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Half Day Canyoning Trips

Telluride Via Ferrata
November 14, 2016
Angel Creek Canyoning
November 15, 2016

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 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 canyoning, 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!

2019 Dates

Offered Daily Upon Request

June – October



Half Day

4:1 – $129
3:1 – $159
2:1 – $199
1:1 – $299

rexerNo Hidden Fees

  • 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



Portland Creek Canyon Itinerary

Itinerary Note

We offer our Portland Creek Canyon trip as both a half day and full day option. With the half day, we focus on a short instruction period followed by a descent of Portland Creek. The half day trip runs about 4 hours round trip from our office in downtown Ouray.

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’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 Practice Rock and go over some of the technical aspects of rapelling and canyon descent. We will then transition to the actual canyon descent of either Portland or Angel Creek Canyon.


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!

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!

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