To reach the parking for the Idarado Mine viewing area, drive south on US550 out of Ouray for approximately 12 miles to a turnoff on the right that leads to a large parking circle that overlooks the Idarado Mine complex, most of which is on the south side of the highway. This is just before a very tight switchback. If coming from Durango/Silverton, drive north on US550 to the summit of Red Mountain Pass. Continue from the pass to the north and drop down just under 2 miles to the same turnoff that leads to the parking area, which will be just after the same tight switchback. The parking area is passenger car accessible. There are no facilities there.

Previously we advised that you could walk down through the old, somewhat preserved structures just west of the parking area to begin the hike. These are known as the "Idarado Houses" and have historic value. A two-year preservation and restoration project is presently underway (as of 2022) and the area is cordoned off. To begin your hike, either park on the switchback just above the viewing area (there's room for a few vehicles there) and walk NW avoiding the gated area off to the left to begin your hike., or park in the viewing area and walk up to the switchback curve along the highway to start.


The nearest camping areas are back north in the vicinity of Ironton and Ironton Park. There are primitive sites a short distance up the road for Corkscrew Gulch. There are plenty more primitive sites on the south side of US550 just south of the turnoff for Corckscrew Gulch. A few primitive sites can be found in the vicinity of Red Mountain Pass and up the Black Bear Pass road.

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