Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Elevation: 9720 - 9925 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Larson Brothers Schoolhouse
Attractions: Forest hike, Scenic views
The Beaver-Belfast trail is located in the Ironton Park area of the Uncompahgre National Forest south of Ouray, Colorado. The trail begins at the Larson Brothers Schoolhouse where it climbs through stands of aspens to the Beaver and Belfast Mine sites. Scenic views of the Ironton Park area and the Red Mountain peaks can be seen from the trails end.
The trail begins near the Larson Brothers Schoolhouse that sits across from the old mining town of Ironton along the Million Dollar Highway about 8 miles south of the town of Ouray.
After parking near the schoolhouse the trailhead can be found near the edge of the forest just across the tailings pile of the Larson Brothers Mine.
The trail begins with a moderate climb through the aspen trees that grace the eastern slope of Hayden Mountain (13,206 feet).
Several switchbacks take the steepness out of the climb. The trail gains right at 200 feet of elevation if you hike all the way to its high point.
Even though this is a forest hike the trail base is composed mostly of rock and scree rather than the loamy composition that one might expect.
As the trail progresses it eventually reaches some mine ruins.
A rickety looking tailings chute is still standing while the building materials for most everything else are scattered about the site on the ground.
The views of the valley at this point are pretty good but if you continue climbing to the trails end they are much better.
After another switchback or two the trail comes to an end at another tailings pile.
Looking across the valley from this vantage point the three Red Mountain peaks are in full view.
In the valley below what remains of the once bustling town of Ironton can be seen. Between 1880 to 1890 the town had 1,000 residents as well as its own fire department and water works. The tailings pond of the Idarado Mine has replaced all but 5 of the buildings that were once present.