40 Stories in 40 Weeks: The Ouray North Corridor Trail

By Sharon Sullivan

The Ouray North Corridor Trail (also known as the Uncompahgre River Walk Loop) was created in 1999. The 18 conserved acres includes a two-mile loop along the river with a bridge linking the two sides. Exercise stations, playgrounds, benches and picnic tables along the trail draw townspeople and visitors alike.

The conserved property also provides access for kayakers and recreationists who want to float the river. During the winter, Ouray County Nordic Council volunteers groom the trails for cross-country skiers.

“People use the trail all the time,” former Ouray mayor Bob Risch said. “It’s a good place to walk dogs. I take my black lab who loves to swim in the river.”

Interpretive signage along the trail informs visitors of the town’s turn-of-the-century gold-mining days. Remnants of the old mines can be seen from the trail on the cliffsides, where cascading waterfalls can also be spotted.

While the town of Ouray granted the conservation easement to enhance wildlife and aquatic habitat, hikers, bicyclists, and families also enjoy the spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains, and opportunities to see bighorn sheep, lynx, and other wildlife.

The Ouray North Corridor Trail is a gentle, mostly level path that can be accessed from the Ouray Hot Springs Pool parking area, or the Ouray Visitor Center at 1230 Main St. You can also pick up the trail at Chautauqua Lane, across from Rotary Park, or from Uncompahgre Street.

2020 Update: The mayor of Ouray, Greg Nelson, was kind enough to share his thoughts on the trail, which he and his wife use multiple times a week: “I think it is a wonderful asset to the community–it is a great way to get out and experience nature right here in town. We enjoy listening to the birds and the sound of the river flowing next to the trail, and have even seen black foxes and beavers while out on our walks.”

Mayor Nelson went on to say that he would love to create a good standard to maintain the surrounding land, which has become overgrown. “The trail needs some attention; it gets plenty of use but has been an under-cared for resource in the past,” he said. “I see potential here to enhance the trail in a way that maintains its natural beauty for all to enjoy.”

At Colorado West Land Trust, we are delighted to know that the Ouray North Corridor Trail remains an important resource for the community of Ouray. We look forward to exploring future opportunities to work alongside Mayor Nelson and the City to further protect and enhance the surrounding area’s natural beauty.

One of our board members, Bill Findlay, recently shared the photo featured while walking along the Ouray North Corridor Trail. As you can see, the trail boasts stunning views of the valley surrounding the Uncompahgre River, just north of the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.