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Blaine Basin

Intermediate
 4.2 (5) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A hike with great solitude to stunning Blaine Basin at the foot of Mt. Sneffels.


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Map Key

6.8

Miles

10.9

KM

Out and Back

11,100' 3,383 m

High

9,382' 2,860 m

Low

1,806' 551 m

Up

1,806' 551 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

39%

Max Grade (21°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Use this combination of trails to get up to Blaine Basin, a quiet green basin surrounded by towering mountains. When you arrive at Blue Lakes Trail trailhead and see all the cars in the parking lot, you might have second thoughts about hiking with such a large crowd who are mostly heading up Blue Lakes Trail. Consider trying this quieter trail instead.

Much of the route follows Wilson Creek which provides a pleasant background sound of running water. The hike will cross the creek a few times but at each of the crossings you should find a mini bridge built with multiple logs.

Description

Blaine Basin shares a trailhead with the very popular Blue Lakes Trail. It provides a quieter alternative that still has great opportunities for wildflowers and fabulous views. The trail ends in an incredible basin ringed by majestic mountains including Mt Sneffels.

From Ridgway (a small town north of Ouray) take CO 62 west (the only way). Drive around some steep bends before coming to a sign marked "National Forest access East Dallas Creek" with an arrow pointing south (to the left). Take this turn and continue on a 2WD dirt road. There are some turnoffs onto private property here and there, but just stay on the main road for about 9 miles. There's a clearing with camping options and a parking area about 0.2 miles further. Your starting elevation is 9,500 ft.

From the trailhead, take the left at the fork. This part of the trail is Dallas Trail 200 and is open to ATVs, but we didn't encounter any on a nice July weekend. The switchbacks start right away taking you ever higher up in a thick forest. The trail crosses Wilson Creek several times. At each crossing look for a solid multi-log bridge. Confused hikers have made extra trails to less sturdy crossings, so check out all the options before starting across. At the first Wilson Creek crossing the multi-log bridge is off to the right, look for a trail heading to it. In a short while the ATV traffic has to turn off to the left and then later Dallas Trail also heads off to the left. Now you are on Blaine Trail 203 which is open to horse and foot traffic only.

There are a few times along the trail where you can spot grand waterfalls or rugged mountains but the best view is towards the end of the trail when you pop out of the forest and into a cirque of rugged snow-capped peaks. The basin is a carpet of colorful wildflowers in July.

Flora & Fauna

The wildflowers up in the basin are fantastic in July.

Contacts

Shared By:

Janice Shepherd

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes

#3013

Overall
  4.2 from 5 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#393

in Colorado

#3,013

Overall
19 Views Last Month
3,387 Since May 29, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Narrow glimpses of majestic mountains egg you on to see more.
May 29, 2015 near Ouray, CO
At the water crossings you need good balance and the ability to convince your dog to turn around.
May 29, 2015 near Ouray, CO
East Fork of Dallas Creek.
May 29, 2015 near Telluride, CO
Blaine Basin carpeted with wildflowers and surrounded by high rocky mountains.
May 29, 2015 near Ouray, CO
Wilson Creek tumbling down from Blaine Basin. The trail crosses this creek several times. Look for sturdy multiple log bridges
May 29, 2015 near Ouray, CO

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Check-Ins

Jun 18, 2020
Gina Marie
3h 00m
May 23, 2020
Daylene York
7.8mi
Nov 10, 2018
Jen Norvell
Beautiful trail! Didn't see a single human once we left the parking lot. 6.3mi — 4h 10m