Ironton Red Mountain
Beginning six miles south of Ouray along Highway 550, or Million Dollar Highway, is the historic Red Mountain Mining District. The first six miles of the drive from Ouray is through the precipitous Uncompahgre Gorge, a testament to the capabilities of early road builders. A stop at the Bear Creek Falls overlook, three miles from town, is highly recommended. The National Scenic Bear Creek Trail begins here but its description is found on the Trails from Ouray page.
Trails in this valley range from gentle hikes such as the Mears Toll Road to more difficult ones such as the Hayden, Ptarmigan and Richmond Trails that ascend to over 12,000 feet. Others such as the Colorado Boy and Barstow trails access historic structures and mine ruins adding interest to the hiking experience.
The listing below is in order of increasing distance from Ouray with the first trailheads located next to Crystal Lake at the entrance to Ironton Park. Succeeding trails are found further south and at increasingly higher starting elevations. This area is a popular winter destination for Nordic skiing and hiking, and more information is available Ouraynordic.org.