Ouray Perimeter Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ouray, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,912 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Rings the town of Ouray. It is relatively easy, but has some areas that could be considered challenging for people not in shape. TRAILHEAD: Ouray's Perimeter Trail, a unique five miler, features the surrounding cliffs and mountains. It begins across from the Ouray Visitors' Center on the east side of US 550. (Please wear boots or sturdy shoes on this mountain trail!) Parking space is available behind the Visitor's Center. ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES: To begin, walk across the road to a large pink boulder, sign and tree. The trail starts on a wood edged path north of a planted berm behind some condos. It climbs wood stairs in the hillside to Cascade Cliff. Hike south on the cliff path .7 mile to Cascade Falls and Cascade Creek bridge. Cross the bridge, and continue uphill on Lower Cascade Trail to a right turn (.9 mile). (At the first clearing, ahead of you to the south are Ouray's signature views of Mt. Abram, 12,801', and Hayden Mountain, 11,475'. The southwest skyline shows U.S. Mountain, 13,036'. To the west are Whitehouse Mountain, 13,452', and Twin Peaks, 10,798'.) Cross the 5th Avenue Trail and continue hiking to the Amphitheater Campground Road (1.3 miles). Turn right and walk down the road .1 mile to the Baby Bathtubs Trail. Ascending this section, you will reach a shallow, often dry, crossing of Little Portland Creek with lots of little rock bathtubs (great for kids to play in). Walk uphill to the left, parallel to the larger Portland Creek, to a footbridge. Across the bridge, walk 300' to a trail fork and turn left. Here, you will enter the Three Pines Day Use Area. Go south across the picnic space and follow the trail through forest about 1,000' and exit onto Portland Mine Road. Follow the road uphill 300' and turn right into the old miners' Potato Patch. (They really grew potatoes here.) Hike across the Patch, following posts and cairns to a spartan, rocky upland of cactus and flowers in spring and summer. This is the trail's highest elevation (8,500'). Enjoy the views! (Behind and to the east is the 3,000' gray Amphitheater wall; to the west is Hayden Mountain. Downhill is US 550 and the Uncompahgre Gorge.) Descend to the highway and cross carefully, listening and looking for traffic. Turn left at the Ice Park Trail, following the hydroelectric dam access road to a trail going west downhill to the gorge and river bridge. Cross the bridge, taking time to admire the views and continue uphill to the old pipeline and a metal stile. Over the stile, turn right (north) and walk along the Ice Park access road. Past the Ice Park Reservoir (a great swimming hole for dogs), veer slightly off the road to a trail that soon crosses CR 361 and heads to the Box Caon high bridge. (If you decide to tour Box Caon Park, there is a $4 fee.) Cross the suspended bridge over Caon Creek's spectacular gorge to Ouray's old water tunnel. (The ceiling is low; watch your head.) Past the tunnel, steep stairs lead down the cliff along the gorge. The Perimeter Trail currently ends at South Pinecrest Street, a mile from the Visitors' Center. At this point, walk straight downhill to Queen Street, turn right, go a block to Oak Street and turn left. (Views to the north and east include Ouray; Gold Hill and the Blowout, 10,587'; Cascade Mountain, 11,000'; the Amphitheater and Cow Mountain, 13,111'.) Walk north on Oak Street past 7th Avenue to the City's Maintenance Shop near Fellin Park. Cross the footbridge and return to the Visitors' Center where you began. For those who wish to see a particular section of the Perimeter Trail, hike a connecting trail, or leave the trail part way, the map on the back shows several trail access points. The complete trail can also be shortened to 4.2 miles at the crossing of US 550 by turning right on the Ice Park Shortcut. You then will exit on the east side of the Uncompahgre Bridge. To continue, walk across the bridge and up CR 361 for 500' to the right hand trail leading to Box Caon High Bridge.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful trail but the beginning was not for people who are afraid of heights. I sadly have a fear of heights and found it very difficult. The part from the beautiful falls on was fantastic! I think it’s one of the prettiest hikes I’ve ever been on. We went in the summer.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is an unassuming adventure, with challenging elevation gains that are well spread apart. In addition to amazing views of Ourey and the surrounding peaks, this trail features many variations of terrain. Definitely worthwhile, but try to plan hiking this on a cooler day.

