Date Hiked: 12-12-16
Mileage: 4.8 mi
Head Count (how many other hikers I saw): 0 hikers
For a better look at the route, click here.
Heed the warnings. This trail isn’t a walk in the park. Far from it, in fact.
Looking down on the mouth of the Million Dollar Highway and Abrams Mountain from about halfway up the gorge, a few hundred feet shy of nine-thousand feet:
During the snow-free months of the year, this section of the trail offers a nice respite before the coming workout. But come wintertime, the snow keeps your legs pumping hard – especially when breaking trail.
This trail can be faint, and sometimes even hard to follow during its better months, so with the snow cover here to stay, some level of familiarity of the area is a must. Even though I had my GPS on me, I was still having some difficulties keeping track of the correct route.
It’s not that I want to meet a bear or a mountain lion alone on the trail, but nothing can compare to witnessing a wild animal, not behind a cage or the scope of a gun, but free in the wild, the way it’s meant to be. That thrill of discovery is the most exciting part of hiking to me. It’s my greatest fear, too.
Panning across the Amphitheater, Abram’s Mountain and Yankee Boy Basin from Sister Peak, just three-tenths of a mile from the summit of Twin Peaks:
The remainder of the trail follows this ridge connecting Sister Peak to Twin Peaks:
Going by the 14ers classifications, climbing to the summit during the summer is an easy class-two affair. But during the winter, with every handhold and foothold snowed in, the exposure and ice make for a class-three adventure . It was a good chance to practice my kick-step technique on the climb up, but an ice axe would have been beneficial with the downclimb.
Ridgeway, Highway 550, and Grand Mesa in the far distance:
Ouray from the summit. Framed by the Amphitheater and Cascade Mountain, this may be my favorite view of town:
Upper Oak Creek Gorge with Whitehouse Mountain taking center stage:
From Ouray, take either 7th or 3rd across the river. Then from Oak Street, turn onto Queen Street. The trailhead is just a little bit further where the road ends at Pinecrest. There is a pullout for a couple cars at this point, otherwise park further down on Oak Street.