With the sun shining on a lovely spring morning, it was without hesitation an invitation to go for a walk was accepted. Sauntering out from the seclusion of the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, we looked at the Cascade falls, and decided to wander in that direction.
Cascade Falls can be seen from almost everywhere in town. From the Box Canyon Lodge, the waterfall can be seen flowing down the canyon wall beyond the sign. As the snow begins to melt in the high country, the waterfall is even more prominent, as the water roars into a stream, whch has been routed to a flume which directs the flow into the Uncompahgre River on its route through Ouray. Cascade Falls is easily reached by going straight up 8th Avenue. Once the road ends, there is a little parking area, and it is a short hike to the base of the waterfall.
Eight Avenue is the steepest hill in the city of Ouray. It isn’t a mountain or anything, but the grade is definitely felt, particularly after a winter of light activity. Instead of going straight up 8th Avenue, or driving to the parking area, we decided to take a more leisurely route, and enjoy some of the side streets of Ouray on the way.
Perhaps a block and a half from the hotel, we crossed Main Street and decided to continue up the hill, and check out Lees Ski Hill. No more snow covers the hillside. Instead, there is a swath of green, evidence that despite the snow we had just the other day, Winter is indeed realeasing it’s hold on the land.
Continuing along 3rd Avenue for a little while, we eventually turn left onto 5th Street, enjoying the peaceful day, and the beautiful architecture of the homes we pass by. Ouray School is in the beginning stages of much needed renovations, and we remark on the progress as we continue along toward 8th Avenue. Ouray is interesting in that the North/South running Streets are numbered and reffered to as Avenues, while East/West are streets, so it is amusing to stand on the corner of 1st and 2nd, and so-on. And so, at the corner of 5th and 8th, we turn right. The road is definitely still steep, but just for a few feet, then we are on the path to the waterfall, and it is just another quick hike to the first bench and gazebo, which offers a magnificent view of the falls.
The Ouray Trail Group has out done themselves yet again as the beautifully manicured trail to the base of the waterfall takes us across a little bridge, and easily traverses the side of the river. We pass one of many trailheads marking the Perimeter Trail, and Upper Cascade among others, but this is a nice short walk to stretch your legs, and really get excited for Spring, summer and fall, and all of the adventures to be had.