Ouray’s Box Canyon in Colorado

Box Sky
Looking up at the blue Colorado sky from inside Ouray’s Box Canyon.

The ruins of Ouray's Box Canyon Mine
The ruins of the old mine can be seen on the far right wall.

Like so many other Colorado mountain towns, the town of Ouray, Colorado was established as a mining town. It is here in the hidden gem known as Ouray’s Box Canyon that the mine was located. You can see some of the mine’s equipment located near the canyon’s opening in the image on the right.

The Waterfall

Box Canyon Falls
The Box Canyon waterfall seems to come out of the rock itself.

The 85′ waterfall that seemingly bursts from the canyon’s back wall looks very unique. The water comes flooding down and around the crevices in the rock and appears to fall out of the rock itself. In reality, the water has carved a dramatic vertical slot in the rock.

Hiking Ouray’s Box Canyon

Misty Box Canyon
The mist created by the falls gives this place an otherworldly appearance.

To see the canyon and falls is a simple 500-foot hike up from the parking lot. The trail is well maintained although it would be difficult for those with disabilities to traverse. As the trail enters the nearly 100′ deep slot canyon it turns into a man-made metal structure that hangs onto the cliff wall. Adventurous travelers who don’t mind getting wet can visit the waters edge near to where the waterfall crashes into the creek bed.


There is a small fee to park in the lot. Another option is to take the 4.5 mile Ouray Perimeter trail that encircles the town, but not having done this I don’t know how long that would take. If you are feeling spry you can do the fairly short but steep trek up to the top of the falls where you can walk across a bridge that is perched above the falls. From here you can also explore a hand-carved tunnel that was originally dug for a pipeline that channeled water to the town. Both the bridge and the tunnel are a part of the Ouray Perimeter Trail. Watch your head in the tunnel!

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