Red Mountain
Difficulty Easy
Length of hike 2.6 mi. RT
Starting Elevation 10960 ft.
Top Elevation 11440 ft.
Type of Vehicle Regular
Distance to Trailhead 22.4 miles
GPS track download Red Mountain Track
Hiking time up 1:45 hours
Hiking time down 1:30 hours

Directions to Trailhead
From the Traffic light in Ridgway, drive 22.4 miles south on Highway 550 past Ironton. Turn left onto CR 31 and park. The junction is before the summit of Red Mountain Pass. Driving a bit further on CR 31 towards the National Belle is an option.

 

red mtn
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Highlights

What used to be a bustling industrial area now invites you to a stroll among abandoned mines into a wilderness that is serene and rewards you with spectacular views. One could easily drive to the National Belle mine on CR 31, but starting the walk at the highway lets you follow the route of the Silverton Railroad down into the area that used to be Red Mountain Town. The place is steeped in history, expertly documented here.

 

The track leads past some famous mines and the juncture for an optional side trip up the slope and south to several more mines. This option adds another hour to the outing. Continuing north you come to a spot where the jeep road ends and wilderness begins. A bit of bushwhacking leads to a pile of rusty cans and some bottles, silent testimony to an old miner’s camp. After a bit of scrambling on scree you get to the intersection with one of those “highways” built by animals traveling from basin to basin. There are numerous tracks out here and following the major one brings you to an overlook with grand views down to Ironton, Crystal Lake, Spirit Gulch to the west, and the Aspen forest along the Richmond Trail. That’s a special treat when fall colors decorate the valley. Going higher up on the ridge towards Red Mountain 3 requires a bit of mountaineering, with commensurate rewards. On the return you can stay on the animal track across the scree slope a bit longer and descend back to the jeep road in a gully that shows signs of avalanche activity.

 

You have the place to yourself, with the silence only now and then being disrupted by the annoying rumble of the Harleys roaring along the Million Dollar Highway.