Hiking in Ouray

… and discovering the story of “Antiques: 9:00 to 5:30″

Hiking in Ouray

Photo courtesy of Jason Bork

Hiking in Ouray. It’s one of the six best things to do while you are here*. We got out for the first time this spring to check some of the trails and break in a pair of new boots. We took off toward Box Canon to visit the waterfall. Then we climbed to the top and picked up the Perimeter Trail towards the Ice Park Trail. At least that was our intent. But as it happened, we got sidetracked, by a bird. We caught a glimpse of a bird with yellow and red markings that we just had to follow. So up Camp Bird Road we went. Of course it stayed just far enough away in the trees to make it impossible to get a picture and difficult to identify. Could it have been a Western Tanager? Who knows but they do summer here. By the time we lost it, we were at the trailhead to Sutton Mine Trail, which seemed as good a place to go as any other. So up we went. The first part of this trail is really steep but it is worth it. At the top of the ridge, the views are spectacular and the trail leads to one of the best jokes in Ouray: the “Antiques’” cabin. As we understand it, local people have been maintaining this building since the early 1970’s. Periodically people will go up to the cabin and replace the clothes hanging on the clothesline and spruce up the building and the sign which is visible from US 550 (the Million Dollar Highway) at Bear Creek. The joke of course is that the only way to get there is by hiking and the only antique is the building itself. We get a lot of questions about it at the hotel.

But looking at it, we realized that we knew nothing about its origin or its age. So it was time to hit the books and find out more about this cabin.  According to recent request to designate this site as an historic landmark by Don Paulsen of the Ouray Historical Society, the building is part of the Neosho mine which was:

“first was opened by the Terry and Tench Development Co as the Neosho Mine in 1905, and was later worked by C. E. Weatherly as the Cumright and Cumbright Mine. Today it is one of the better preserved examples of early mining in the San Juans.  The site includes the mine portal, blacksmith shop and bunkhouse along with several other sheds.  The boarding house is a 3-room with a partial walk-out basement. The blacksmith shop is a 20′ x 15′ building with a cupola roof vent, forge and workbench. The adit (the horizontal entrance to the underground mine) is at least several hundred feet long”

The “Antiques’”  store originally was the blacksmith shop. Now we know.

It is worth the hike to see this for yourself. Make us your headquarters for your Ouray hiking experience. Call us at 970 325 7222 or reserve on line.

See you soon

*The other things in our humble opinion are off roading, the hot springs pool, the amazing views, the history, and ice climbing,

ouray victorian inn site background