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Oak Creek Canyoning

Angel Creek Canyoning
November 15, 2016
Family Adventure Day
November 15, 2016

A Ouray Canyon Classic

Oak Creek Canyon represents one of Ouray’s finest canyoning adventures. The canyon’s sense of adventure and remoteness is contrasted by its proximity to Ouray and the easy logistics getting to and from the entrance and exit to the canyon.

Once in the canyon, however, multiple rappels and obstacles present unique challenges and excellent opportunities for dramatic photography. This is truly one of Colorado’s finest canyons, and a must-do if you are visiting the area and want to experience the thrill of canyoneering!

A Full Day Adventure

A descent of Oak Creek Canyon is offered as a full day adventure only. We typically start the day with some review of basic canyoneering principles and make certain that participants have a grasp of how we prefer to manage technical systems, rappelling, and flow once in the canyon. Oak Creek Canyon is best done as a follow up to one of our other canyon descents, or is best suited for participants with some previous experience.

2023 Dates

Offered Daily Upon Request

mid-June through September


3:1 – $249 pp
2:1 – $349 pp
1:1 – $449
  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All canyon gear (harness, helmet, descending device, splash tops, wet suit)
  • Round-trip transportation to and from canyoning area and our office


Oak Creek Canyon Itinerary

Itinerary Note

The full day trip offers participants the opportunity to receive more instruction in some of the technical aspects of canyoning. It also allows for the descent of two canyons in one day – both Portland and Angel Canyon. This is truly one of the best full day adventures in the Ouray area and is perfect for individuals, families, and organized groups.

Day 1

We will meet at our office in Ouray at 0800 where you will finalize paperwork and any other logistical details for the trip. We meet early on these days so that we can be sure to avoid typical afternoon thunderstorms which can cause local area canyons to flood.

We’ll get you outfitted with all the correct gear for the day: harness, helmet, splash top or wet suit, locking carabiners and canyon descent device are included in all of our canyon programs. From there we head out to the trailhead for our hike up to the top of the Oak Creek trail. We have the option to either do only Lower Oak, Middle Oak, or if we are moving quickly enough both!.


Canyoning Equipment List

BackpackDescriptionGuide's Pick
The Osprey Mutant 38 represents an excellent all around performer for Ice Climbing trips in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding San Juan backcountry.
Water BottlesDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.
Personal FoodDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.
SunscreenDescriptionGuide's Pick
Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.

Training & Follow Up Climbs

As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.

Before Your Trip

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

The Oak Creek Canyon descent is an Intermediate canyon that does require some experience to participate in. Typically we can train you adequately by doing Angel or Portland Creek Canyons the prior day before.

Follow Up Climbs

  • Mt Sneffels Climb
  • Chicago Basin 14’ers
  • Best of the Weminuche Trekking


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.

plane-icon 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, however, many airlines now offer direct flights into Montrose – especially during the summer and winter months.

It is also possible to fly into Grand Junction, Durango, Telluride, or Denver CO. It may be necessary to rent a car and drive to Ouray if you’d like to fly into one of these airports.

suv-icon 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 minutes
  • Durango, CO: 2 hours
  • Denver, CO: 5.5 hours


hotel-icon-2 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 suit you best for this trip!


Program Policies

Registration & Cancellation

Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone 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.


  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All canyon gear (harness, helmet, descending device, splash tops, wet suit)
  • Round-trip transportation to and from canyoning area and our office



  • Transportation to Ouray, CO
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the program
  • Guide gratuity
  • Lunch food or snacks
  • Personal hiking/climbing clothing
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Costs associated with weather delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides


Book This Trip!

We Offer Online Registration

  1. Click on Book This Trip
  2. Select your Program dates
  3. Enter your Info and Payment


Or, call 800.642.5389 to register