Hiking in Ophir: Some Comparisons With Telluride

Hiking in Ophir, Colorado is similar to that of Telluride, but there are some differences. In particular, the northern side of the ophir valley has a much more sustained steep pitch from top to bottom. With the exception of Stroudsberg basin (directly to the west of Spring Gulch) and near the Carbonero mine, most of the terrain on the north side of ophir goes straight up from the valley floor without much in the way of benches. On the other hand, in Telluride, there is a distinct bench on the northern side of town which can be found in most areas above the cliffband visible from town. There are also larger, more expansive basins up at higher elevations on the northern side of the Telluride valley floor.

So, if you’re hiking on Ophir’s north side, chances are you’re either going straight an avalanche run-out or your traversing to the east or west. There are a lot of old mining roads, not to mention elk trails, which criss-crosses the northern side. Here is a photo of the Town of Ophir, taken from one of such trails facing south. Waterfall canyon is in the background in the shadows.


The trails on the northern side of Ophir can be very rocky. Generally speaking, many trails in and around Ophir are a bit more rough round the edges vs. hiking trails near Telluride.

On the southern side of the ophir valley, there are two canyons which run perpendicular to the ophir valley: Waterfall Canyon to the west and Swamp Canyon to the east. Both have distinct benches with more flat terrain and are comparable with Bear Creek in Telluride in so far as general terrain profile.


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