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Guided Portland Creek Canyoning

Ouray’s Iconic Canyon

The Portland Creek Canyon Route is one of the San Juan’s finest introductory canyons. It has easy access, splendid scenery, and a moderate technical grade for beginners. Also known as “Ivan’s Trail”, Portland Creek is often our choice for the afternoon tour during the 1-Day Intro Course. We also offer it a purely guided half day outing.

Portland Creek involves a 3-4 hour adventure down through the Baby Bathtubs; with 2 significant waterfall rappels, lots of fun down-scrambling, and a nice end right in downtown Ouray.  This is a can’t miss adventure and is fun for the whole family!

This canyon can be accomplished as either a half-day adventure or full-day adventure depending on your goals, needs, desires, etc.

Half Day or Full Day?

A popular question is whether or not participants should sign up for a half-day or full-day adventure and descent of Portland Creek Canyon.  The answer is – it depends on what your goals are for the trip.  If you are just looking for a short half-day adventure while you are in Ouray and want to get a taste of the sport of canyoneering, or have younger kids, then the half-day adventure is probably right for you.

If you are looking to accomplish more specific learning objectives and gain a better understanding of the technical and safety systems that are utilized for the sport of canyoneering then the full-day option might be the better choice.  Either way we work hard to make sure that all of our trips are safe, successful, and rewarding – no matter what your goals may be!

Just to let you know; you guys came highly recommended by several sources. So much so, that no other business was even mentioned. Your professionalism in the business, community service, quality of service, and safety standards were all highly regarded. Thanks for setting the standards higher!” - W. Doucet

Canyoning Equipment

  • Clothes: for warm weather and a pair of shorts for under your wetsuit
  • Towel (for after the canyon descent)
  • Water: 2 liters or more/ person
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toe shoes: for the approach hike; we will provide your climbing shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Food & snacks
  • Backpack: to put all this stuff in, plus the harness, helmet, and shoes we provide you


Can you climb a ladder? Are you excited to try new things? This would be awesome for you!

There are no prerequisites for the Portland Creek Canyon trip.  All you need is a great attitude, sense of adventure, and the gear.  We’ll take care of the rest!

1 Follow Up Programs

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed climbing with Pat on Saturday and Sunday. We got a lot of hard routes in on both of those half-days, and I had a ball. More importantly, Pat is a great guy; I really enjoyed our time together. - N. Subashi

Ouray, Colorado: Getting Here

Ouray is located in the SW corner of Colorado, approximately 30 minutes south of Montrose. Known as “The Switzerland of America”, the town of Ouray is a vibrant outdoor oriented community. All local businesses are very friendly to the ice climbers who flock each winter to climb in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding areas.

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rexerFlights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Montrose, CO. Many airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, CO. It is also possible to fly into Durango, CO, Telluride, CO, or Albuquerque, NM. It may be necessary to rent a car and drive to Ouray if you’d like to fly into one of either of these airports.

rexerDriving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Ouray. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.

  • Montrose, CO: 45 mins
  • Durango, CO: 2 hours
  • Denver, CO: 6 hours
  • Albuquerque, NM: 4.5 hours
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 6 hours

rexerHotels: Ouray has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suite you best for this trip!

  • Box Canyon Lodge
  • Ouray Chalet
  • San Juan Chalet

Additional Information

  • Cost Includes:

  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All canyoneering gear
  • Round-trip transportation to and from climbing area and our office

  • Not Included:

  • 5% land use surcharge
  • Guide gratuity

  • Registration and Cancellation:

  • Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System.  All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.