hiking
1 month ago

What a trail! If you are slightly scared of heights avoid the very beginning of the trail and get on at the parking lot at the falls... it will definitely get your attention! Views were unbelievable- especially at the High Point- overlooking 550. Pack a sandwich and be ready to have a seat and just take in the view. Great trail- and don’t miss the waterfall in Box Canyon. And yes, the distances are off- it’s longer but worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

As stated by others the distance seems off, we went close to 7 miles. Many off and on spots, we did the full trail. The beginning right out of the parking lot is no joke! No warming up given. I would say the first part of the trail is hard to strenuous depending on skill. There are some narrow parts walking alongside the cliff, thus if scared of heights might want to think twice. The views of Ouray were amazing and the different terrain you experience was cool to experience. Not a lot of traffic at all.

hiking
2 months ago

Great walk. If doing in the morning start at Visitor Center and go clockwise as will make most of the shade. Great views of the town throughout the walk. Took us a little over 3 hours with plenty of stops to admire the views. Last section across the canyon was brilliant. Don't be tempted to take short cut back to town after the canyon. Follow trail back up for dramatic gorge walk and overlook.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail walking distance from wherever you are staying in Ouray. Surprisingly, it offers a diversity of sights - waterfalls, small slot canyon, Box Canon Falls, and vistas of the town and surrounding mountains - while offering a decent amount of exercise. Uniquely offers multiple points to jump on and off the trail about town. Very enjoyable.

trail running
2 months ago

Well...if you have read any of the posts then you are already aware that the distance and elevation gain they claim on their map is WAAAYYY off. Its about 6.5 to 7 miles with 1385 ft gain (garmin gps watch) if you start at the visitor center and head clockwise (cascade falls to baby bathtubs to highpoint) and end after Ice Park. We were starving by that point (even after eating breakfast then granola bars on the trail

2 months ago

beautiful hike! weather was perfect. bridge crossing over Box Canon was exciting. hubby and I are in our 60s and did the 6.4 mile loop in 3 hours

3 months ago

had a great hike but be prepared to be tired. we did the whole thing and got every aspect of weather including hail...thankfully we were in a wooded section. there are definitely some spots that would be tricky if wet. also some narrow areas with steep drop offs. had a dog with us that was very smart and obedient otherwise would have been a little nerve racking and she also had to be carried as a few bridges and stairs had wide grates as a surface!

we had a great hike with great views, waterfalls, streams , and river crossings! i would agree with other comments to start at the falls and end at box canyon. after that is when is gets super narrow and steep.

3 months ago

Total length was close to 6.4 Miles not length stated on app. Trail was narrow in spots. I would not recommend this hike for small children. Beautiful scenery & waterfalls.

hiking
3 months ago

I don’t know how they arrive at distances on this app, but every trail I’ve been on is at least 1.75-2.5 miles longer than indicated. We took the Ice Park and Pinecrest shortcuts on this trail & still logged 6.84 miles on Map My Walk.

The hike itself was pretty. There are sections that are steep, broken up by flat trails or descents. We started at the visitors center and got a map from them, which was very helpful, especially since we took two shortcuts. It wasn’t a difficult hike, but there is quite a bit of exposure and it got really hot. There are a few spots where you have to walk on or across roads.

I wouldn’t recommend this trail for kids under 8-9 years old, unless they listen well and have hiking experience. The inclines are steep and there is quite a bit of the trail that’s only wide enough for one person.

hiking
3 months ago

A good, challenging trail. There are some sections that are really awesome - around Box Canyon, for instance. However, many of the views are extremely similar to those you can see from town or from the highway. A long stretch of the trail is on roads in town which was not fun, although I did see on the map they're planning a new section that would avoid this. You still have to pass by the swimming pool, though, and the noise from that echoes far, which I found very annoying. If I did this again, I would start at Cascade Falls and end after Box Canyon - the rest of the trail isn't as remarkable.

hiking
3 months ago

Was a very beautiful hike but there was a lot of steep hills. Lots of narrow edges some with out rails. Over all the work was all worth it because of the views it would not be great for kiddos under 6 because of the steep hills. We had a 12 and 9 year old and it was a little difficult.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views!! Good incline. Nice shade.

hiking
3 months ago

pretty hike that can be as short or long as you want it (many turn-offs to get back into town). I started from across the visitors center and did about half of the trail (did the ice park shortcut then came back to town). I was sitll able to see a couple waterfalls, some canyoning, and incredible views of the town. It is a great way to see the town and scenery around it.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike and definitely not one to miss when visiting the area. That said, the trail is actually *6.3 MILES* not 4.7. It was at least a moderate trail with some parts relatively strenuous, so if you plan on doing the full trial you need to be in good shape. We hiked the full trail in 3.5 hours. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen as it gets hot!

