LoJ: #57 (Pre-LiDAR #58) / 13,979' Ouray, Mount

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mount Ouray
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 25' 22.05", W 106° 13' 29.10" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon Chipeta Mountain

Peak Summary

Mount Ouray is one of the easier Top 100 summits to both reach and ascend. It's a Class 2 hike with expansive views once the higher ridges are gained. In addition to the information we provide here, Gerry & Jennifer Roach have this summit written up in their book, "Colorado's Thirteeners," with several alternate routes suggested.

Mt. Ouray West & South Ridge Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Marshall Pass: 6.4mi / 3,200'
  • Trailhead
    • Marshall Pass TH

      The trailhead is basically the summit of Marshall Pass. Just on the east side of the pass, less than .2 mile down, there's a fairly large parking area where the road curves back from the north to the east. This is used primarily to access the shared Continental Divide & Colorado Trail and for ATV's. To get there from Gunnison, drive east on US50 to Sargents and turn right (SE) onto the Marshall Pass Road (CR243) which further up is FR243 and rated passable for passenger cars. At a major intersection about 5 miles in, be sure and stay right and continue on 243 to the pass which is about 16.5 long miles total. This road follows an old railroad bed so it never climbs steeply and to gain elevation, it seemingly winds all around to gain the pass.

      If coming from the Front Range, find you way to Poncha Springs where US285 and US50 intersect. Continue south on US285 and turn off to the right (SW) onto CR200 at Mears Junction (also labeled the Marshall Pass Road). If you have come to the summit of Poncha Pass, you've missed the turnoff. Turn around and go back about 2.4 miles. Follow the old railroad bed all the way to Marshall Pass. About 2.4 miles in, you'll need to make a right turn and less than a mile further, another right at a four-way junction in order to continue on course & FR200 to O'Haver Lake and eventually Marshall Pass. It's a little over 14 miles from the highway. To reach the actual pass summit, you would have just driven by the parking area mentioned above. CR200 is also rated passable for passenger cars as well.


      On both sides of Marshall Pass and especially in the vicinity of the pass you can find at-large, primitive campsites. On the east side of the pass, there's a fee-type, National Forest campground at O'Haver Lake.
    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Mt. Ouray West & South Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1990

    From Marshall Pass, walk north along the road until it begins to turn to the east and utilize trail if you want or head north into meadows with open forest to gain the broad south ridge that comes off Pt. 12,685. There is a short road that leads to a cabin near here that's two-tenths mile east of the pass summit. This road is just east of another 4WD road for the Colorado Trail. The cabin is called the "Hutchinson-Barnett" and is a public cabin, according to the Roach's. You can also begin your ascent from here.

    If you stay more to the east side of this south slope/ridge, you can avoid denser forest and follow up on mostly open grass & tundra with open trees all about. The goal would be to gain the ridge where it forms up and becomes more pronounced south of PT. 12,685. On Google Earth you can even spot a trail now that goes all the way up to the ridge and beyond. Once on the ridge, the now more defined trail generally stays just on the west side, but at one point, goes off on the east side to avoid an area of rocks. The trail leads to the top of PT.12,685 where it then turns east for Mount Ouray. You'll lose just a little elevation as you walk east to a saddle, then begin the more arduous almost 1,400 foot ascent to the summit of Ouray. The hike will become increasingly rocky the higher you go, but the rocky terrain is never very difficult. Our children did just fine handling the conditions. There's one minor rock outcrop to avoid.

    Once atop this isolated, high summit, you'll enjoy expansive views all around. Perhaps most impressive will be the view of the northern end of the Sangre de Cristo and of the San Luis Valley. Return by the way you came for a relatively easy descent.

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