Portland Trail

Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

Distance3.1mi
Elevation Gain2,417ft
Trailhead Elevation8,955ft
Top9,249ft
Elevation Min/Max8309/9249ft
Elevation Start/End8955/8978ft

Portland Trail

Portland Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Ouray, Colorado. It is within Uncompahgre National Forest. It is 3.1 miles long and begins at 8,955 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,417 feet. This trail connects with the following: Perimeter Trail and Chief Ouray Trail.

Portland Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Native Americans, explorers, surveyors, and especially miners of the San Juan Mountains’ historic silver boom from 1882 to 1893 created numerous paths and passes into these rugged mountains. Situated above the spectacularly quaint town of Ouray (U-ray) at the base of Red Mountain Pass, the Portland Trail—leading to the Portland Silver Mine—is one such path. A half-mile south of Ouray and up US Hwy, you’ll find the turnoff to the Uncompahgre National Forest’s Amphitheater Campground and parking area, where the Portland Trail begins.

The Portland Trail enables hikers to adjust to the altitude of the San Juan Mountains on a path much less traveled than the Cascade Falls trails, although they intersect at numerous points. Surrounded by 12,000 to 14,000-foot peaks, this trailhead begins at 8,265 feet in elevation, (the parking area is at 8,130 feet) and eventually tops out at 9,231 feet. It was built by miners at the Portland Silver Mine, which, itself was blasted into the side of a nearly vertical granite wall on the southwest side of this natural amphitheater."

"The quaint mountain town of Ouray boasts some of the most dramatic terrain in the state, and along with the lofty beauty is a rich history underground. The Portland Mine burrowed into the rock in the rugged mountains above Ouray, and today the well-maintained Portland Trail takes hikers on a mellow journey through rich and verdant forest and hugs the edge of a deep valley flanked by a grand amphitheater of beauteous alpine scenery. This epic mountain cirque rises nearly 4000 feet higher than the tiny town below! The trail follows mostly gentle grades, and braids of streams fall down the slopes of the massive bowl, their soothing songs echoing throughout this high-altitude arena.

This short loop starts by slanting steeply away from the parking lot, forging southwest through pine and short shrubbery as we head toward the Uncompahgre Gorge. At the trail’s first curve, we are treated to glimpses of the impressive walls and cirques that enfold Ouray. If ever there was an archetypal mountain town, surely this is it. It’s difficult not to just stop and stare—what a beautiful place."

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Trail Information

Uncompahgre National Forest
Nearby City
Uncompahgre National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Uncompahgre National Forest Ranger Station, Ouray District Office, 2505 S. Townsend, Montrose, CO 81401, (970) 240-5300
Local Contacts
Hiking Trails of Ouray County and the Uncompahgre Wilderness; Ouray, CO; Uncompahgre National Forest Map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018