Governor Basin

Majestic views, endless wildflowers and much more.

Total Miles


3685.35 ft


2 to 3 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time




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Trail Overview

You'll love this amazing high-elevation drive. The route runs past the historic and enormous Virginius Mine as well as Mountain Top Mine. You'll need to remain on the trail to view them, as they are both on private land. If you're up for a side trip, visit Sidney Basin. Roads are open to all vehicles from May 16 to November 30.


Easy. Shelf road is narrow in spots, but the main trail is wide and flat. Sidney Basin has one steep choppy hill and large embedded rock near end.


The boarding house, still standing at the Mountain Top Mine, is a relatively recent structure compared to other mines in the area. It was first constructed in 1912 to house 30 men and later xpanded to three stories to accommodate 50 men. In 1922, this mine was the largest employer in Ouray County, but went bankrupt just two years later. The mine has been worked poradically as late as 1996 and there is still a slight chance that it could be opened in the future. It has been designated a Ouray County Landmark. (Source: Nov. 7, 2008, story in The Hub by Don Paulson.)

Technical Rating


Access Description

Head south from Ouray on U.S. 550. Just 0.4 mile from the Beaumont Hotel, turn right on Camp Bird Road, C.R. 361. Bear right after 4.6 miles past the Camp Bird Mine on C.R. 26. The turn for Governor Basin is a total of 7.0 miles from 550.