The area in and around Ouray is filled with a variety of hiking trails.Regardless of whether you are looking to scale a fourteener, or just want to explore the area, there is a hiking trail or two or three for you. The Baldy Peak Trail is a beautiful hike with unbelievable views of the Uncompahgre Plateau, and on a clear day, all the way to Grand Mesa.
Heading North out of Ouray, turn right onto County Road 14, heading toward the Bacheler Syracuse Mine Tour, turning left onto County Road 14A to Cutler Creek. Just past the Cutler Creek Trail-head, the road gets a little more rough, then dead ends at the Baldy Trail head.
Last week, when we decided to do this hike, it had rained for a couple of days, a path lead up the hill in an ocean of green, and a little muddy. Passing some ladies who typically hike this trail in the fall, they remarked that it is usually dry, and most likely will be for the rest of the season. Walking up the hill, there are some steeper sections which quickly level out for a while, offering unbelievable views.
Exiting the trees, the trail skirts the mountainside as it continues to climb in a leisurely manner. Crossing an open area, we came across some people enjoying a horseback ride through the mountains. What a beautiful way to explore!
About two and a half miles up, we came to the trail-head for Baldy Peak, and again followed the mountainside in a gradual climb toward the summit. At the top, as we signed the Summit Register, the views were absolutely spectacular as we enjoyed an excellent box lunch picnic, prepared by one of the restaurants in town.
Returning to the trail head, we consulted our map and decided to make a loop, following the Cutler Creek Trail for spectacular views of Courthouse, Coxcomb, Wetterhorn, the back of the Amphitheater and Potosi.
About two or three miles along the trail, we came to the trail head for Storm Gulch, which intersects the Baldy Trail, creating a loop that delivered us right back to the jeep.
After a nice little six hour hike, nothing is quite so nice as a long soak in the soothing natural hot springs at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, followed by a leisurely walk up town for dinner and a much deserved craft beer at one of the many great restaurants on Main Street.