Ice Park

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 7950 - 8234 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Camp Bird Road
Fee: none
Attractions: Close to town




The Ice Park trail is located in Ouray, Colorado. The trail begins and ends off of the Camp Bird Road on the south edge of town where it makes a loop around a section of the Uncompahgre Gorge where there is an ice climbing area along the steep cliffs of the gorge that is very popular during the cold winter months. During the warmer summer months the trail is a popular short hike where the views of the gorge and surrounding mountains provide the opportunity for a very pleasant experience.


To get to the trailhead travel south through town and turn right at the sign for Box Canyon Falls as the highway begins switchbacking its way up the mountain. After turning off of the highway you will be on the Camp Bird Road. Follow it past the first right hand turn that leads to Box Canyon Falls and park at the switchback. After parking begin walking up the road toward the gorge where the trail begins on the left.


The first 50 yards or so of the trail is a little steep as it climbs away from the road.


After passing through a tall stand of spruce where there is a trail register the route pops out into the open and continues between the Uncompahgre Gorge, on the right, and the Million Dollar Highway, on the left.


Abrams Mountain (12,801 feet) fills the background as you look up the gorge towards Ironton Park.


A little past the half mile point the Ouray Perimeter trail connects from the right. The two trails share the same route for most of the rest of the distance.


At this point the route begins following an old road that begins a gentle descent into the gorge.


Near the bottom of the hill a short series of switchbacks take the trail down to a footbridge that crosses the to the other side of the Uncompahgre River.


On the west side of the gorge the trail loops back in the other direction. At first it is sandwiched between the highwall and the water pipe that begins at the dam for the Ouray Hydroelectric Plant. Signs are posted that warn people to stay off of the penstock and only cross it where there are ladders.


A fun diversion from the main route is to cross the penstock at one of the ladders and follow the trails that lead to the different ice climbing areas. There isn't a lot of action going on during the summer but the views of the gorge are quite nice.


Off one of the trails there is a short route that leads all of the way down to the river.


Continuing along the main route leads back to the Camp Bird Road where the Ouray Perimeter trail crosses the road breaking off once again on its own. To get back to the parking area follow the road to the right where there is a bridge that crosses back over the gorge.


Many of the locals don't bother driving to the trailhead and neither do some of the visitors that are staying at one of the nearby hotels. The Ice Park trail is so close to town that a person can begin from most anywhere. The town of Ouray has quite a few trails when you think about it that are all within walking distance of the downtown area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.