Ridgway is a gateway town to the San Juan Mountains, located about ten miles north of Ouray. It’s a scenic mountain town with a historic downtown of shops, restaurants, and accommodations.
Sitting at an elevation of 6,985′, the town is now known to be a hotspot for cultural and artistic events. The natural sites around Ridgway have also been popular with both locals and tourists.
Before it grew into an intimate town of 1,135 people and the makers of the Grammy Award, Ridgway was part of Ouray County’s exciting mining era. It was the railroad town connecting Telluride and Ouray. Ridgway is also a Certified International Dark Sky Community, which means the town takes steps to minimize light pollution, creating more opportunities to see the stars at night.
Dubbed as the “Gateway to the San Juans,” Ridgway’s proximity to the Rio Grande Southern Station was pivotal to the town’s rise in popularity. Their heritage dates back to the early 1880s just as the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (R.G.S.) was gaining momentum.
Ridgway’s community thrived on ranching. Eventually, more miners traveled to Ridgway, developed beef, and grew the fertile valley at the foot of the San Juan Mountains. As the community grew, horseback riding and wagon transportation also helped the trade of local supplies. Schools started to erect and social events became a Sunday norm.
On March 4, 1891, the town’s article of incorporation was passed, and it became a reliable trade location for travelers. Now, the ranching heritage at Ridgway is still revered. Tourists can even revisit those cowboy days and also join in as participants of the annual spectator sports held in town.
Ridgway State Park – This local year-round park offers things like boating, fishing, hiking, camping, horseback riding, and hunting. It’s centered around the giant Ridgway Reservoir, with lakeside camping available. It’s located only a few miles north of town on Highway 550.
Orvis Hot Springs – This natural hot springs resort is a fantastic way to relax and unwind after a day of recreation in Ridgway. It’s one of the few clothing-optional resorts in the state and features a variety of outdoor soaking pools. Located only a couple of miles south of town on Highway 550.
Read about other hot springs near Ouray and Ridgway.
Camping – Nearby Ridgway State Park has over two hundred campsites, ranging from electrical and full hook-up to primitive walk-in tent camping. Read about the camping near Ouray and Ridgway.
Fishing – Ridgway Reservoir allows boating and fishing for rainbow, brown, and splake trout and yellow perch. People prefer to fish from a boat because it offers more access to the expansive lake.
- Owl Creek Vista Trailhead is nearby and offers stunning colors in the autumn, and beautiful views of rock formations during the rest of the year. It is an 18.5 mile easy trail that can also be driven on.
- Mount Sneffels via Blue Lakes Trail is a very popular, difficult trail that takes you to a 14er, wildflower fields, and bright blue alpine lakes.
- Blane Basin starts at the same Blue Lakes trailhead, but is much easier and only 6 miles.
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Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa – Named after the queen of the Ute tribe, this unique resort has a variety of room types, cozy decor, and panoramic views of the Rockies.
Ridgway-Ouray Lodge & Suites – If you’re looking for proximity to adventure on a budget, this is the place for you. They offer an early-start continental breakfast, spacious rooms, and guest laundry.
Read about the best hotels in Ridgway.
Explore the thriving local food culture at Ridgway. From French-American fusion to fresh Mexican dishes, Ridgway’s culinary scene always makes an impression. Here are the top dining destinations in town:
Eatery 66 – Farm-to-table type of restaurant that has a unique outdoor venue. Featuring a menu created by the hearty Chef Spencer Graves, the food can be described as simple, fun, and simply good.
Provisions Cafe – Another Ridgway gem that features European classics made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the morning and 5-8:30 p.m. for the dinner serving.
Taco Del Gnar – Want to get some GNARLY tacos? Visit this lively space of tacos non-conformist. Fresh ingredients, global taco fusion, and a great vibe!
Jun – Ridgway Riverfest – Held every year to celebrate the local Uncompahgre River, this event features river races, food vendors, and cultural programs for the whole family.
Aug – Ridgway Rendezvous Art & Craft Festival – Presented by Weehawken Creative Arts this festival is going on 35 years of supporting the youth art scene in town. Activities include artist demonstrations, a bloody mary and margarita tent, and games for the kids.
Sep – Ouray County Fair & Rodeo – Two-day event celebrated over Labor Day Weekend in early September featuring a western heritage fair, rodeo, BBQ, and parade, held at the Ouray County 4H Events Center & Fairgrounds.
Sep – Old West Fest – This festival aims to celebrate western heritage through country music performances, a movie showing, and even a Wild West horse show.
Activities near Ridgway
Cross Country Skiing:
- Ice Lake Basin (36mi)
- San Juan Mountains
- San Juan National Forest
- Uncompahgre National Forest
- Uncompahgre River
Made in Colorado:
- Ridgway State Park (7mi)
- Montrose Regional Airport (28mi)