One of the best trips of my life, PART TWO: Ouray + Running the Perimeter Trail

I really loved writing part one of this vacay recap; sifting through my photos and memories makes me want to go back and hit some spots I didn’t have time for.

Part two picks up on Thursday morning after my second and last night in the glamping tent. One of the things I was worried about was getting too hot in a tent without air conditioning, but the temperatures actually dipped down into the 40s overnight, which I really enjoyed after hot days in the sun.

I slept so hard on Wednesday night after my brutal hike that I woke up around 6 a.m. on Thursday thinking I missed my alarm and it was already noon. The sun was shining so bright that it might as well have been. I enjoyed another instant coffee on the porch and got my things together to head out for a trail run in Ouray. The night before, I spent a lot of time picking out a trail that was a) less than 30 minutes away, and b) a reasonable amount of climbing. My whole body was tired from Blue Lakes, so I wanted something gentle but still beautiful. The Ouray Perimeter Trail ticked those boxes.

I parked on the main road in Ouray—the only main road in Ouray—next to the town’s pool and hot springs and followed the AllTrails map to the trailhead across the street. Almost immediately, I was climbing steep trail littered with huge rocks and then sections of stairs where the trail was clearly too steep without them.

I looked at my watch: 15 minute-per-mile pace. But I didn’t really care because that steep trail brought me up above the city in just minutes and I had a bird’s eye view of this town sitting so peacefully surrounded by enormous mountains.

I passed a few women who seemed like locals to me and I thought how lucky they were to live in an oasis like this.

A mile and a half in, I rounded a corner and came upon a waterfall maybe 35 feet tall rushing down the side of a rock face. It was gorgeous and so unexpected.

A few miles after that, I scrambled through woods, over single track and several bridges, up stairs, back down stairs, along a massive pipeline, and then through a tunnel which was about 50 feet long and only about 4 feet high. Definitely creepy. Definitely ran as fast I could to get out the other side!

The really cool part about this trail was that you’re not looking over the city the whole time. Even though it runs the perimeter of Ouray—as it’s so obviously named—it takes you into nearby mountains, too, so there’s a ton of variety the whole time.

When I say this trail had everything, I mean it!

My Garmin says I ran 6.5 miles, but I know I actually did over 7 because I paused my watch and forgot to restart it during one of my 25 stops for photos.

By the time I finished around 9 a.m., the day had already started heating up so I stopped into Mouse’s for an iced coffee, recommended to me by a guy who worked down the street. Everyone was so friendly.

Eventually I headed back to the campsite to shower, pick up the rest of my things, and get on the road to Grand Junction to see my friends!

That’s in part three…

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