You pass several waterfalls, caves, through forests, and on cliff edges! If you only do one hike, so this one. You also see Baby Bath Tub and Cascade Falls from this hike so you essentially see everything, including the adorable town itself!

Be aware at at the end you walk through a small neighborhood and then through an RV camping/trailer park section but it’s not long before your back to the visitors center. Have fun!

4 months ago

What an awesome trail so close to town. Has it all. Great views, changing terrain. Excellent markings. Added a new section up Oak Creek and back down Old Twin Peaks that is not in the AllTrails map.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail was amazing!! The views were amazing and so was the famous Cascade Falls that you can walk behind. Turkey great hike, but be prepared.

hiking
4 months ago

A beautiful hike, but they are going to get people in bad situations if they don't update the description! It is definitely a MODERATE trail at least. A LOT of uphill... not climbing, but uphill.

And, the 4.7 miles listed is WAY off!! We ended up backtracking a big due to some confusion after leaving the visitor center (hint... a good portion of the first mile or so is a road! Get a map at the visitor center). We completely blew off the last half of the trail east of Hwy 550, cut down the Hwy and through town, and still finished at 6.5 miles for this 4.7 mile trail.

Beautiful views and I'm glad we went counter clockwise from the visitor center b/c that got us to the falls, but we were very disappointed to hit 5 miles and realize we were barely 1/2 way done, if even that.

hiking
4 months ago

Great family trail around Ouray, but gotta be careful on a few parts. Parked at Cascade Falls. Walked around clockwise, to the Baby Bathtubs, down and around to Box Canyon Falls. Then back through town to the Ouray Brewery for lunch. Garmin showed about 5.1 miles for all that. Carried a 2 yo in a pack. 7yo walked. Good signage.

backpacking
4 months ago

** the trail has been extended and more additions are underway. Don’t cheat yourself out of an even better hike, follow the signage! Took it super slow and stopped every time there was running water or a nice overlook, which was a lot. Managed to stretch it out over 5 hours or so, made for a great little romp between lunch and dinner.

trail running
4 months ago

Breathtaking views! Easy to locate trail...well marked. 1700ft of elevation change!! I tracked 7.45mi on MapMyRun. Bring plenty of water! Ran in 1:43, but had to leave time for pics!!

hiking
4 months ago

5 stars because it is a beautiful trail!!! It is NOT 4.7 miles, it is closer to 6-7 miles. Definitely pack snacks and water. It took us 5 hours with our 2 boys, ages 9 and 6 to take in all of the beautiful sights/scenery and enjoy them and have snacks and water along the way. They did an amazing job. The first part of the trail by the visitor center is the hairiest of the trail!!! We loved it though!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail BUT they’ve added trail on the west side of town. We meandered a bit and came in right at 7 miles.
The visitor center by the hot springs has the latest map.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail with great vistas! Waterfalls, forrest, and a great view of the cute little town!

hiking
5 months ago

This trail has it all! Mountains, woods, meadows, a waterfall, a tunnel, gorges, bridges, fun places to play in the water, and vistas galore! This is by far one of my favorite trails. It is steep in places, so you may have to take your time. We completed it in about 3.5 hours with minimal stops. The trail is 5.8 miles - make sure to stop by the visitor's center to get a map!

5 months ago

Lovely trail. Great views of a beautiful city.

5 months ago

Amazing trail. We did this trail, part by part, so that we could make it almost halfway. Traffic is high in some areas, and almost deserted in other areas. Some steep parts, and parts that are straight uphill. Tiring but amazing. Recommend for everyone.

5 months ago

Not too difficult, very pretty.

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