This high country is sacred ground… an alpine cathedral with towers and spires, and steeples… and a stained glass window of trees and flowers, and clouds, and sky… Yankee Boy, and Imogene, and Engineer, and Ophir, and Grey Copper Gulch, and the incredible switchbacks of the Black Bear… the most beautiful mountain trails in all of Colorado… you can hike it if you’ve got the legs, or you can ride it if you’ve got the horse, or you can JEEP it, if you’ve got the nerve, but one thing’s for sure… you can’t see this country any other way… you gotta climb it! - C.W. McCall – San Juan Odyssey
Jeeping & 4-Wheeling
Jeeping in the back country around Ouray is a thrill for all. Download our guide to Four Wheeling in the San Juans
There are 38 peaks over 13,000 feet high within a 15 mile radius of Ouray.
Box Cañon Falls & Park
The Park is located at the west end of Third Avenue. To reach the entrance to the falls by foot, walk two blocks up the left fork at the end of Third Avenue. At the top of the hill, you will find the entrance to the Park and the Visitor Center. To drive from town, follow Hwy 550 south of Ouray, taking an immediate right onto CR 361 after the first hairpin turn. Follow the signs to the right, going over the Uncompahgre Gorge to the drive-in entrance. In 2001, this breathtaking park was designated an important bird watching area by the National Audubon Society. It supports one of the state’s largest populations of Black Swifts, a protected species. These birds nest in their preferred habitat— the canyon walls sheltered by overhanging rocks near waterfalls.
The Lower Cascade Falls trail is rated an easy hike, which takes you up to the base and last in a series of seven waterfalls that carries snowmelt off the mountains and down one of two flumes through Ouray. The Falls are high in the redstone cliffs overlooking Ouray, and can be seen from many vantage points around the city. The lower trail is short, but steep. The trailhead starts at a parking area at the east end of Eighth Avenue. Several interpretive brochures are available to enhance the hikers experience.
Guides provided by the Ouray Chamber Resort Association