Driving approximately 10 miles total; less than 1 hour roundtrip. Hiking approximately 4 miles roundtrip; about 4 hours total, with stop for trail lunch; elevation gain of roughly 500 feet and maximum elevation of about 8,000 feet.
At a local restaurant, we choose plated meals from the menu with freshly brewed coffee, tea, milk, juice and water.
After transferring via van, we’ll begin our hiking adventure with an easy hike in the forest near Ouray after gathering in the brisk morning mountain air with our resident geologist and Group Leader. This short trail gains about 500 feet in elevation over its well-groomed course following Portland Creek through the basin above the Amphitheater, a large depression in one of the mountainsides surrounding Ouray. The Amphitheater resulted from volcanic activity some 60 million years ago. The rewards of the hike are the magnificent vistas and nearby waterfalls that fall magnificently into the amphitheater area.
Along the trail, we’ll stop to have our boxed lunches.
Next, we’ll travel to the trailhead and take a short hike in Box Canyon Park. The trailhead begins at the southwest end of town and allows us another view of the town nestled in its valley. As we continue walking along the gorge, high above the ribbon of Canyon Creek, we’ll cross "The High Bridge," built in 1900 to carry a water pipeline between two reservoirs. The project was disbanded in 1950 when extra water was no longer needed. Making our way into Box Canyon, we’ll reach Box Canyon Falls along a catwalk passing a winch left by miners who were unsuccessful at finding gold in the creek sediments.
At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu with coffee, tea, soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
At leisure. You may wish to explore the historical, Victorian town of Ouray, or perhaps take a swim in the hot springs pool.