Ouray Perimeter Trail

MODERATE 192 reviews
#1 of 14 trails in

Ouray Perimeter Trail is a 6.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Ouray, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,847 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

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.

1 day 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
8 days 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
8 days 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
10 days 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
18 days ago

Beautiful views!! Good incline. Nice shade.

hiking
21 days 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
30 days 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!

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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!

2 months ago

Lovely trail. Great views of a beautiful city.

2 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.

2 months ago

Not too difficult, very pretty.

2 months ago

Much longer and more difficult than expected, but this trail has it all. There were so many different highlights of the hike I can't even begin to list them all! The scenery changed so drastically throughout the hike it's hard to pick a favorite part of it!

2 months ago

Very nice hike but I can’t give it a 5-Star rating bc:
1. I don’t know where they came up with this being a 4.7 mile hike that it says in the description as if you do the entire hike following the signs it is more like 6.2 miles and 1,600 feet of climbing.
2. Not best hiking footing for parts of the hike as loose rocks and metal grates (I had to carry my black lab as these bugged her so much she refused to walk on them) for climbing over large water “pipeline” and across high bridge.

Overall not bad for being right in Ouray and this time of year the waterfall was amazing and luckily not super hot (was getting a bit too warm for my dog but that was bc it was 1.5 miles longer that we expected so it was close to noon when we finished.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great trail. Well signed to keep you on track, takes you past many beautiful locations. Some parts are difficult if you are a novice hiker like myself. However, it’s definitely worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views of Ouray, a waterfall ( May) and enough of a challenge to get winded occasionally. Fun trail!

hiking
3 months ago

This hike was wonderful! Traversing the loop brought gorgeous views of the valley, waterfalls, blooming wildflowers, the million dollar highway, box canyon and the cute town. I saw a fox on the trail as well. Definitely worth it if you are in the area!

hiking
5 months ago

I liked what I was able to hike. Would not recommend going in winter months without proper gear! Parts of the trail were pure ice - had to cut the hike short due to ice. Nice steep inclines at the beginning of the trail. Eventually comes to a pretty waterfall (which is where I stopped b/c ice).

5 months ago

I did the north east and northwest sections on 2/16 in the late afternoon and 2/17 in the morning, using microspikes for parts of both. Great minimalist trail, with sketchy shoring up by the falls on the northeast section. Seems that some people go hors piste there which disrupts the integrity of the hillside. Stay on the trail. At the bridge past Henn's overlook on the west side, the snow was too deep and unbroken for me to continue w/o snowshoes or any knowledge of where the trail lay. I'll do it again when I have enough time to do the whole loop.
Pro tip: get a map of the trail from the visitor center in town, and they might give you updated trail condition info.

hiking
6 months ago

Good hike, first mile was mostly uphill with well packed snow. The snow got deeper a couple of miles into the hike but not enough to require snowshoes (we wore microspikes). The trail markings are almost nonexistent near the high point and there were tracks in the snow in several different directions so we ended up going off trail to get down to the road. After the steep descent we flatlanders decided to call it a day and take the road from the Ice Park to our car at the Visitors Center with a stop at the coffee shop. I would do this hike again.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike! Hiked it last Thursday had some icy spots but was not bad.

8 months ago

Solid hike, gets pretty busy in the summer

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