Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Friday, May 15, 2009

Box Canyon Falls, Ouray

















Box Canyon Falls
Ouray

Date Hiked: May 15, 2009
  • Distance: 1 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: 300 ft
  • Managing Agency: City of Ouray
  • Use Fee - $4.00 Adults/$2.00 Kids/$3.00 Seniors
Box Canyon Falls Park Website

Directions:  In Ouray the park is located at the west end of Third Avenue.  If walking from Ouray, you need to walk up the dirt road at the end of Third Ave to enter the park, it is not far at all.

Box Canyon Falls is a wonder.  The waterfall pluges 285 feet through a narrow slot canyon with amazing force.  The City of Ouray built this park in order to allow you to get up close and personal with this impressive waterfall.  The park has two main attractions, the lower trail and the upper trail.  The lower trail consists mostly of a steel walkway weaving through the slot canyon to the base of the falls.  You will get wet on this trail, joyfully wet...

The upper trail is no less impressive.  You walk up a series of steel staircases and switchbacks up to a walkway that traverses the top of the slot canyon, looking down on Box Canyon, the river, and the waterfall.  You also get a great view of the towering cliffs protecting Ouray from the rest of the world.



















Cascade Falls - Ouray

















Cascade Falls Park
Ouray, CO

Date Hiked: May 15, 2009

Distance: .4 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: Negligible
Managing Agency:  Ouray
Fee: None

Directions:  The park is located at the east end of 8th Ave in Ouray.

This is a very short hike to an incredible waterfall.  There are longer hikes that can be done from here, but if you are visiting Ouray, you really need to check out this waterfall as well as Box Canyon falls on the other side of town.  Just follow the wide trail to the base of the falls, no biggie, except for the falls of course...






Thursday, May 14, 2009

Point Lookout Trail, Mesa Verde National Park

















Point Lookout Trail
Mesa Verde National Park

Date Hiked: May 14, 2009

Distance: 2.2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 600ft
Elevation Min/Max: 7,900 to 8,500ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Fee: Yes

Mesa Verde National Park Website & Map (NPS)

Directions:  This hike starts from the North end of the Morefield campground.

The Point Lookout Trail starts from the Morefield Campground and makes for a wonderful hike in the evening before bed, or bright and early in the morning.  The trail is somewhat steep and switchbacks up the side of the mountain to a series of viewpoints of the Mancos Valley.  It is a wonderful hike and makes for a great spot to watch the sunset.






Spruce Treehouse, Mesa Verde National Park

















Spruce Treehouse
Mesa Verde National Park

Date Hiked: May 14, 2009

Distance: .5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 100ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Fee: Yes

Mesa Verde National Park Website & Map (NPS)

Directions:  The entrance to Mesa Verde is located off of Hwy 160, 36 miles west of Durango and 10 east of Cortez.  There is one main park road and the Spruce Treehouse Trailhead is located at the end of the road near the Museum and Balcony House.

While visits to the Spruce Treehouse cliff dwelling are Ranger guided only in the Winter, the spring, summer, and fall allow visitors to visit the dwellings as a self-guided tour.  The only caveat is that you can't actually go into the dwellings the way you can when the tour is guided.  Even though, this is a must do hike at Mesa Verde.

The paved trail starts at the Museum and winds down to the base of the dwelling.  You can walk along and weave through, the impressive cliff dwelling at your own pace.  Rangers are on hand to answer all your annoying questions...  The end of this trail marks the start of the Petroglyph Point and Spruce Canyon Trails if you want to explore further.














Petroglyph Point Trail, Mesa Verde National Park
















Petroglyph Point Trail
Mesa Verde National Park

Date Hiked: May 14, 2009
  • Distance: 2.4 mi (RT)
  • Elevation Gain: ~600 feet
  • Elevation Min/Max: 6,600 to 7,000ft
  • Managing Agency: National Park Service
  • Fee: Yes
Mesa Verde National Park Website & Map (NPS)

Directions:  The entrance to Mesa Verde is located off of Hwy 160, 36 miles west of Durango and 10 east of Cortez.  There is one main park road and the Petroglyph Point Trailhead is located at the end of the road near Spruce Treehouse and Balcony House.

There are a number of moderate and long hikes in Mesa Verde and Petroglyph Point is a great option to get away from the crowds and get intimate with the surrounding landscape.  Start the hike on the trail to the Spruce Treehouse (see these two attractions together).  The first part of the hike will take you through scrub oak and evergreen forests that cut through the side of the canyon wall.  There are many nice viewpoints of the canyon along the way.  There are also really fun rock formations that you need to climb over, under, and through.  These obstacles make this trail a riot for kids.

At the end of the first segment, you'll come to the very impressive Petroglyphs drawn into the cliff walls.  At this point, the trail ascends the canyon and puts you on the canyon rim.  This flat mesa top provides the landscape for your hike back.  The canyon views are impressive and in the spring, you'll find out just why this area is called Mesa Verde, as the foliage is green and lush (for a desert anyway...).  The trail takes you back to Spruce Treehouse and the Visitor's Center.  All in all, this is a great easy hike with ample opportunities to get away from the crowds.