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“Great Half Day Hike”
Review of Perimeter Trail

Perimeter Trail
Ranked #8 of 36 things to do in Ouray
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed October 8, 2013

The perimeter trail is beautiful, not too difficult, and easily accessible from Ouray. The trail passes by Cascade Falls, through the Portland trail, the Ice Park, and across the top of Box Canyon falls. We hike the trail once a year and always enjoy it. The only downside is that the trail is not well marked in certain areas (near the Portland trail and through the Ice Park), so we're not sure we've hiked the correct path.

Thank Tracy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"cascade falls"
in 48 reviews
"visitor center"
in 23 reviews
"baby bathtubs"
in 15 reviews
"great hike"
in 21 reviews
"box canyon"
in 36 reviews
"ups and downs"
in 6 reviews
"bring plenty of water"
in 3 reviews
"challenging hike"
in 5 reviews
"in town"
in 15 reviews
"elevation gain"
in 4 reviews
"oak creek"
in 3 reviews
"entire town"
in 3 reviews
"surrounding mountains"
in 7 reviews
"afraid of heights"
in 7 reviews
"drop offs"
in 5 reviews
"hot springs"
in 9 reviews
"ice climbing"
in 4 reviews
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184 - 188 of 254 reviews

Reviewed September 29, 2013

This is a wonderful trail with a variety of terrains and views- waterfalls, mountains, aspens, town views, Box Canon, meadows, etc. It took us about 3 hours to hike the 4.2 miles round trip from the Visitor Center (we took the shortcut), and that was with a lot of stops to take pictures; plus we took the initial steep ascent rather slowly. The best town views are right at the beginning: from the Visitor Center, you climb steeply along the hillside, with views of the town on your right, until reaching Cascade Falls. The best mountain views are just after Potato Patch, at the highest point, before the steep descent down to Highway 550. If you decide to do only part of the trail, try to hike at least one of those two sections. Note that the western edge of the hike isn’t finished yet, and right now it's simply a walk through town along Oak Street.

Before starting this hike, stop at the friendly Ouray Visitor Center to get a map and directions. They recommend doing it clockwise- otherwise, you’re likely to miss some of the signs. The hike has about an 800 foot change in elevation from the lowest to the highest point, but with the ups and down on the trail it’s probably more like a 1200 foot change for a hiker. The “Ouray Perimeter Trail” signs are ubiquitous and pretty clear, but we did manage to get lost once, in the Baby Bathtubs area. The reason is that the map doesn’t match the directions: it doesn’t show Little Portland Creek or the crossing for it, although it does show Portland Creek with its footbridge. Once we started following the directions rather than the map, we were fine.

Thank travelerfromsj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2013

Wonderful hike. We started at the visitor's center and hiked up to the potato patch (highest trail elevation), then cut back through to town for lunch. Our shortened version had it all - waterfalls, bubbling streams, quiet forests, spectacular views... it was such a delight. One thing to note - it was hunting season and we didn't bring any blaze orange, although the trailhead warned that hikers should be wearing some. We almost drove right through Ouray, and would have really missed one of the favorite hikes of our trip if we had.

Thank T. Maria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013

We did this hike before heading up into the San Juan Mountains for 6 days on their hut system. We were delighted to discover that Ouray had this perimeter trail, as we felt that it would help us sea-level folks get used to the higher elevations for our upcoming hike.

The Trail did not disappoint -- in fact, we were amazed at the variety of views and terrains that we encountered! Beautiful Cascade waterfall, marshy areas, forests with lush ferns, cool shade and the smell of balsam, the Box Canyon gorge with its kinda-scary see-through metal grate bridge over the sheer drop, and meadows still filled with wild flowers. There were several paths that led back down into town in case you didn't want to walk the entire route. The trail was mostly clearly marked, although we got confused at one point and hiked an additional mile or so on the Baby Bathtubs loop.

Saw lots of families, dogs and children on the hike. For a Sunday, it never felt crowded. It was very enjoyable!

1  Thank suzinvt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 17, 2013

This is a fun hike. We kept a good pace and it took 3+ hours. About a third of the hike is on dirt or service roads and one paved section, but the rest of the trail is singletrack and very nice. It is moderate+ with some fairly steep climbs. We enjoyed it, but I would give one serious warning since Ouray is a family area. Be careful with kids (and pets). There is a fairly long section where you hike with a rock wall on one side and a sheer cliff on the other. The trail is a couple feet wide most of the time, and if you are a sure-footed hiker, not afraid of hights, you will have no problems and you will love the view. However, I would never put my young child on that section. It is just unforgiving.

Thank Lynn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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