Storm's Gulch - #212/Shortcut - #138

Storm's Gulch Trail | Shortcut Trail

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Storm's Gulch Camp Site


Whitehouse from Storm's Gulch

Storm's Gulch

TRAILHEAD:
The Storm's Gulch Trail begins off the Baldy trail, so follow directions to Baldy Trail. The Storm's Gulch Trail begins 100 yards up the Baldy Trail. Turn right and continue upstream.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
From the Baldy trailhead to the ridge (junction with the Baldy Trail) the round trip is 4.6 miles with an altitude gain of 1,600 feet. Storm's Gulch Trail follows a small stream to good camping areas surrounded by forested hills. It then ascends to a rocky ridge that provides a scenic view back down the valley and across to Whitehouse Mountain. It provides a great loop trip when combined with the Baldy or Okeson Trails.

In less than a half mile a game trail crosses the creek into an open meadow, which provides a great setting for the first campsite. Just beyond, at 0.5 mile, is the Shortcut Trail junction, the Uncompahgre Wilderness boundary, and another good campsite. Continue straight, across the stream, and stay left in the meadow that opens before you. The trail goes to the left at the top of the meadow (look for a cairn and a blaze). In 0.2 mile, a well-defined game trail goes off to the right, but soon disappears. Stay left; the trail passes a large, impressive rock formation on the right.

The trail switchbacks up-valley for another 0.5 mile, crossing a small stream, and then levels for a bit before it climbs to an open rocky ridge overlook with great views. The trail then follows the ridge another 0.3 mile, enters an aspen forest, and then 0.4 mile futher joins the Baldy Trail.

Turn left to complete a loop trip via the Baldy Trail (3.4 miles). Add 1.2 miles to climb Mount Baldy on the return.

Turn right to complete a loop trip via the Baldy and Shortcut trails (3.8 miles).

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Shortcut Trail

TRAILHEAD:
Follow the directions to the Storm's Gulch trailhead. Follow the Storm's Gulch Trail for 0.5 mile to the Shortcut trailhead.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
The Shortcut Trail provides an easterly route to the Baldy Ridge, a round trip of 4.8 miles from the Baldy trailhead, with an altitude gain of 1,840 feet. It is a direct route up the valley, with few switchbacks, ending in a beautiful meadow and a well-established hunting camp on the ridge.

At the trailhead, turn right, cross Storm's Gulch, pass the Uncompahgre Wilderness boundary sign, and proceed directly across the meadow. Look for cairns and a blaze at the east end of the meadow. Long logs also mark the trail as it makes a sharp left turn and heads uphill from the far, top end of the grassy meadow. The trail stays in the woods and has several small stream crossings and many intersecting game trails. Continue up the draw until the trail enters an open forest. It emerges at the bottom of a large, grassy meadow (look for cairns and posts). Head straight up the meadow another 0.1 mile to the Baldy Trail junction.

Turn left 1.8 miles to the Storm's Gulch Trail, or right 0.3 mile to the Okeson Trail.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS:
Some care in route finding is needed crossing the first meadow above the lower junction due to high grass that hides the trail, and to numerous game trails intersecting the main trail.

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Sutton Overlook/Neosho Mine - #197






Sutton Rock Fin
From Trail to Neosho
Photo by Steve Caldwell


Trail Just Below the Mine


Approaching the Old Tram Tower


Bear Creek Falls from the Sutton Mine


Another View of Bear Creek


Bear Creek Falls
Fron Trail to Neosho
Photo by Steve Caldwell



Ouray Overlook

Ouray & Cactus

Rock Climbing


Trail Towards the Overlook


Bear Creek Overlook


Bear Creek Falls from Near the Neosho

Photos courtesy of Peggy Spindler

 

The Sutton Mine Trail has yet to be approved by the Forest Service, and thus is not open to the mine at this time. However, the trail is open to an overlook of the Bear Creek Falls and gorge from the west side of the Uncompahgre River. Then, beyond the overlook, the trail extends to the Neosho Mine (have you seen the laundry hanging by a building across the gorge above Bear Creek Falls, and the "Antiques" sign?).

