Ouray is known as the “Switzerland of America” because of the high mountains rising on three and a half sides of town. The town was named after Chief Ouray of the Ute Indians, a local tribe.
Originally established by miners looking for silver and gold, Ouray had more than thirty active mines in 1875. Today, it’s a gateway town to the San Juan Mountains and outstanding recreation.
In the Winter, Ouray is the ice climbing capital of the U.S. There are several waterfalls between Ouray and Durango, all popular with climbers. The annual Ouray Ice Fest brings some of the world’s top ice climbers together for competition, exhibitions and instruction.
Hot Springs – A number of options exist, including the year round, Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Most are open to the public and some even offer hotel accommodations on-site. Box Canyon Lodge boasts hot springs, available to overnight guests only. Both Twin Peaks Lodge and Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging offers both guests and non-guests an opportunity to soak.
Ouray Ice Park – Manmade ice park featuring dozens of ice climbing routes open in the winter. If you’re new to the sport, there are routes for you and guides in town to give you a safe lesson. In January the park hosts its epic Ouray Ice Festival, inviting the top climbers for a weekend of doing what they do best.
Read about the Top 13 Cool Hotels in Ouray.
Hotels and lodging:
- Beaumont Hotel – historic 4 star
- Historic Western Hotel – Victorian 3 star
- Hotel Ouray – historic
- Box Canyon Lodge – hot springs
- Twin Peaks Lodge – hot springs
- Wiesbaden Spa Lodgings – hot springs
- Jan – Ouray Ice Festival: Largest ice climbing competition in North America. Four days of competition, exhibitions and instruction in early January.
For an in depth photo tour of town, take this virtual walking tour.
Activities near Ouray
Cross Country Skiing:
- Animas Forks (13mi)
- Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs
- Orvis Hot Springs (8mi)
- Ouray Hot Springs
- Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs
- Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings
- Alpine Loop 4×4
- Cinnamon Pass (23mi)
- Engineer Pass (13mi)
- Million Dollar Highway
- Red Mountain Pass (13mi)
- San Juan Skyway
- Ridgway State Park (17mi)
- Delta (58mi)
- Durango (70mi)
- Grand Junction (96mi)
- Lake City (30mi) – summer
- Montrose (36mi)
- Ridgway (10mi)
- Silverton (23mi)
- Telluride (49mi)
- Montrose Regional Airport (38mi)
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