Ouray Ice Park - #196

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Mt. Abram from near the Ice Park Trailhead


Twin Peaks


Ice Climbers


More Ice Climbers

TRAILHEAD:
Take US Highway 550 south out of town to the Camp Bird Road (County Road 361) and park by the fence surrounding the Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance area. Trail access is on either side of the upper bridge across the Uncompahgre gorge. The east trailhead sign can be seen left of the road just before the bridge. The trail entrance on the west side of the bridge is at the ice park hut just beyond the bridge.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
This is a short, easy round trip of 2 miles with an altitude gain of only 250 feet. From the east trailhead, there is an initial steep climb for about 0.1 mile. The trail then levels and continues down the east side of the gorge for 0.9 mile with good views of Mt. Abram and the mountains on either side of the gorge. A foot bridge is provided to cross the Uncompahgre River, and then there is a steep, but short climb to a pipeline. Cross the pipeline on the stile (steps) and continue right on the west side of the gorge to the trail end at the Camp Bird Road. In the winter, ice climbers can often be seen on the west side of the gorge.

                           
Climber Closeup       Looking north along the pipeline        Mountain Sheep

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Ouray Perimeter Trail


Work on the Trail
Shown Below


Gary Hansen & Dennis Moyer


Jorg Angehrn


Roger Smith & Friend


Rich Spaulding

The Perimeter Trail continues to be a work in progress, but only a small portion on the west side of town is still to be completed. There are five miles of trail providing beautiful views of Ouray and the surrounding peaks. There are several places along the trail where one can leave or access the trail, so the entire five miles does not have to be hiked to return to town.

TRAILHEAD:
Ouray's Perimeter Trail, a unique five miler, features the surrounding cliffs and mountains. It begins across from the Ouray Visitors' Center on the east side of US 550. (Please wear boots or sturdy shoes on this mountain trail!) Parking space is available behind the Visitor's Center.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
To begin, walk across the road to a large pink boulder, sign and tree. The trail starts on a wood edged path north of a planted berm behind some condos. It climbs wood stairs in the hillside to Cascade Cliff. Hike south on the cliff path .7 mile to Cascade Falls and Cascade Creek bridge. Cross the bridge, and continue uphill on Lower Cascade Trail to a right turn (.9 mile). (At the first clearing, ahead of you to the south are Ouray's signature views of Mt. Abram, 12,801', and Hayden Mountain, 11,475'. The southwest skyline shows U.S. Mountain, 13,036'. To the west are Whitehouse Mountain, 13,452', and Twin Peaks, 10,798'.) Cross the 5th Avenue Trail and continue hiking to the Amphitheater Campground Road (1.3 miles). Turn right and walk down the road .1 mile to the Baby Bathtubs Trail. Ascending this section, you will reach a shallow, often dry, crossing of Little Portland Creek with lots of little rock bathtubs (great for kids to play in). Walk uphill to the left, parallel to the larger Portland Creek, to a footbridge. Across the bridge, walk 300' to a trail fork and turn left. Here, you will enter the Three Pines Day Use Area. Go south across the picnic space and follow the trail through forest about 1,000' and exit onto Portland Mine Road. Follow the road uphill 300' and turn right into the old miners' Potato Patch. (They really grew potatoes here.) Hike across the Patch, following posts and cairns to a spartan, rocky upland of cactus and flowers in spring and summer. This is the trail's highest elevation (8,500'). Enjoy the views! (Behind and to the east is the 3,000' gray Amphitheater wall; to the west is Hayden Mountain. Downhill is US 550 and the Uncompahgre Gorge.) Descend to the highway and cross carefully, listening and looking for traffic. Turn left at the Ice Park Trail, following the hydroelectric dam access road to a trail going west downhill to the gorge and river bridge. Cross the bridge, taking time to admire the views and continue uphill to the old pipeline and a metal stile. Over the stile, turn right (north) and walk along the Ice Park access road. Past the Ice Park Reservoir (a great swimming hole for dogs), veer slightly off the road to a trail that soon crosses CR 361 and heads to the Box Ca–on high bridge. (If you decide to tour Box Ca–on Park, there is a $4 fee.) Cross the suspended bridge over Ca–on Creek's spectacular gorge to Ouray's old water tunnel. (The ceiling is low; watch your head.) Past the tunnel, steep stairs lead down the cliff along the gorge.

