Moderate hike 4.4 miles round trip, 6 hours 900' elevation gain, highest elevation 9,000'
Breakfast at a local restaurant.
One of the great hikes accessed from town is the Sutton Mine Trail where some spectacular views beckon hikers. This hike is a fairly short out and back. From the trailhead, the hike is 2.2 miles to the Neosho Mine and the wonderfully decorated Antique Store. The first 0.5 miles is akin to walking on a stairmaster with an endless series of switchbacks. The trail is in very good shape, but, it is steep so slow and steady is the way to go. With a shorter stride, the Scenic Overlook comes soon enough. From this point on, the hike is very enjoyable. The trail undulates with an upward slope, with short spurts through stretches of pine trees with the occasional aspen. The views are very nice and you can see the Million Dollar highway below and the Amphitheater above. The Bear Creek Drainage to the east is an interesting site and with very good eyes one can watch 4x4s meander the spur that takes Jeepers up to Engineer Pass and connects Ouray to the Alpine Loop. The Bear Creek Overlook comes 1.7 miles from the trailhead. But, keep walking another 0.3 miles to the best view on the hike. Cross two streams (the first could easily be dry by late June and the second will last the full year), emerge from the forest at approximately 2.0 miles from the trailhead to a magnificent view of the Bear Creek Falls. This stunning vantage point for Bear Creek Falls comes with a wonderful picnic location too. Nice rocky outcroppings make for a nice bench in which to rest weary feet and the road below makes for some interesting observations. Bear Creek Falls goes under US Highway 550 and plunges 225 feet.
Picnic box lunch on trail
After lunch on the trail continue the hike. Arrive back in Ouray mid-afternoon. The town is named after the great Ute Chief Ouray (c. 1833–August 24, 1880). Ouray (Arrow in the Ute language) was a Native American chief of the Uncompaghre band of the Ute tribe, then located in western Colorado. Because of his leadership ability, Ouray was also acknowledged by the United States government as a chief of the Ute. In 1880 he left Colorado to travel to Washington, D.C., where he testified before Congress about the Ute uprising of 1879. He tried to secure a treaty for the his tribe, Uncompaghre Ute, who wanted to stay in Colorado; but, the following year, the United States forced the Uncompaghre and the White River Ute to the west to reservations in present-day Utah. Although unsuccessful in keeping their homelands in Colorado, Ouray was renowned as he sought reconciliation between peoples, with the belief that war with the whites likely meant the demise of the Ute tribe.
Dinner on own to explore Ouray restaurants