May 29, 2016
Credit to the title of our post goes to our new friends Adam and Kristin!
One of the best things about this adventure is meeting new people. While heading into Silverton one night, we were fortunate enough to see some moose on the side of the road. While taking pictures, I looked over at the girl next to us saw a MN license in her phone case. I said hello, and found out that they were full-time travelers as well just in town for the afternoon. We ended up having beers that night and then they invited us on the hike they were going to do in Ouray the next day. One of the greatest aspects of this journey is the freedom to be spontaneous. Plans are only guidelines, and can be changed in an instant if the right opportunity presents itself. The opportunity here was to make new friends, and go on a hike that we didn’t have on our agenda. Plus, we hadn’t done any activities in Ouray yet!
Bear Creek Trail is 2 miles south of Ouray, CO. You can’t miss the trail head or the parking lot as it is right before a cute little tunnel. The start of the hike climbs over the tunnel.
You have options on how far you want to go. The hike starts at 8,460 ft. and can go to: Grizzly Bear Mining Camp (9,900 ft. – 2.4 miles), Yellow Jacket Mining Camp (11,100 ft. – 4.2 miles), Horse Thief Trail (7.1 miles) or Engineer Pass (7.1 miles). This early in the season you are able to get to Yellow Jacket Mining Camp, but after that the path has washed out and you are using your arms to get across. We also think that the mileage is off as our Garmin said 3.5 miles to Grizzly Bear Mining Camp. It was a beautiful hike, with views, cliffs, and steep drop offs. We love that this hike is dog friendly! Most of the path is on slate, so your steps sound like a pretty wind chime as you are hiking. There are a few narrow spots along the trail that I got a little nervous about the drop-offs, but most of the trail is wide. Our round-trip hike on our Garmin declared 7 miles total, with 1,500′ of elevation gain. Time for a beer.
We got to the first mine camp and sat and had a snack and chatted with other hikers.
The hubby hiked up a Coca for me!
After the hike we went into town and got lunch and a beer at Ouray Brewing. They have 3.5 stars on Yelp, but I would totally disagree. They are set up with about four seating areas; lower bar, second floor looking at the tanks, third floor inside and then the rooftop. Their rooftop patio is awesome, and looks down main street Ouray. You can order beer and food directly from the bartender, and the food is delivered to your table when ready. We thought both the beer quality and food were really good. We had a pulled pork with two sides and a bun for $8, and a shrimp salad. Beers are around $5 and are really good. Kevin was happy with their IPA.
After lunch we had to say goodbye to our new friends, but we have plans to see them again in Palisade, CO at the end of the month!
We saw this little guy as we were leaving town.