The Perimeter Trail currently ends at South Pinecrest Street, a mile from the Visitors' Center. At this point, walk straight downhill to Queen Street, turn right, go a block to Oak Street and turn left. (Views to the north and east include Ouray; Gold Hill and the Blowout, 10,587'; Cascade Mountain, 11,000'; the Amphitheater and Cow Mountain, 13,111'.) Walk north on Oak Street past 7th Avenue to the City's Maintenance Shop near Fellin Park. Cross the footbridge and return to the Visitors' Center where you began.

For those who wish to see a particular section of the Perimeter Trail, hike a connecting trail, or leave the trail part way, the map on the back shows several trail access points. The complete trail can also be shortened to 4.2 miles at the crossing of US 550 by turning right on the Ice Park Shortcut. You then will exit on the east side of the Uncompahgre Bridge. To continue, walk across the bridge and up CR 361 for 500' to the right hand trail leading to Box Ca–on High Bridge.

Construction of the final section of the Perimeter Trail, along the west cliffs, is planned for the near future.

                           
Going Down from             Tunnel Exit                 Tunnel Exit
The Potato Patch               Before Work                After Work

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Porphyry Basin - #243


Cabin near Porphyry Basin


Porphyry Basin Mountains

TRAILHEAD:
Follow directions to the Middle Fork of the Cimarron Trail. The Porphyry Basin Trail begins 2.3 miles up that trail.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
The trail goes 1.1 miles up into Porphyry Basin where there are beautiful views of Precipice Peak, Dunsinane Mountain and the surrounding high country. This is a nice side trip off theMiddle Fork Trail.

                         
Precipice and Dunsinane Peaks             Lost Dreams - Fallen Cabin      

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Portland

Portland | Portland Mine



Looking west from the Portland Overlook


The Portland Trail - #238

TRAILHEAD (Portland Creek):
Take Hwy 550 south out of Ouray around two switchbacks then left on the Amphitheater Campground road, 1.1 miles from the south end of Main Street. The trail begins 0.25 mile up the Portland Mine jeep road, which forks up to the right (east) before the gate and bridge over Portland Creek. There is ample Parking on the north side of the Campground road before the gate.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
Hiking this trail is a good way to get used to the altitude and also have views of the Amphitheater cliffs and the peaks to the west and south of Ouray. You will be mostly in forest, but with many viewing points along the way. The trail crosses Portland Creek and begins a gentle climb along a series of switchbacks through the forest, with overlooks of the Amphitheater.

After two miles, you will reach a four-way junction at the high point of the Portland Trail. For an interesting loop back to the Campground, take the left branch to connect with the Cascade Trail. This return is steeper than the way you came up on the Portland Trail, but is only 1.2 miles. Turn left at the Cascade Trail intersection to reach the Campground.

TRAILHEAD (Amphitheater Campground):
When the Campground is open (from Memorial Day to at least Labor Day), you may drive to the cul-de-sac at the end of the Campground road. Parking space here is limited. Do not block campsite parking.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
Starting from the cul-de-sac, you will leave the forest and cross some open places for viewing during the first 0.2 mile. At the first main trail junction, keep right; the left turn continues the Cascade Trail. After crossing a normally dry creek bed, this fork joins the trail from the Portland Creek trailhead. Turn left up the switchbacks, and follow the directions in "Attractions and Features," above.

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The Portland Mine Trail - #238.1A

This trail breaks off to the right at the four-way junction at the high point of the Portland trail. The trail intersects the Portland Mine jeep road in about 1/2 mile. Continue up the jeep road to the Portland Mine. The jeep road provides a different route and views for a loop back to the trailhead and parking area.

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