Twin Peaks

Round Trip Distance: 6.8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 8,145 - 10,712 feet
Elevation gain: 2,539 feet (one-way)
Cellphone: 2-4 bars
Time: 6 hrs.
Trailhead: Oak Creek/Twin Peaks
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, scenic views

The Twin Peaks trail is located on the west side of Ouray, Colorado. The trail begins a few blocks from the middle of town where it climbs steeply to the top of the mountain Twin Peaks. Enroute and from the summit the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are incredible. Besides the health benefits of the demanding workout the views are the hiker's reward for all their efforts.

The trailhead is close enough to downtown Ouray that it can be reached by walking. You can save about 500 feet of elevation gain by driving up to the trailhead. One good route is to turn west onto 7th Street from Main Street and follow it to Oak Street and turn left. Follow Oak Street to Queen Street and turn right. Now follow Queen Street to S. Pinecrest Drive where you turn left and continue up the mountain to the trailhead. The last part of the road is very steep and may require a high clearance vehicle. There are several pullouts big enough for a vehicle or two where you can park if you are unable to drive all the way.

As the trail angles its way up the hill it passes a sign with various trail distances and a registration box. At this point the trail is sharing routes with a branch of the Ouray Perimeter trail.

Soon the trail branches off as the Ouray Perimeter trail continues on toward the Old Oak Creek/Twin Peaks trailhead.

Near the 1 mile point the Oak Creek and Twin Peaks trails go their separate ways.

The first good views of the hikes destination come into view after passing the point where the Oak Creek trail branches off. The attractive knob on the right is called Sister Peak while Twin Peaks are the double knobs on the left.

The trail gives up a little elevation as it drops down and crosses Oak Creek.

After crossing Oak Creek the trail continues climbing on a moderately steep grade. The higher the trail gets the more spectacular the views become.

Near the 2 mile point an intersection comes up where the Silvershield and Old Twin Peaks trails connect on the right. From here it is another 1.2 miles to the ridge between Twin Peaks and Sister Peak.

The trail is very pleasant as it passes around the east side of the mountain below Twin Peaks.

The next mile of the trail is a little more primitive and contains some of the steepest pitches. As you climb watch for the adit of the old Speedwell Mine that has been sealed shut by the Division of Reclamation. Just past that as the trail momentarily levels off there is the ruins of an old shack.

The last part of the trail up to the ridge climbs moderately through dark timber.

As the trail reaches the ridge your attention is immediately drawn toward Sister Peak and the stunning views of Ouray and the surrounding mountains.

From the saddle of the ridge there is a bit more climbing to do if you want to get all the way up to Twin Peaks.

If the climb up to the craggy summit wasn't fulfilling enough the views should complete your compensation. Getting to the top of the small summit requires some good Class III+ scrambling that is best avoided when wet. This picture is looking west between the two pillars of the summit up the drainage of Oak Creek with Whitehouse Mountain (13,492 feet) looming high above.

The view of the Amphitheatre on the east side of Ouray isn't too shabby either. The best views of the gigantic mass of Hayden Mountain can also be seen from Twin Peaks.

Several people had commented to us on how steep the Twin Peaks trail is. Mentally we were prepared for more of a challenge than what we experienced. While there are a few spots that are very steep they tend to be short in distance. With an average grade of 25% and some spots that are above 50% the Twin Peaks trail is still a great workout. All you have to do is look at a picture of Ouray with mountains towering thousands of feet above the valley floor on all sides to imagine that any hike up one of those mountains is going to be a challenge. The Twin Peaks trail is no exception but with its elevated vantage point it provides some incredible views. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.