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Cow Creek


The Cow Creek Trail begins at the very end of the Cow Creek Road (off County Road 12). A 4WD vehicle is needed to cross Cow Creek and beyond to the end of the road, where parking is available near the trailhead.


It is 10.2 miles round trip to the Wetterhorn Basin overlook with an altitude gain of 4,000 feet. The trail switchbacks steeply 0.5 mile to the Uncompahgre Wilderness boundary. At 0.8 mile, on the ridge, is a huge rock wall along the west bank of Cow Creek below. Camps are passed 1.5 and 2.4 miles. A side trail goes right at 3.4 miles; stay left. At 3.6 miles is a fantastic basin with a huge vertical ridge ahead. The trail angles right, passing two house-sized rocks. Look for a cairn at 3.9 miles, partly concealed by fallen trees, which marks the trail as it heads right across talus. At 4.1 miles, go left downhill across gray, sandy soil and rock. Look for a spectacular fin-shaped pinnacle to the right. At 4.6 miles a large tree blocks a switchback on the right; go left around several trees to pick up the trail again. The dramatic dark summit of Wetterhorn Peak now comes into view. Stay right and follow the well-defined trail to the overlook on the ridgeline; look for cairns at the top (5.1 miles).

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Ouray Mountain Rescue, under the direction of the Ouray County Sheriff's Office, is always on call for assistance. The Rescue Team is a volunteer organization of mountaineers, technical climbers, paramedical personnel and a K-9 team. All are experienced in rescue techniques. In order to offset training and equipment expenses, tax-deductible donations are gratefully appreciated. Thank you for your support.

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