TRAILHEAD:  
Departing Ouray on Highway 550 south, turn right after the first switchback onto the Camp Bird Road (CR 361). The trailhead will be found on the left, about half way up Jim Brown Hill (the more or less straight part of the road where you can look down on the town of Ouray, to the right). There is limited parking at the trailhead. If full, park near the powder house below the bridge over the Uncompahgre.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES
The round trip to the overlook and back is only about 4 miles, with a 900 foot altitude gain enroute. The first one half mile is steep, but provides a beautiful view of Ouray. The next 1.3 miles are gentle and follow along the top of the bench above the Uncompahgre River gorge to the overlook. To continue on the the Neosho and its well preserved "Antiques 9-5:30" blacksmith shop and boardinghouse, go right over the two Ralston Creek gorges another .5 mile. This section offers a unique view of Bear Creek gorge and falls.

                   
Sutton Mine Rock Fin                 Mt. Abram            
Amphitheater in the Background    from the Trail                

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Twin Peaks - #207

Twin Peaks | Old Twin Peaks Trail


Aspen Glade on Way Up


Crossing Oak Creek


Ouray from Twin Peaks

Photos Courtesy of Brian Williams


The Twin Peaks Trail

TRAILHEAD:
The Twin Peaks and Oak Creek Trails share a common trailhead. Go to Oak Street, which parallels Main Street on the west side of the Uncompahgre River. 3rd or 7th Avenues will take you to Oak Street. Go up Oak Street to the top of the hill to Queen Street, which heads west. Take Queen Street one block and turn left on South Pinecrest Drive for the route to the trailhead. Parking: Without 4WD, you will need to park on Oak Street or in the limited space before going up South Pinecrest Drive, because the road is steep, rough and deeply rutted beyond the houses. With 4WD and high clearance, you may wish to try for the limited parking spaces near the trailhead.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
The two trails are the same for 0.9 mile. At 0.6 mile is a big slab rock giving an overlook of Cañon Creek and on up to U.S. Mountain. When the trails fork, Twin Peaks Trail bears of to the right and down into Oak Creek Gorge. Crossing the creek may not be safe during high water; do not take chances! Farther along there are nice views southeasterly and down into Ouray. One mile from the fork is the junction with the trail down to the Silvershield Mill. Go left for twin peaks. The trail soon steepens and averages a tough 5 rating for the remaining mile to the Peaks. You will welcome a respite as you approach the open ridge at Sister Peak, where the views are great. On the way to the summit, the trail is very steep and has a treacherous gravelly surface going along the edge of precipitous slopes! It is much safer to head upward inside the treeline. Views from the summit are outstanding.

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Hayden from Twin Peaks


Bryan Williams on Top with
Whitehouse in Background

Photos Courtesy of Brian Williams


A grouse at the intersection of Old Twin Peaks and the Silvershield


The Old Twin Peaks Trail

TRAILHEAD:
Park on Oak Street near Queen Street or in the limited parking space at the intersection of Queen Street and South Pinecrest Drive. Go through that intersection; the road curves to the right as you pass the house on your left. The trail takes off to the right just before a gate.

The trail from just beyond the overlook to its intersection with the Silvershield trail was re-opened in the spring of 2004 by the Ouray Trail Group in cooperation with the USFS. Nearly 550 man-hours were needed to complete the trail, which had been obliterated by a rock slide in the mid '80s. Around 300 steps were placed using rock, logs and 4x4s, and 607 feet of cribbing was placed to help hold the trail in this very steep gorge.

ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
In 20 minutes this trail takes you up to an overlook, guarded by a fence, where the trail turns to go into the Oak Creek Gorge. Views are of Ouray, the Amphitheater, Mt. Abram and Hayden Mountain around to the deep gorge of the cascading creek and cliffs towering upward to Twin Peaks. The trail continues for 200 yards along the steep cliffs to another gorge to the right, where the steep climb begins. It is 1.2 miles from the trailhead to the intersection with the Silvershield. Upon reaching the intersection, proceed uphill about 20 yards to the left to the Twin Peaks trail intersection.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS:
The trail has steep pitches which require caution, particularly when going downhill. Beyond the overlook, the drop-offs to the creek are intimidating to some people and unsafe for children. The climb is extremely steep to its intersection with the Silvershield trail. It is recommended that one returns to Ouray via either the Silvershield or Oak Creek trail.

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