Corkscrew Gulch Offroading (Ouray)
- Attempted 8/08/14
- 4.7 miles round trip
- Apprx 2 hr drive
- Moderate Offroad Trail (Class 3)
- +2,505′ net elevation gain to peak (Hurricane Pass) (12,257′)
- tow cable (always carry a tow cable when offroading and a winch if it is a trail that is unpopulated)
- skid plates (our 4Runner has skid plates covering the oi pan – it is worthwhile, as I have accidentally bottomed out before!)
We were staying in Ouray and had just finished hiking Mt. Sneffels. After we grabbed some delicious burgers in town, we decided to offroad on our way to Durango. We offroaded in our stock 2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited (4.7L V8, 9.1″ clearance). I am quite experienced at offroading and this trail was managable. The toughest part was coming back down the mountain trying not to burn out my brakes on the descent.
I do not have many pictures of the trail since I was driving, but there are some shallow rivers and dips that our car could handle readily. One hill leading to a river was tricky and I could have scraped my nose/rear if I hadn’t taken it slow. Overall, a fun test of skills! Not often have I offroaded in the trees like this, so that was super pretty. Be careful of jeeps or ATVs that’ll be flying up/down the trail since they don’t struggle as much as my larger SUV.
Overall, I wouldn’t do this trail again because going back down the mountain was quite scary. Since our brakes were in great condition, I just shifted into 1st gear and lightly road the brakes the whole way down. However, I did have jeeps pass me on the skinny trail and that was terrifying since rolling over the side (no guard rails, obviously) would have led to serious injury. There are lots of other trails in Ouray that I think would be more rewarding.
I would, however, do this trail again in a heartbeat if I stopped in the second to last picture (before ascending the mountain) because up until then the rivers and rocks made for a VERY fun trail!