Box Canyon Falls Park


While workamping at the KOA in Ouray, CO, we found Box Canyon Falls while exploring this beautiful area. Take Highway 550 south and make an immediate right onto CR 316. Then follow the signs to the drive-in entrance. 

You will pay admission at the visitor center which has a lot of information about the falls, the area wildlife, plant life and history of the area using interpretive exhibits and photographs. The visitors center is closed in the winter months but the trails are open year round.

Chipmunks Smiling For The Camera

Just outside the visitors center, we saw numerous chipmunks. We enjoyed them scampering around and took several photographs. Some of them also “smiled” for the camera. There was also a bird feeder in the area that many hummingbirds stopped for a cool drink.

Box canyon was founded as a mining camp. The canyon is home to a 285-foot waterfall that was formed when the Canyon Creek waters eroded a deep narrow box canyon through limestone, weakened through a fault.

The Roar Of The Water Falling

There are three trails in the park. The lower trail is a 500-foot hike that includes a metal walkway that leads to the bottom of the falls. The roar of the water falling 80 feet to the bottom of the canyon was amazing. As you descend to the bottom be ready to be sprayed by the mist and notice the temperature difference.

It’s A Bit Challenging

You can also take a short but steep climb to a bridge that stretches above the falls. The trail is a bit challenging but the view at the top is worth the climb. As you cross the bridge you will see a tunnel that leads to the Ouray Perimeter Trail that leads out of the park. Definitely check out the tunnel even if you do not plan to hike the Ouray Perimeter Trail. The third trail is a short loop near the visitors center called the native plant loop. Walking this trail you can enjoy an easy stroll and see the sights and sounds of the forest.

Designated Bird Watching Area

This beautiful park was designated an important bird watching area by the National Audubon Society in 2001. The park houses one of the state’s largest populations of Black Swift’s. These birds are the largest of Swift’s that migrate to North America. The colony usually arrives from Brazil in June and stays until September. The canyon walls sheltered by overhanging rocks near the falls are their preferred habitat. While visiting, see if you can spot their nests on the canyon walls.

In addition to the visitor’s center and hiking trails, there are also picnic tables, some sheltered, in the park. Some of the gazebos have grills if you want to spend the day enjoying the beauty of the forest.

This park is a definite must-see if you are visiting Ouray. 

Have you been to Box Canyon Falls Park? If so, tell us what your experience was like in the comments below.

CR 316
Ouray, CO, 81427
Date of Visit: Summer 2019
Fee: $5 per person
Pet-Friendly: No Pets

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