Cross Country Trails Located at Ironton & Top of The Pines

 

Just 9 Miles south of Ouray on HW 550 lies the old townsite of Ironton. The groomed nordic trails at Ironton Park were developed by the Ouray County Nordic Council (OCNC), in cooperation with private landowners, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Department of Highways, Ouray County and the City of Ouray.

 

Use of these trails requires your cooperation…

 Please stay on the trail.  Private property is located throughout the system.  Staying on marked trails at all times is essential for your safety.  Venturing off may be trespassing and jeopardizes trail use for everyone.

OCNC and owners of the property assume no risk or liability for use of the trails.  Users assume all risks.

  • Non-Motorized Use Only

  • No Snowmachines

  • Pets must be under leash or voice control at all times

  • Clean up after your pet!

  • Users Take Responsibility for their own safety 

Please be considerate of others.  Use caution; yield to uphill traffic; don’t disturb any building, plant, tree, animal, mine tailings or equipment; respect private property; pack out trash.  No camping is allowed.

 

User Safety

  • Safety has been a high priority in laying out trails, but conditions do change.  You may encounter new obstacles, bumps, branches, holes, wires – Please be alert!
  • Be prepared for rapid changes in weather or unexpected circumstances.
  • Keep your group together; don’t let someone lag behind and get lost.
  • Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety.  Trails are not patrolled.  Use at your own risk.

LEAVING THE TRAIL CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS – STAY ON THE TRAILS! 

Historic sites along the trail

This guide provides a brief description for a few of the Ironton / Red Mountain area’s historic places.  Additional information is available at some of these sites or at the Ouray County Museum.

Larson Brothers Mine

This mine is name for Milt and Harry Larson who inherited it from their fathering the 1920’s and worked it for decades.  After Harry died in the 1940’s; Milt became the last resident of Ironton until his death nearly 20 years later.

Ironton Townsite

Ironton, founded in 1833, was once a thriving mining community.  It had 325 inhabitants in 1890 and was a supply center for the northern end of the Red Mountain Mining District.  A few recently stabilized buildings remain at the southern end along the Townsite Loop.

Silver Belle Mine

The dump here is the remains of a profitable mine which operated from 1880-1894.  Its ten levels produced over a million dollars in silver.

Colorado Boy Mine

The Colorado Boy loop passes the recently stabilized Colorado Boy head frame.  Its shaft is several hundred feet deep and follows an ore vein that was once the core of a volcano.

Corkscrew Trestle

This trestle once supported a large pipeline built to convey tailings from the Idarado Mine to a pond in Ironton Park.

Saratoga Smelter

The smelter completed the northern extension of the Silverton Railway Line, which the top of Red Mountain Pass.  The railroad, built in the 1880s, was profitable for a couple of decades.  Though the smelter was constructed in the mid-1880s and processed gold and silver ore from rich Red Mountain mines, little remains today.  Much of its material was used to build a ski lodge, seven towers and an 1,800′ ski run at the north end of Ironton Park.  The lodge burned to the ground in a 1940’s accident.  Now all that remains is the large stone building next to the highway.

Idarado Mine

Today, the north end of the townsite loop trail circles the Idarado mine tailings pond, which is filled with waste rock from the mill that was further up the valley.  Very active during WWII, the mine was one of the largest in the San Juan Mountains, formed by consolidating over 100 different mining claims.  Large amounts of gold, silver, lead and zinc were produced.  The mine is made up of over 80 miles of tunnels.  The main, or “Treasury” Tunnel, situated south toward Red Mountain Pass, extend through the mountains to Telluride.

 Top of the Pines 

Guidelines for the Nordic Trails Program:Please honor the request to pay a donation use fee of any amount that feels comfortable for you.  Donations are necessary for trail equipment maintenance, oil and gas.  The donation box is at the trailhead, or you can donate online.  Even better,  become a member for just $50 individual/$90 family per year.  Membership gives you access to hiking, biking, skiing and disc golf for a whole year. Membership fees are fully tax deductible. Click the link above to initiate the process. Write "Annual Membership Fee" in the description field if you opt to pay through our website's payment portal.

  • No horses.  Dogs permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Otherwise, the only tracks on the groomed trails are to be skiers and wild animals.
  • TOP is surrounded by private property.  Please stay on the designated trails to minimize impacts to the land and to avoid trespassing on private property.
  • The trails are open from dawn till dusk.
  • Vehicle access and parking is allowed only within the designated parking area at the trailhead.  Do not drive up the Highland Drive roadway past the trail head parking lot.
  • Skiers & snowshoers only; no mechanized vehicles of any kind (including ATV’s, snowmobiles, etc.) are allowed. Please do not walk on the ski trails. The footstep divots tend to freeze making it dangerous for skate skiing.
  • A rustic warming hut is available – located upslope of the main pavilion building in the campground area.  Please stay off and away from all structures other than the warming hut. Only use the stove and fireplace for fires.  Kindling and cut firewood is located outside hut. No campfires or firearms.  A stove is available for warming water, tea or coffee.
  • Composting toilets are near the warming hut.
  • No potable water is available on-site in the winter.  You must bring your own water supply.
  • There are no trash receptacles.  Please pack out what you pack in.
  • Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • All persons entering the property do so at their own risk.  It is understood that TOP, Inc. assumes no risk or liability for use of the facilities.
  • GROOMING SCHEDULE: Typically evenings on Thursdays and Sundays, and after big snowstorms as conditions merit. If there is enough snow, both classic and skate-skiing track will be laid in the meadow area. The North 40 is groomed for everybody with a double-wide corduroy track.

    PARKING: The TOP parking lot in the meadow below the pavilion is not maintained through the winter season. Black Thorne Construction is plowing the road beyond the TOP cross country ski trailhead to provide its crew access to a job site at a private home on Highland Drive.  TOP ski users should not attempt to drive beyond the trailhead since several vehicles have become mired in deep snow and have blocked the road. Please park your vehicles at the trailhead and proceed into TOP on your skis or snowshoes. 

    WINTER DOG POLICY: Dogs allowed on ski trails on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
    No leash required. Please clean up after them and keep them under voice control. 
    Don't forget to drop a few dollars in the donation box for your dog!

    EMAIL ALERTS: If you would like to receive trail condition updates, please send us an email at info@topofthepines.org and we'll add you to the list!

    Trail User Safety

    • Safety must always be a high priority. You may encounter obstacles, ice, bumps, branches, holes, wires, etc.
    • Be prepared for rapid chages due to bad weather or other unexpected outing circumstances.
    • Ski with a buddy. Keep your group together.  Don’t let someone lag and become lost. Keep small children in sight.
    • Be considerate of others and use common sense and caution. Yield to uphill traffic.
    • The trails are not patrolled.  You are responsible for your own safety. Use at your own risk. Leaving the trail can be extremely dangerous – Stay on trail!

      Directions​:

      ​Top of the Pines is located not far from the little town of Ridgway in SW Colorado.          

      From Telluride on Colo. Hwy. 62: Take your first right (at the bottom of the hill as you come into Ridgway) onto Amelia Street.  (see below)

      From Montrose/Ouray: Turn west onto Hwy. 62 at the traffic light, then go all the way through town (approx. 3/4 mile) and take the last left (before heading up the hill out of town) onto Amelia Street.  (see below)