This is a short but very scenic hike; it offers no other loops unless you wish to take off cross-country. It does, however, take you on a breath-taking hike above tree line behind the magnificent La Plata Mountains and past historical structures that are remnants of a once busy mining community.To access the Owens Basin Trailhead from Mancos, go east for 2.5 miles, turn left (north) on the Echo Basin Road (County Road 44), and continue to the Forest boundary, where the road now becomes #566. Stay on the northern portion of #566, as it becomes a loop around Burnt Ridge. Turn off on 566A and follow this road down to the parking lot, next to the West Mancos River. The first 100 yards of the trail begins on the south side of the river. The trail then crosses the river and joins up with the West Mancos Trail #621. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE RIVER DURING SPRING RUNOFF. The two trails split after ½ mile, with the West Mancos Trail heading toward the North Fork of the West Mancos River and the Owens Basin Trail up the South Fork. The trail turns into an old mining road as it works its way up toward Owens Basin, which is nestled between Spiller, Babcock, Mount Moss, and Hesperus Mountain. There is an old miners' cabin and other mining structures to inspect as you enjoy a steady climb up the Basin. The trail ends in a slide-rock area. Going back down is much easier, and you can enjoy the view the second time around, as you won’t be gasping for oxygen.
Check out the Official Route.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.