Chief Ouray Mine Trail

#2 of 66 trails in Uncompahgre National Forest
Chief Ouray Mine Trail is a 4.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ouray, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

4.1 miles 1942 feet Out & Back
dog friendly kid friendly birding hiking nature trips walking horses forest views wild flowers
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Steep hike to beautiful secluded falls, overlook of Ouray, and famous mine Follow the trail located directly behind the sign and head uphill. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. When you reach a T junction take a left. Remember this location so you don't miss this turn on your return trip. Continue along this trail as it heads into the Amphitheater. At the Y intersection veer left (uphill) and begin a tough set of switchbacks that will take you up the amphitheater wall. The trail will then traverse West, cross the ridge and traverse back East to the Falls. Carefully cross Cascade Creek. This crossing can be trick with high water or ice present. After the crossing follow the trail to the bunkhouse, go through the bunkhouse, and continue on the trail on the other side. The next building is the mine building, and if you descend a little and continue a short ways you will find the old mine shaft. Return the way you came.

Natalie Gowen
9 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

A fabulous hike, however this is NOT a moderate hike if hiking with younger children. I would rate it close to difficult because of the narrowness of the trail and the steep drop offs. We did not make it to the mine because of the large amounts of shale lining the trail past the waterfall.

Our older children (10 and 12) handled it just fine, but our 3 and 4 year old don't have steady footing. They have climbed many steep trails, but the narrowness and rockiness of this trail combined with the steep drop offs on the switchbacks were too much. I would not attempt this again with such young kids.

We clocked 6 miles round trip to the waterfall (the mine was probably another .25 mile) from the end of 5th Avenue. Our mistake not to drive up to the Amphitheater camp ground.

ann baer
1 year ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Loved this hike. The waterfalls, gorgeous. Views of the town, wonderful. Exploring the abandoned mining shacks, very fun.

Justin Rickey
3 years ago

6 Completed5 Reviews

This was an awesome trail. It, like most trails out of Ouray, is pretty extraneous since most of the trail is pretty steep. But the views are definitely worth it. You get to see the town from a vantage point like none other for starters. Not only that but you get to see the historic mine, machine shop, and lodge. There are also other mines you pass along the way. You also get to see the upper cascade fall up close. There are two trail heads for this trail.. One in town off of 5th street I believe and one at the amphitheater, which is where I started. Although it rained on us both on the way up and back down, it was definitely worth the hike.

Amber Holthus
3 years ago

4 Completed1 Reviews

Beautiful! Amazing views from start to finish. I agree with the review that said not for those afraid of heights. Very steep and challenging but worth it!

Sergey Zelvenskiy
3 years ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

This trail is absolutely amazing!