USGS 7.5' Map: Ironton
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 FR822 2.90 10,918 to 12,480 ft. NA 1-2 hours
County: San Juan
Adopted by:      
Managed by: San Juan National Forest, Columbine Ranger District 367 S. Pearl St., Bayfield, CO 81122 (970)884-2512
Summary: Porphyry is a 4WD road that climbs up Porphyry Gulch to the Bullion King mine site and trail head. A half mile hiking trail continues up to Bullion King Lake.
Attractions: Lakes, Hiking, Mining History, Scenic
Natural - Closed by heavy snow.
Best Time: June - Late. Opening may be delayed by late snows
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snows may close pass
Trail Heads
Bullion King Lake Trail - Hiking
Camping: There are no dispersed camp sites as most of the road is well above timberline.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp and explore all of the roads around the Red Mountain area.
Fall Colors: Poor - Most of the road is above timberline.
Navigation: From Ouray, CO head south on US-550 S/Main Street toward 5th Avenue. Continue to follow US-550 S for 13.7 miles. Turn right onto Forest Rd 822.

From Silverton, CO head southwest on Greene Street toward 11th Street for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 2 and go 417 feet. Slight right onto US-550 N and go 9.1 miles. Turn left onto Forest Rd 822.
Once you leave Hwy 550 you will be on a well used dirt road that starts to climb the side of Three Needles. Just before the first switchback you will pass a spur road to the left that goes to a private home. The road will climb two more switchbacks before leveling out a bit. At a right turn you will pass another spur road to the left that also goes to a private home. The road will loop to the north, then climb two more switchbacks to get up on a long ridge. The road will follow this ridge heading over to Porphyry Gulch. As you come around the end of the ridge you will have an illegal road heading off to your right going across a small saddle. Continue to the left. You will come to another switchback as you get above timberline and have Porphyry Gulch below the road. Just past the next switchback you will pass another illegal road on your right that heads down hill, over to Black Bear Pass, continue to the left. You will climb two more switchbacks and start around the north side of Porhyry Gulch on the side of a long ridge. The road will become a two track as it heads up the gulch. Keep an eye out for oncoming traffic. The road will head into the upper part of Porphyry Gulch as it crosses the basin. The road will curve around some rock outcrops and then come to a large parking area on some old tailings. East of the parking lot are some building remains. Heading south out of the parking lot is a trail that follows the old road up to Bullion King Lake. The trail is about a half mile long.
Data updated - February 11, 2020      4WD Road driven - (not yet)      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2020