Porphyry Basin
Difficulty Moderate
Length of hike 4.8 mi. RT
Starting Elevation 11880 ft.
Top Elevation 12920 ft.
Type of Vehicle 4WD
Distance to Trailhead 25.4 miles
GPS track download Porphyry Track
Hiking time up 1:50 hours
Hiking time down 1:20 hours

Directions to Trailhead
From the Traffic light in Ridgway, drive 23.8 miles south on Highway 550 past Ironton and over Red Mountain Pass. Half a mile beyond the summit, look for a road going off to the right with a sign indicating 822. Drive up this road, going south and past a house for about 1.6 miles to a parking area.





Porphyry Basin is one of the major basins just south of Red Mountain Pass. It is accessible by a jeep road that is in fairly good shape and leads from Highway 550 almost all the way to Bullion King Lake, the major lake in the basin. But hiking on the road – there are several opportunities to park - as it gradually climbs through the lower basin is very enjoyable and this is the track recorded here.


Hiking a loop from Porphyry Mine to Bullion King Lake, Porphyry Lake and returning through the northern part of the basin makes a fine trip that lets you visit a profusion of flowers, including gentian, and the many tarns in the upper basin. There are some cliffs to negotiate on the way down, but keeping to the north will open up an easy descent.


Several excursions from the basin are possible and provide spectacular views. Going straight north from Porphyry Lake to the saddle gives you a peek to Mud Lake and the basins east of Telluride. Going south from Bullion King on an easy trail to the ridge opens up views into Chattanooga and towards Silverton. And scrambling up the scree towards the west takes you to the ridge that overlooks Blue Lake.