A part of the past can be viewed when visiting the Petrified National Forest in the northeast portion of Arizona. Stepping into this “forest” is an experience you won’t have anywhere else. Don’t expect to see standing living trees. Rather you will encounter fossilized trees that were alive over 200 million years ago, but now are rock like.
Box Cañon Park, Ouray, Colorado
Box Cañon Park, is considered “The Switzerland of America”, which is located in Ouray, Colorado. It is home to the Falls Trail, the High Bridge Trail, and the Native Plant Loop. There is a visitor center when you begin, where you can view more detail information about the area, pay the $5 fee, and visit their gift shop. Usually opens at 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closes for the winter season around November till reopening in May.
This Park is great since you can see a breathtaking canyon and water or ice features within minutes. Along with that, the National Audobon Society has declared this area important for the Black Swift bird. You want to take the time to stop here and take a look at the scenery on the trails.
When the snow comes along during winter, the plant and wildlife start to disappear some. The are is still beautiful area’s to visit, like the Ice Climbing Park, which is the only one in the USA. You can take a class ice climbing, climb it yourself, or just watch others do it which can be entertaining.
Box Cañon Hiking Trails
If you want to experience the 85 foot Box Canyon Waterfall more closely, then make sure to hike the Falls Trail. During the summer, the water cascades down into Canyon Creek. The Winter landscape is different, with the surrounding walls are covered in ice.
The trail begins by the bird feeders, where you will walk towards the canyons. Walk towards the downward paved path for less than a minute. You will pass a green bench and come to a grated walkway. This is where you will see the beginning of the rock wall for the Box Canyon.
Keep walking, but watch your head on the side and overhead rock portions. Continue to the stairs, and follow them down to the base of the falls, which will take less than a few minutes. Look around, to view the historic wrench that was left over from miners who were looking for gold, but failed, decades ago.
- Fee: Adult $5 to get into Park
- Difficulty: Easy and short, but dose have stairs.
- Trail Time: 10 – 15 min
- Type: Out – and – Back
High Bridge Trail
This trail begins by the nature center, where you will climb some stairs for a small bit. Next, the trail becomes dirt with some rocks scattered about. The trail is more steep in this area, but only for a short bit. It can be a strenuous hike for some.
After a few minutes, you will come across the High Bridge. It was constructed in 1900 to help carry a water pipeline. Take in the views of Ouray and try to see if you can spot the mines tin roofs. At the end you will see a small cave that runs into the Perimeter Trail.
- Fee: Adult $5 to get into Park
- Elevation: 8,100 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate and relatively short. The path can be steep and narrow in a few parts.
- Trail Time: 20 – 30 min
The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs can be considered one of New Mexico’s best hot springs. Without a doubt, most people were spot on with that thought. A whisper only resort awaits you with a variety of relaxing mineral pools that are surrounded by Precambrian rocky hills.
Native Plant Loop
During the spring and summer, you can walk this loop and see some of the native plants. It is a short trail that is relatively flat. Look out for the Oregon Grape plant, which has edible berries, or the Rocky Mountain Juniper. As you walk about, those tall trees you are seeing are the Ponderosa Pine, which can grow up to 85 feet tall and live for over 200 years.
Keep your eyes open for wildlife. Especially the Black Swift bird. It uses the canyon walls to build their nest. The 1/2 mile trail will have identifying markers for the native flora.
The park is located at the edge of town. If you wish to drive, then go south on 550 HWY and turn right on CR 361. Follow the signs towards the Visitor Center. Planning on walking, then go south on Third Avenue and take the left portion at the end of the street. This trail will take you about 1/4 of a mile to walk to the entrance of the park.
Other Thing's Nearby
- Ouray Hot Springs
- Ouray Hot Springs Pool
- This is a big community pool where they pump in the hot springs water. Last year, when we were min the area, some locals told us it wasn’t as hot as it used to be.
- Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings has the Vapor Caves
- Another Local told us of this place and said it had a great laid back vibe.
- Orvis Hot Springs
- Clothing optional hot springs
- We have personally gone here and felt safe as being lesbians and showing PDA. A word of caution, most of the older crowd likes to go here, so be prepared for floating nudity.
- Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs
- Only hot spring that is open 24 hours and children are not allowed from the hours of 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- Ouray Hot Springs Pool
- Ice Climbing Park
- Open on December 15 and closes on April 1st. It is located in a natural gorge where water sprinkler’s help to create the cascading ice walls.
Don't Forget To Pin For Later!
Have you hiked any of the trails at Box Cañon Park? Did you enjoy yourself and would you recommend it to others? Have any other trails or places we should see, let us know in the comments section. Thanks for taking a look at our site and don’t forget to subscribe for future articles and tips.
The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing it ourselves. All videos and photos are taken by us.
Opening hours, trail closures, prices, etc. are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.