Colorado is known for the sea of colors that appear as the fall seasons near. What better way to enjoy the colors than hiking in the midst of them? Hundreds of miles of hiking trails are scattered throughout Ouray and the surrounding areas. Where will you start?
The Ouray Perimeter Trail
As the closest trail to town, the trailhead is a mere 5-minute drive from the center of town and is located right across from the Ouray Hot Springs. Coming in at 6.5 miles, this hiking path circles around the entire town and is surrounded by pines and aspens. Being able to look down into town with bright buildings and vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows is worth the trek.
Yankee Boy Basin
This trail is more well known for use with off-road vehicles, but it’s just as fun (and easy) to hike along the road and soak in the fall season. This is another well-known hiking path not too far from downtown. It is great for autumn hiking due to the abundance of trees and shrubbery, both of which go from various shades of green to bright warm colors. In total, this trek is about 5 miles.
Bear Creek Falls
Bear Creek Falls makes its way up a few switchbacks to reach various waterfalls, and is absolutely breathtaking in the changing colors of autumn. It’s better recommended for more experienced hikers, but is a beautiful fall hike. Check in with the visitor’s center to make sure it’s open before you go! The switchbacks may wash away after heavy rain and need to be reset. Make sure to go before it snows, though! The trail is dangerous in the winter.
One way, this adventurous hike passes two mines and totals about 8 miles round trip.
Chief Ouray Mine
This trail makes its way up to a fun mine with a few old buildings to explore. Looking down on Ouray from this vantage point offers a plethora of fall colors.
The hike is about 5 miles. Start at the trailhead for Cascade Falls then travel upward past the amphitheater and on until you reach the mine. The climb isn’t dangerous, but can be a bit challenging for those who aren’t used to steeper treks. Come prepared!