are looking for amazing views of mountain scenery, ascend these trails. History buffs will opt for the groomed trails. The trail system is routed through the historic ghost town of Ironton where several buildings still stand. They're open too, but take care while exploring within them as the stairways and floorboards are broken or of questionable strength.

Colorado Boy

TRAILHEAD:
Drive .6 mile south from the Nordic turnoff to the Ironton Townsite sign on the left (County Road 20D). A 4WD road angles downhill to the town and Nordic loop. Park here. A sign points south past historic houses to a bridge over Red Mountain Creek on the left. Over the bridge go north to a trail sign and register box on the right.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
A San Juan rarity, this gentle, high altitude, half mile trail offers easy hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter. The trail climbs steeply a short distance uphill along the stream to a small log bridge where it goes south to the landmark Colorado Boy Mine and restored headframe. Return as you came.

                             
Colorado Boy headframe            Rollo at the headframe


The Headframe in Summer
Photo by Peggy Spindler

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Ironton Townsite Loop

TRAILHEAD:
The trail begins at

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
This trail takes you into

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North Pipeline

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ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
The

                  
name             name

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South Pipeline

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The South Pipeline

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name             name

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Silver Belle

TRAILHEAD:

The South Pipeline

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Saratoga Trails

Brooklyn Bash | Saratoga | Iron Fen


Brooklyn Bash

TRAILHEAD:

The Saratoga trails

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Saratoga

TRAILHEAD:

The Saratoga trails

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Iron Fen

TRAILHEAD:

The Saratoga trails

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