Take a Hike in Ouray Colorado: Portland Trail to Scenic Overlook
Ouray Colorado is a hiker's paradise. Right from town there are many trails that you can hike to without using your car to get to the trailhead if you want that additional distance. For a pleasant lower elevation, intermediate hike, try the Portland Trail. It is a lovely trail into the Uncompaghre National Forest and the Amphitheater. There are some views of the high mountains to the west, but, it is a wooded area with numerous coniferous trees and gambel oak. The Portland Trail to the Scenic Overlook is about 2.2 miles one way from the trailhead. This trail has a strong southern and western exposure so it can be a hot and dry trail in the afternoon especially in the summer but it also is hikable early and late into the season. Once you leave the Baby Bath Tub area (about 0.3 miles into the hike), you will not have a stream nearby with water so if you take your dog, consider taking water for them.
US 550 south of town about 1 mile is the turnoff for the Amphitheater Campground. Head in and park before crossing the bridge over the Portland Creek. Near the bridge, there is ample parking for several passenger vehicles. The gate is closed when the campground is closed but just maneuver through the gate and cross the bridge if you must. On your right, the Baby Bathtub trail begins. Walk that trail for 0.3 mile or so and it will intersect the Portland Trail. It is a well marked trail but pay attention to the signs as there are numerous trails in the area.
As of May 8, 2011, the trail was mostly clear with some small traces of snow and very little mud. There are three fallen trees that you must cross but the scenic overlook is rewarding. The descent down to Portland Creek from the Overlook looks fine but the return down the Portland Road looks very muddy and contains many patches of snow that need to melt.