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Bear Creek Trail is a 12.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ouray, Colorado that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 12.4 miles Elevation Gain: 4,698 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Directions from Ouray: Take Hwy 550 two miles south. Trail parking is on the east side of US 550 immediately south of the tunnel.

hiking
rocky
scramble
13 days ago

Amazing views. The trail gets pretty sketchy so not recommended for beginners or anyone scared of heights

hiking
icy
22 days ago

4/27/20 - Ice fall blocked trail at 1.6 mi. from trailhead, but otherwise a very nice hike. The trail was in very good condition, save for 3 blowdown trees and the ice blocking the trail. The ice appeared to have fallen off the trail on May 1, as observed from the Sutton Mine trail across the valley. It should be smooth sailing past that point now. The wildflowers were just starting up, and there is some fantastic geology along the way.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, too snowy in areas to get far in April.

hiking
4 months ago

Great until the last switch backs. Left the snow shoes in the car should have brought them. Still a fun hike with the kiddo!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked all the way to Yellow Jacket mine. Over the gorge, the views are spectacular. Risky enough to be exciting. Long steep drop offs in some areas. The old miners hut is cool too. We really liked it.

hiking
8 months ago

I kept losing gps signal so it was recording weird but made it to the yellow jacket mine. Great trail but definitely deserves its HARD rating just for the initial climb and the deep dropoffs. Not a trail to take kids or dogs on.

hiking
9 months ago

We loved this trail. It starts steep with a lot of switchbacks, but levels out. There are some drop offs and some parts that wouldn’t be good if you aren’t sure footed so I wouldn’t take anyone elderly or very young children. But it has breathtaking views of the mountains and creek. Also trees and wildflowers after the switchbacks. We went up about four miles and turned around. Really really beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

Had a great hike today up to Yellow Jacket mine. Trail is in pretty good shape. I think it’s no worse for wear coming out of the heavy snow last winter. The creek crossing has a little more water to contend with and wet spring seems to have given flies and mosquitoes a big boost.

hiking
10 months ago

The goal was to reach Engineer Pass. The heavy snows this past winter made Bear Creek torrential and impossible to cross safely so I only got 4.9 miles into the 7.1 mile planned trek. All the same: GREAT HIKE. Great Hike= Varied topo, varied vistas, aspens and pines and meadows. Etc. Etc. The only "hard" part is the ever increasing elevation gain, up and up and up. But the return trip was cruise control. I'll do it again some year in August or September.

hiking
11 months ago

Open June 2019. A moderate hike not for the faint of heart with steep drop offs along much of the trail. We enjoyed this hike and all of the breathtaking views. We made it to the first mine but the second was snow packed and couldn't make it past. Stunning hike and worth the effort!

hiking
Fri Aug 24 2018

OPEN. We stopped in at the visitor center and asked to be sure. A beautiful hike that gets you out of town without driving too far. The trail is single track with some very brief exposure but nothing too treacherous or dangerous. I never once felt unsure of my footing. Once you get past the butt kicking switchbacks at the start, the rest is a very enjoyable walk with the sound of waterfalls and the creek to accompany you.

hiking
Thu Jul 26 2018

CLOSED! I was in Ouray about a week ago, and had plans to hike this trail. Unfortunately, the storms had washed away the switchbacks and I was told the trail would be closed for quite some time. Make sure to check in with the visitors center if you have plans to hike BCT. We did the "Bridge to Heaven" instead, which was really lovely and still challenging.

hiking
Sat Jul 21 2018

Hiked in 2016. Beautiful views of the ravine, creek, water cascades, and mountains. I went to the mine ruins and back and was beat. I would like to go back eventually with more time/endurance to explore further up. There is some exposure to a steep drop during the lower/middle section. The trail was wide enough that I felt safe, but I wouldn't recommend it with small children. You may want insect repellent.

Fri Jul 20 2018

Went a couple of weeks ago. Amazing hike. Very strenuous and lots of exposure. Bring lots of water!!!

hiking
Thu Jul 19 2018

Went to hike this today and the trail was closed due to trail damage I assume from Mudslides.

Sat Jul 07 2018

Had to turn around on a hot day, start early or super late. There is little shade on the ascent through the switchbacks. Bring plenty of water!

Wed Jun 06 2018

What an amazing hike! Very strenuous and not for the faint of heart but if you take the leap it is well worth all the vertical change. Very well maintained and thought out. There are some amazing views of the valley, mountains and Bear Creek itself. Hiked past Bear Creek Mine and turned around at the creek crossing. Next time we are going to hike all the way to Yellow Jacket. Definetely worth doing again.

hiking
Tue May 29 2018

This review is only based on the hike to Grizzly Bear Mine. By Colorado standards, I would say this is more moderate than hard -- about 1600 gain to the mine in 2.4 miles. The trail is mostly rock and shale with beautiful views, a couple parts of exposure, but never felt uncomfortable. Will definitely do this again and go all the way to Engineer, however didn't have time for today.

Sun May 27 2018

Such a beautiful hike!! It was epic! It was a good trail slightly difficult. Lots of rock. The scenery was beyond description. The endless waterfalls and aspens budding with bright green leaves was breathless. Would do this again in the fall

hiking
Sat May 26 2018

Gorgeous hike, as far as we went. We turned back after 3.25 miles due to a washed out crossing (we're older, and more careful than some), though it could be crossed with care. Beautiful views all the way: waterfalls, mining equipment, an open mine. No ice or snow. Loved the "wind chime" effect from walking on the rock flakes on the initial climb. A "must-do" hike for the Ouray area.

Fri May 18 2018

one of the best hikes I've done

Sat Sep 09 2017

Make it past the first mile of switch back on loose rock and you wont want to turn back. Beautiful views and get to see some history from the old mining sites.

hiking
Thu Aug 10 2017

Beautiful!

hiking
Tue Jun 27 2017

Always a stunning hike! Started at 8AM and went up the steep shale covered portion of the trail in shade (which makes it much more enjoyable) and turned around at Yellow Jacket Mine. We were back in the parking lot a little before 2PM, with a few stops along the way for photos, snacks, and to catch our breath. Heads up: A portion of the trail was washed out above Grizzly Bear Mine (see photo) and it required some careful scrambling as the footing was very loose gravel and fell with about a 10ft drop into Bear Creek below. There were a few creek crossing after this but they didn't require getting wet.

Tue May 30 2017

We really enjoyed this hike. The views are breath taking and pictures really don't do justice.

Sun Sep 04 2016

I loved what I did of this trail. I didn't do the whole 13 miles. I went to Grizzly Bear Mine and back to the trailhead is all. It was beautiful!

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