Sutton Mine Trail

Date hiked: 06/09/16

Mileage: 4.4 mi; 2 hr

Head Count (how many other hikers I saw):0 groups.

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Logging in at just 4.4 miles roundtrip, and with only 900 feet in elevation gain, the Sutton Mine trail to the Neosho Mine is one of the shortest hiking options Ouray has to offer. But it’s one of my favorites.

Visible from Highway 550, the mine and bunkhouse, and the blacksmith shop, still with its 9-5:30 sign, look like a quaint timestamp of prosperous times. But in reality, for a mine that never paid off, all it ever saw was loneliness and tragedy for the Weatherly family who owned it.

The first half mile of the trail parallels the highway, gaining most of its elevation in the slow summit of a 9,000 foot shelf perched high in the cliffs above the Uncompahgre River. While groves of pine and aspen keep the gradual views in check during much of the climb, the shelf opens at the Ouray Overlook 2 miles in to a commanding look at Ouray’s narrow river valley, the Amphitheater, and Abrams Mountain. Despite the fact the highway is less than a quarter mile away, the high altitude provides a good buffer against most traffic sounds.

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Ouray. Can you see Lower Cascade Falls in the distance?

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The Amphitheater

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Abrams Mountain

While many turn back at the overlook, an easy half mile of hiking along the bench continues onward towards Neosho Mine.

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A look towards the Bear Creek Trail on the opposite wall of the canyon.

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The trip traverses Ralston Creek and an offshoot of the Uncompahgre River.

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Peering down at Highway 550, this high overlook offers a unique view of the Bear Creek gorge and falls. It’s hard to imagine, but in the years that Neosho Mine was active, the highway would have been a mere dirt road.

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Fallen tram cables which once ran from the mine to the mill on the east side of the valley.

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An outhouse.

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Another old tramway.

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The blacksmith shop.

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The boardinghouse. The Weatherly home, which was tragically flattened by an avalanche, would have stood higher up on the mountainside behind the boardinghouse.

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Another offshoot of the Uncompahgre, south of Neosho Mine.

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A fiery sunset over the Amphitheater.

Trail Map

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Directions

(From Ouray): At the first switchback south of Ouray, turn onto Camp Bird Road. The trailhead is on your left .4 miles up the road.

.4 mi; 2 min

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