The "Box Cañon" Falls, Ouray's own wonder of the world, is the culmination of Canyon Creek narrowing and spilling thousands of gallons a minute of water over the falls. It is truly a dramatic scene, and one that you can enjoy from both above and below the falls. The "Box Cañon" Box has been designated an important bird area by the National Audobon Society. At this most spectacular geological formation, the 85 foot waterfall plummets into a narrow, quartzite canyon with walls overhanging the falls by nearly 100 feet. Take Highway 550 south of Ouray and take a right on County Road 361. Signs point across the Uncompahgre Gorge to the Visitor's Center parking lot. The "Box Cañon" Visitor Center offers interpretive exhibits that describe the geology, wildlife and history of the area.
Box Cañon Falls has been the location of important research on the Black Swifts, which are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Black Swifts (cypseloides niger) are the largest of the swifts that migrate to North America. The Black Swift colony typically arrives from Brazil at the Box Cañon Falls in early June and stays through September.
There are three interpretive trails in the park that range from easy to moderately difficult as well as numerous picnic sites.
- The Falls Trail is a mostly level, easy, 500 foot walk into the canyon.
- The High Bridge Trail takes you up 200 feet in a half mile round trip hike. Along the trail are beautiful views of town and the high peaks of the Amphitheater Cirque.
- The Native Plant Loop is a short, easy stroll with river sounds, trees and shrubs, and plant markers to help identify local flora of the Box Cañon. This is the only trail within the park that does not have steps.
While the Visitor's Center closes in November, the trails in Box Cañon are open throughout the winter, conditions permitting.
Because of the popularity of the Box Cañon Falls as a nature viewing area dogs are not allowed within the park. Dogs are welcome on nearly all other trails in the Ouray area.