Circling the City of Ouray, the Perimeter Trail takes Hikers on a Path to Beauty!
The Ouray Trail Group is a non-profit corporation of volunteers working with the U.S. Forest Service dedicated to the preservation and safe use of hiking trails in Ouray County.
Thanks to these fine individuals, we are fortunate to have miles and miles of mapped and marked trails at our fingertips in Ouray.
One of the newest and most popular trails is the Ouray Perimeter Trail. This 5.2 mile trek encircles the city of Ouray, offering spectacular views and an amazing hike for almost every level of expertise.
Formally, the trail begins across the street from the Ouray Visitor’s Center, on the East side of Highway 550, however the true appeal of this trail is its accessibility from several spots in town and off of other trails, as well as linking to a variety of other trails along the way.
To take the formal trail, walk from the visitor center up Main Street then left onto 8th Avenue. The trail takes you past Cascade Falls, to the Ampitheater, follows the Baby Bathtubs trail, and meanders along the Portland Trail for a little bit. Just a few more steps takes you through the Three Pines Day Use Area to Ohio Park.
The Potato Patch brings hikers to the highest point on the trail, at approximately 8500 feet. Spectacular views of the area take your breath away as you cross the highway, and travel along the Ice Park Trail toward the Upper Box Cañon Falls Trail, at which point you will cross a bridge that hovers over 200 feet above the Uncompahgre Gorge and walk through a tunnel carved into the mountain.
The path soon descends onto Oak Street, which leads hikers back to a bridge across the river and into Fellin Park and the Visitors Center.
The popularity of the Perimeter Trail cannot be explained with just one simple answer, it is just a great trail!
Every step offers a vantage of the town below, and the mountains all around. There are steep portions, however the trail is manageable for most levels of hiker. Trail heads intersect the Perimeter Trail frequently, offering a plethora of options and ideas for the next adventure!
Of course, you don’t have to start the trail from the Visitors Center, although it is nice to go in and check out all of the interesting and fun things to do in Ouray.
Wherever you decide to hike, remember to be safe! Hiking at altitude can quickly dehydrate you, so be sure to bring water. Wear appropriate shoes. The terrain changes rapidly, and good sturdy shoes will be a blessing to you! Don’t be afraid to turn back or take a rest if the trail feels too difficult hiking is not a race. Make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning, and try to have at least one other person with you. Hiking is a lot more fun with a buddy!
As always, don’t forget your camera! These trails are amazing, with sights and scenery your friends may not believe without proof. Every twist in the path, and every opening in the trees offers a dream panorama for photographers of every level!
And after a nice hike, there is no better way to relax than to take a long soothing soak in one of our all natural mineral hot spring tubs. The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is an ideal location for access to the Perimeter Trail, and a plethora of other adventures. Our knowledgeable staff can help you to plan the perfect adventure based on your experience and expertise. From steep switchbacks leading to unbelievable views, to mild meanderings through shady woods, there is no end to the adventures to be had in Ouray!