Round Trip Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation: 7969 - 9620 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Dallas Creek
Attractions: Forest hike, deer, elk, waterfalls
The Corbett trail is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest north of Ouray, Colorado. The trail begins off of the Dallas Creek trail a little less than a mile from the Dallas Creek trailhead. From there it climbs steeply up the north side of Corbett Canyon. Near the 2.5 mile point from the trailhead the Corbett trail is connected to by the Corbett Canyon trail which heads south and connects to the Oak Creek trail. From there the Corbett trail turns north traveling through tall stands of aspen and spruce trees to where it reconnects with the Dallas Creek trail and comes to an end. Near the 3.2 mile point there is a shortcut trail that leads on up to Moonshine Park where it connects to the Dallas Creek trail. By itself the Corbett trail is only 2.8 miles long. For this post we have combined it with a portion of the Dallas Creek trail to form a 6 mile loop.
To get to the Dallas trailhead drive 1.8 miles north on US-550 measuring from the Ouray Visitor Center. Cross the bridge over the Uncompahgre River and turn right onto County Road 17. The trailhead will be on the left after crossing Corbett Creek in about a third of a mile.
The trail begins by angling up the hill past a registration box. Several switchbacks make the climb up the steep mountainside much easier. The trail is a well worn path of red dirt with small amounts of scree that doesn't really present a problem as far as making the trail slippery.
As the trail wraps its way up the mountain is passes next to a few scenic cliffs that form narrow terraces with just enough room to accommodate the trail. The trail crosses below one cliff face and then climbs up to the next level and crosses another. Be careful not to kick rocks down the mountain to avoid hitting other hikers or even the vehicles in the parking area.
Just before reaching the 1 mile point the Corbett Trail branches off on the left. This is where the loop begins for this post.
When it comes to steep climbs the first half of the Corbett trail is definitely not a slouch.
If you stick with it though it eventually eases up and after it begins traveling above Corbett Canyon there are majestic views of Whitehouse Mountain that make it all worthwhile. These photos were taken in early October while there were still some fall colors to enjoy. This part of Colorado has many truly rugged mountains and canyons.
The trail passes through thick patches of oakbrush as it travels along the side of the canyon. A few of them that aren't crowded out by the others have grown massive in size for a gambel oak.
Across the canyon a long waterfall can be seen taking a cascading plunge over a high cliff. The waterfall is probably much more of a torrent in spring and early summer. The sound of the water echoing through the canyon blends well with the music of the surrounding forest.
The oakbrush eventually gives way to tall stands of aspens and a healthy growth of grasses.
At the 2.5 mile point the Corbett Canyon trail branches off on the left where it is 2.5 miles over to the Oak Creek trail. A hike that we have seen others do is to begin at the Silvershield trailhead and take the Silvershield trail to the Oak Creek trail and hike up it along the north side of Twin Peaks to the Corbett Canyon trail and then take the Corbett Canyon trail to this point.
From the Corbett Canyon trail junction the trail turns sharply north where it does a little more climbing before beginning its descent towards the Dallas Creek trail. At the 3.2 mile point the shortcut trail to Moonshine Park branches off on the left.
After another half mile or so the Corbett trail reaches the Dallas trail and comes to an end. For this post we followed the Dallas trail back to the trailhead.
On the trip back we met up with several groups of backpackers. Two of the groups were couples but one of the groups had about 20 members in it.