Chief Ouray Mine Trail is a 4.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ouray, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Steep hike to beautiful secluded falls, overlook of Ouray, and famous mine Follow the trail located directly behind the sign and head uphill. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. When you reach a T junction take a left. Remember this location so you don't miss this turn on your return trip. Continue along this trail as it heads into the Amphitheater. At the Y intersection veer left (uphill) and begin a tough set of switchbacks that will take you up the amphitheater wall. The trail will then traverse West, cross the ridge and traverse back East to the Falls. Carefully cross Cascade Creek. This crossing can be trick with high water or ice present. After the crossing follow the trail to the bunkhouse, go through the bunkhouse, and continue on the trail on the other side. The next building is the mine building, and if you descend a little and continue a short ways you will find the old mine shaft. Return the way you came.
Outstanding but steep hike. Not for the faint of heart - I did get butterflies in a few spots. Gorgeous views all the way to the top. Stopped and made hot coffee with the jetboil just past the first building and simply enjoyed the wonderful view of Ouray and the mountains. Garmin logged 5.13 miles roundtrip and 2,663 elevation gain.
Very steep and very beautiful!
This is truly an a** kicking trail. Loved it ! with gorgeous views at the top. Also there's a nice waterfall at the top where you can kick off your hiking shoes, and relax your feet :) Did this two years ago, summer of 2014
Gorgeous views all during the hike! Steep and difficult- went mid day which was a mistake. Go in the am. Waterfall was a nice end point!
great hike very difficult but amazing views and an excellent workout. leave early because of how steep it is and bring a lot of water. totally worth it and would do it again.
Difficult and steep. A challenge for me but my husband didn't have any trouble. Upper Cascade Waterfall was beautiful.
The snow is pretty much gone. It was a great hike with a lot of great views. It takes about 3-4 hours if you're booking it but plan on about 4-5 hours.
I did this hike with three others May 28, 2016. We went all the way to the mine shaft after the second building.
The conditions were sketchy in some places. There was snow covering the trail on the north side of the valley formed by cascade creek. The area where you would cross the snow is a bit exposed, if you slipped on the snow it would be a long, not so fun, sleigh ride down. Micro-spikes would make this totally doable and safe. The area where you actually cross the creek was slick and relatively narrow, definitely doable, just requires careful footing. The rest of the trail to the mine buildings (two) and the shaft itself did not have any snow or ice.
The scenery was gorgeous, and likely to be even better come mid-June. Cascade falls itself was still heavily snowed in.
My Garmin registered 1810 feet and 6.5 miles.
The challenge is real, friends!! But, you will be rewarded with amazing views and a little bit of history to boot with the Chief Ouray Mine as your end point.
The trail is narrow in areas, but good traction will get you where you want to go. There was still a good amount of snow on the top of the trail, which made getting to the mine itself impossible for this trip. We were still able to view the Mine and upper falls, but we just couldn't cross the falls today....and that was okay!
We brought our 8-year-old lab with us today, and he did fine. Just do your dog a solid and pack in some water for your 4-legged buddy. They'll thank you immensely. Bring adequate water and snacks for the humans in your group, too.
Overall, this was a very challenging but very VERY gorgeous hike. Just take your time and you'll enjoy the beauty of this place immensely.
Hard work but amazing views. You can make it almost the entire way up with no snow. The last few hundred yards are snow packed. After trudging through the snow, we decided it wasn't going to be worth it. You can see the mine from where we turned around. Highly recommended!
A fabulous hike, however this is NOT a moderate hike if hiking with younger children. I would rate it close to difficult because of the narrowness of the trail and the steep drop offs. We did not make it to the mine because of the large amounts of shale lining the trail past the waterfall.
Our older children (10 and 12) handled it just fine, but our 3 and 4 year old don't have steady footing. They have climbed many steep trails, but the narrowness and rockiness of this trail combined with the steep drop offs on the switchbacks were too much. I would not attempt this again with such young kids.
We clocked 6 miles round trip to the waterfall (the mine was probably another .25 mile) from the end of 5th Avenue. Our mistake not to drive up to the Amphitheater camp ground.
Loved this hike. The waterfalls, gorgeous. Views of the town, wonderful. Exploring the abandoned mining shacks, very fun.
For me it was 3 hours up and 1 1/2 hours down. Stopped very frequently as it is very steep and I am not a practiced hiker. I did it though. Great views from the top just before getting to the falls. There was still snow on the ground at the falls. Make sure to have wet weather wear as it became chilly and could easily have rained. Beautiful trail through mainly forest so there was a lot of shade. The trail can be slippery in places so take care with footing.
This was an awesome trail. It, like most trails out of Ouray, is pretty extraneous since most of the trail is pretty steep. But the views are definitely worth it. You get to see the town from a vantage point like none other for starters. Not only that but you get to see the historic mine, machine shop, and lodge. There are also other mines you pass along the way. You also get to see the upper cascade fall up close. There are two trail heads for this trail.. One in town off of 5th street I believe and one at the amphitheater, which is where I started. Although it rained on us both on the way up and back down, it was definitely worth the hike.
Beautiful! Amazing views from start to finish. I agree with the review that said not for those afraid of heights. Very steep and challenging but worth it!
This trail is absolutely amazing!