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Governor Basin - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

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About Governor Basin

Governor Basin is a scenic valley located in Ouray County. Surrounded by towering peaks, the basin is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and eagles. Fishing and camping are popular activities in the area, and the Governor Basin Trailhead provides access to a network of hiking trails. In winter, the basin is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Governor Basin is also home to several hot springs, which are open to the public year-round.

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Hotels near Governor Basin

Checkout accommodations closest to Governor Basin

Things to Do at Governor Basin

  1. Visit the Ouray Ice Park - The Ouray Ice Park is a world-renowned ice climbing destination, offering over 200 routes of varying difficulty. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced ice climber, there's something here for everyone.
  2. Take a scenic drive - Governor's Basin is located in the San Juan Mountains, so there are plenty of beautiful scenic drives to take in the area. Be sure to check out the Million Dollar Highway and capture some stunning photos of the mountains.
  3. The area is also home to several hot springs, perfect for soaking after a long day of activity.
  4. In the winter, the basin becomes a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts, with miles of cross-country ski trails and several downhill skiing areas. 
  5. The rivers and streams in the area are teaming with trout, making Governor Basin a true angler's paradise.
  6. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are also several scenic drives in the area.

Top Trips and Tours in Colorado

Tours and activities in Colorado that might be of interest to you

History of Governor Basin

Governor Basin is a small basin in Ouray County, Colorado. The area was originally inhabited by the Ute people, who used it as a hunting ground. In the 1860s, prospectors began to explore the area in search of gold and silver. However, it wasn't until 1873 that a major mining operation was established in Governor Basin. The town of Ouray was founded soon after, and the area became known for its mining activity. Today, Governor Basin is a popular recreation destination, offering hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. Although it is no longer a major center of mining activity, the area still retains its rich history and beautiful scenery.

Best Time to Visit Governor Basin

fall is the best time to visit Governor Basin in Ouray County, Colorado. The leaves are changing color and the air is crisp and cool. The scenery is breathtaking and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Tips for Visiting Governor Basin

  1. 3Governor Basin is also home to .several hot springs, which are a great way to relax after a long day of hiking.
  2. There are several campgrounds located within Governor Basin, so you can easily find a place to stay.
  3. Governor Basin is also home to some incredible rock formations, which are definitely worth checking out.
  4. Before you go, be sure to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. The temperature can vary significantly depending on the time of day and season, so it's important to be prepared.
  5. Remember that Governor Basin is a wilderness area, so please practice Leave No Trace principles when you visit. This means packing out all of your trash, respecting wildlife, and being careful with fire.
  6. cell service can be spotty in Governor Basin, so it's always a good idea to carry a paper map with you when you venture out into the backcountry.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Governor Basin

  1. Governor Basin was originally named for its shape, which resembles a governor's headdress.
  2. The area is known for its dramatic scenery and has been featured in several Hollywood films, including "Thelma & Louise" and "Dracula 2000."
  3. The basin is also home to a number of rare plant species, such as the Ouray columbine and the alpine touch-me-not.
  4. In 2008, Governor Basin was included in the San Juan Skyway National Scenic Byway.
  5. The area receives an average of 300 inches of snowfall each year.
  6.  In winter, the area around Governor Basin transforms into a winter wonderland, with ski trails and ice climbing routes available for adventurous visitors.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Governor Basin

However, due to its remote location, visitors should be prepared to spend at least a full day in the area. Experienced hikers can expect to spend 5-6 hours on the trails, while those doing some easy exploring should allow for 3-4 hours. 

How to Reach Governor Basin

To reach Governor Basin in Ouray County, Colorado, take Highway 550 north from Silverton. The Basin is located just past the 12,000 foot mark on the highway. To get to the trailhead, turn right onto the first jeep road after mile marker 122. Follow this jeep road for about 1.5 miles until you reach a parking area. From here, the trailhead is located just a short distance ahead.

Entrance Fee of Governor Basin

There is no entrance fee to explore this area. 

Opening Hours of Governor Basin

The Basin is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Attractions Near Governor Basin

Mount Emma

Mount Emma

1.45km from Governor Basin

Mount Emma is a mountain in San Miguel county, Colorado. It is located in the San Juans, and has a summit elevation of 14,297 feet. The mountain is named after Emma Rice, who was the first woman to climb it. Mount Emma is considered to be one of the easier fourteeners to climb, and is popular with mountaineers and hikers alike. The mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding area, and is a great place for a challenging hike or an overnight camping trip.

Gilpin Peak

Gilpin Peak

2.26km from Governor Basin

Gilpin Peak is one of the many Colorado mountain peaks that provides stunning views of the surroundings. The peak is located in Ouray County and has an elevation of 14,028 feet. The best time to summit Gilpin Peak is from late June to early September when the snow has melted and the weather is stable. To reach the summit, hikers can take the East Ridge trail which starts at the South Mineral Campground. The hike is approximately eight miles round trip and provides a moderate level of difficulty

Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin

2.58km from Governor Basin

Yankee Boy Basin is a true hidden gem. Surrounded by towering peaks, the basin is home to a number of alpine lakes, waterfalls, and trickling streams. In addition to its natural beauty, Yankee Boy Basin is also known for its vibrant wildflower displays. From late July through August, the basin comes alive with color as a variety of blooms come into bloom. Hiking and camping are popular activities in the basin, and there are a number of trails to explore.

Potosi Peak

Potosi Peak

2.83km from Governor Basin

Potosi Peak is a popular destination for hikers and climbers in Ouray County, Colorado. The peak is located in the San Juan Mountains, just north of the town of Ouray. The trail to the summit of Potosi Peak begins at the Ouray Trailhead and winds its way up through a variety of terrain, including forests, meadows, and rocky areas. The hike to the summit is a strenuous one, but it is rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Teakettle Mountain

Teakettle Mountain

3.27km from Governor Basin

Teakettle Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Ouray County. The trailhead is located just outside the town of Ouray, and the hike to the summit is a moderate 4 miles. Along the way, hikers are treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, as well as some of the area's unique wildlife. Teakettle Mountain is also home to a large number of wildflowers, and in early summer, the trail is lined with blooming cactus.

Cirque Mountain

Cirque Mountain

3.43km from Governor Basin

Cirque Mountain is a spectacular sight in Ouray County, Colorado. It's highest peak, promise Peak, soars to 12,795 feet and offers amazing views of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and elk. There are also a number of hiking trails that wind through the area, making it the perfect place to explore the great outdoors. Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a scenic vista, Cirque Mountain is sure to impress.

Discover More Attractions in Ouray County, Home of Governor Basin

Ouray County

Ouray County

31 attractions

Ouray County is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, offering something for everyone regardless of their preferred activity. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to the county's slopes, while in the summer months hikers and climbers take to the mountains. There are also ample opportunities for jeeping, fishing, horseback riding, and more.

Location of Governor Basin