Hiking is a great way to find adventure in our little mountain town. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout Ouray and the surrounding regions! Before you leave, make sure to check with the Forest Service to make sure any high elevation hikes are okay to hike on. Some winters cause a lot of snow pack, leading to rushing water and dangerous snow conditions in the summer months.
Trails Here in Ouray
Ouray Perimeter Trail
The Perimeter Trail will take you around the city of Ouray where you can see amazing views of the Victorian town.
It is 6 miles roundtrip and can take around 5 hours to complete. However, there are a few different places to exit the trail along the way if you are a less experienced hiker and need to finish earlier.
Bear Creek is a fun, but challenging hike. You work your way along a fairly thin path of looser rock. It’s not advised to hike it in the winter or early spring, but if you go when the snow has melted, you’ll be greatly rewarded! The path takes you along two mines, Yellow Jacket Mine and Grizzly Bear Mine. The hike is a little over 7 miles.
Upper Cascade Falls
These falls can be accessed near the Amphitheater, Fifth Avenue, or near the end of the Portland Mine Trail. The hike may take about 5-6 hours. From here, you can also access the Chief Ouray Mine Trail.
Trails North of Ouray
There is an old and a new horsethief trail. The old one had to be closed and reopened, but along it, you will find several mines and cross a few creeks. It meets up with the new trail at the Bridge of Heaven. Overall, the trail could take several hours to complete and reaches the high elevation of 12,700 feet. If you would like to hike a multi-day trip, the trail also meets up with the Bear Creek trail.
Another beautiful hike is Courthouse Mountain. It’s a bit shorter at only 3.6 miles round trip, but is also about a 1.5-hour drive from Ouray. If you’re willing to drive, the trek isn’t too hard until you reach the top, where you will have to scramble up rocks and steep inclines. This is, of course, optional for inexperienced hikers.
Blue Lakes trail is about 7 miles. The hike takes you up to two vibrant blue lakes with a waterfall. It’s a great place for lunch before you head back down the trail. If you go around late spring and early summer, you will see these blue lakes surrounded by wildflowers. Just make sure you start early! It’s about a 45-minute drive from Ouray and we advise you start your trek no later than 7 or 8 AM so you can make your way down the mountain by 12 or 1 PM. You don’t want to get caught in bad weather. Regardless of the early start, it’s more than worth the trip!