Bear Creek

Located south of Ouray along the famed Million Dollar Highway, is a strenuous, adventurous hike that is not for anyone uncomfortable with heights. The round trip distance of this hike was 8.4 miles. 

In the 1870’s miners discovered large quantities of gold and silver in the Bear Creek basin southeast of Ouray. Accessing the claims proved difficult. A deep gorge, formed by sheer vertical walls rising high above the rugged creek bed, guarded the entrance to the basin. Building a trail in the steep rocky terrain along the creek bottom was not an option. Instead the miners blasted a narrow ledge into the cliff 700-ft. above the gorge. 

This exciting climb first goes up a series of switchbacks hewn out of the cliff face, then along ledges high above Bear Creek. Switchbacks on the first part of the trail rise steadily for a gain of 1,000 feet, then the trail levels out for some stretches as it turns eastward along the Bear Creek gorge. Beyond Bear Creek’s gorge the trail wanders through forests and alpine meadows beside the creek’s tumbling cascades. The Grizzly Bear mine is reached after 2.4 miles. The Yellow Jacket mine is reached after a total of 4.2 miles. 


Below is a link to video allowing you to accompany me on my journey along this magnificent trail. You can almost feel the vertigo of hiking from my point of view along the narrow trail 700 feet above Bear Creek. Then a short tour of the remnants of the Yellow Jacket mine. 

Ledge Trail Video















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