“Three thousand feet above Ouray? It's a whole different world up there. This hike passes by an old mine along the way.”
— Caroline Cordsen
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Camp Bird Road is plowed to and beyond the trailhead, and accessible year round. Skiing is popular on the lower half of the Weehawken Trail #206
before it pulls in towards the fork, but avalanche terrain exists along the trail leading up to the Alpine Mine. Keep your eyes and ears open, and take extra care while hiking this trail in the winter.
Far reaching views, insight into the area's vast mining history, and accessible year-round: the Alpine Mine Trail is a triple threat.
Located only about three miles down Ouray's infamous Yankee Boy Basin, this route is so easy to get to, yet seldom traveled. You'll likely find that you have the trail to yourself or with just a few other foolish souls looking to brave this strenuous undertaking. But don't let the quick elevation gain deter you as the views at the overlook are well worth the tough grind.
Need to Know
The trail narrows considerably at about two miles. Easing off briefly near the remains of the Alpine Mine, the trail narrows once again at the overlook. Keep a close eye on your pets and/or kids throughout these sections.
As the route gains over 2,000 feet in just three miles, the trail is especially steep and not for the faint of heart.
To gain access to the Alpine Mine, first follow the Weehawken Trail #206
from Thisledown Campground. After a mile of steep switchbacks, you'll gain about 1,200 feet on a broad mountainside rife with panoramic views of the Amphitheater, Yankee Boy Basin, and a waterfall draining from Fall Creek in the lowest flanks of Hayden Mountain North and Hayden Mountain South. From here, a trail marker offers you a choice between continuing on to the Weehawken Creek Overlook, or turning right for the Alpine Mine and overlook.
Turning right, the trail rises with the forest to a bald outcrop and a lofty vantage over Yankee Boy Basin and the surrounding peaks. Folding back to the west, the scree-covered slopes of a steep seasonal drainage heralds hikers into another quick burst of switchbacks to meet with the remains of the mine at the head of the gully. Wrapping to the east side of the drainage to scale the last 700 feet, the terrain levels just shy of 11,000 feet on a moderately exposed ledge near the mine, then gains the overlook’s ridge, some 3,000 feet above Ouray.
Flora & Fauna
Deer, mountain goat and bighorn, as well the occasional mountain lion or bear can be spotted along any of the Ouray area trails.
History & Background
Mining remains of the area's glory days litter Ouray, and nearly every trail features them in one way or another. Sitting at about 10,800 feet, 2.5-miles from the trailhead, the Alpine Mine once tried to strike it rich in gold and lead. Today, you can still find the old ore cart left as it was on a section of track, and parts of what look to be an engine.