Trip Reports: Ouray-Uncompahgre Loop, Colorado - July 2008

This weekend I went on a wonderful 25 mile backpacking loop from Ouray, Colorado. I started at Bear Creek, a few miles up the road from Ouray, hiked up to the rolling green tundra paradise of the Uncompahgre Wilderness, along the Horsethief Trail to the Bridge of Heaven Trail, then back down into Ouray. I camped two nights along the way.

Bear Creek, Colorado, photo

Hiking up Bear Creek. This is a timed exposure, and you can see me on the trail, which is cut high up on the top left canyon wall.

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Wilderness, sign, photo

Welcome to the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

The tundra is so beautiful right now, with lush green grass and wildflowers popping up everywhere. In contrast to last week’s brutal bushwhack, this trip was a stroll through paradise. I was practically ecstatic as I walked through one gorgeous basin after another. This hike easily ranks among the best I’ve done in Colorado, and it’s basically in my backyard!

American Flats, tundra, photo

American Flats

Lots of purple flowers up on the tundra near American Flats.

Tundra, paradise, Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado, photo

The green tundra paradise of the Uncompahgre Wilderness in July.

Wildflowers, Teakettle Mountain, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, photo

Alpine Colorado

A scene reminiscent of the Alps, in Colorado. Wildflowers with Teakettle Mountain off in the distance.

Indian Paintbrush, Colorado, photo

Paintbrush

Bright red Indian Paintbrush

Sunbeams, Ouray, Colorado, photo

Sunbeams over Ouray

Sunlight beams through stormy clouds, as seen from the top of the Amphitheater far above the town of Ouray, Colorado. A strange thing... as I was standing here 5,000 feet above town, I could hear a band playing way down there!

tundra, rainbow, Colorado, photo

Tundra Rainbow

A brief splash of sunlight illuminates the flower-carpeted tundra and a fleeting rainbow appears.

Sunset, Amphitheater, Ouray, Colorado, photo

Amphitheater Alpenglow

Sunset light on the Amphitheater above Ouray, Colorado

wildflower,Colorado, photo

Wildflower With a View

A wildflower with a view.