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corkscrew Gulch

12,400 feet / Half-Day / Family Fun

Corkscrew Gulch – Brilliant Color and Never Ending Views

Corkscrew Gulch is aptly named for it’s narrow and winding ascent to the summit of Red Mountain Two. Perhaps the most distinctively colored geology in the San Juan Mountains…deep reds, brilliant orange and soft yellows blanket all three of the Red Mountains. The softer sediment on the trail offers a little smoother climb than some of the other 4 X 4 trails. This increasingly popular, beautiful high mountain 4 wheel drive trail starts just before the old mining town of Ironton. For the train buff, Corkscrew Gulch also features remnants of the Guston turntable, a once productive turnaround point for the red mountain mining district’s railway. This track connected Silverton, Ironton and Lake City while in operation. Turn north, south, east or west and enjoy never-ending views of 4 different mountain ranges, including the distant Imogene Pass! Corkscrew provides one of the most unforgettable and distinctive vantage points in all the San Juans.


  • Fun Switchback Ascent to Summit

  • Extraordinary Views

  • Home to Historic Railway

  • See one of the highest lakes in the country

Adult (13 to 99 yrs)


Child (4 to 12 yrs)


  • Red Mountain Summits

  • jeep-tour-silverton-corkscrew
    Imogene in the distance
  • corkscrew-mining-district
  • corkscrew-jeep-ouray-paintbrush
    Fiery Paintbrush
  • corkscrew-wildflowers-jeep-ouray
    photo by S. Sandoval – Carpet of Color
  • lake como
  • brilliant wildflowers
  • Summit on the Corkscrew Saddle

Trip Details & Logistics

Corkscrew Gulch
Leaving from Ouray, Colorado, travel up the Million Dollar Highway over the Bear Creek Falls bridge through vertical canyon walls to a valley lined with carpets of thick aspen. Pass the sparkling Crystal Lake and turn onto Corkscrew Gulch just before Ironton townsite.  Climb through groves of Aspen and watch for remnants of the historic Guston townsite and railroad turntable. Leave tree line and continue up the ‘corkscrew-like’ trail to a summit of 12,400 feet. View four distinctive mountain ranges, and if time and trail conditions allow, traverse Hurricane pass for a bird’s eye view of Lake Como.
Corkscrew Map

8:30 AM and 1:30 PM departures based on reservations. This itinerary requires a minimum of 4 guests to confirm. 

“Fun and exciting climb to the top. Our kids loved it! 

J. Maddox, Biloxi, MS