The locally funded public Ouray Via Ferrata system, in Ouray, Colorado, recently opened the “Upstream Route“, the newest addition to what was originally built in 2020. While the original “Downstream Route” featured around 4000 feet of anchor cable protected and rung enhanced trail, the new route extends to around 5000 feet.
The new route is reportedly more challenging than the existing route, with less rungs to hold onto and more natural rock features to progress. The route concludes with a leap of faith across the narrowest point of the gorge and a steep climb to the exit at the canyon rim. Both routes opened for the season on May 6th.
Despite being more difficult, the Upstream Route is still supported with the same cable system as the original route, so, despite it being more difficult, the Upstream Route is quite safe. A Via Ferrata route is generally made up of rungs and steel cabling, and usually does include a system of cables for climbers to clip into. In a sense, it’s a mix between climbing and hiking.
Ouray is approximately five and a half hours from Denver, two hours from Grand Junction, and about an hour from Telluride. Though it may be out of the way, the beautiful river and canyon are certainly a sight to see. More information on the new route can be found here, and information on the original “Downstream Route” is available here. Guide services for the Ouray Via Ferrata are available on their website, as well as equipment rentals. If you’re interested in donating to the Via Ferrata, you can do so here.
Image Credit: Friends of the Ouray Via Ferrata on Facebook