Plan Out Exciting Ouray Activities
Plan Out Exciting Ouray Activities
Get Ready to See Ouray the Right Way
Whether you prefer the action of the peak summer months or the quiet of an off-season visit, everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to history buffs to relaxation specialists can find plenty to do in Ouray. The natural hot springs, the Million Dollar Highway, Box Canyon waterfall, spectacular Jeep trails, and challenging ice climbing routes are just a few of the things that draw people here year after year.
Have a Splendid Time During Every Season
Year around, Ouray visitors can play in sulphur-free hot springs at the Hot Springs Pool, explore the history of the area at the county historical society or the Ouray County Railroad Museum, take the walking tour of the well-preserved Victorian-era historic district, shop in the unique boutiques and art galleries on Main Street and enjoy a range of high-quality dining experiences at the town’s many restaurants and cafés. In addition, each season has its own charms and signature activities, so you're guaranteed to have plenty to do whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall.
Spend Winter in Ouray on Magical Mountain Vacations
Winter brings the challenges of ice and the snowy beauty of the San Juan Mountains and signals the start of the winter sports season. In Ouray, ice climbing leads the list of active outdoor sports, though cross-country and downhill skiing, sledding, ice skating, and snowshoeing are not far behind. The thrill of racing through snowy drifts, speeding over frozen ponds and tracking through the sanctuary-like forests.
Even if you're not the winter sports type, fun is still abundant in Ouray during the winter months. Photographers will also find a lot to shoot, being surrounded by shining, pristine vistas. Indeed, the vast expanses of white give the mountains a stark majesty that brightens everything under the winter sun. Hot tubbing is even more enjoyable when the temperature drops.
Welcome Spring in the Most Beautiful of Settings
The calm awakening of spring attracts visitors seeking warm sunshine and snow-capped mountains. Bighorn sheep and elk come down to graze along side the highways and eagles perch on nearby trees. The aspens and wildflowers are green and the town is coming alive; shops and restaurants are open even though the streets remain uncrowded. Crews clear the lower Jeep trails and the hiking trails are generally dry and passable.
This also is a great time of year to explore the many scenic and historic byways that criss-cross the San Juan Mountains. Try your hand at driving the Million Dollar highway, completing the San Juan Skyway loop or exploring the roads along the Unaweep-Tebeguache Byway.
Spring is the ideal season for rafting and waterfall watching. The winter runoff from the mountains is at its peak so the rivers are running high, and the falls in Box Canyon, at Cascade and throughout the back country are gushing. If you're into angling, fish such as fly fishing year around.
Wildlife watching is at its best during springtime. Elk and sheep come into town and actually seem to pose for the photographers. Eagles and migratory birds can also be seen overhead most times of the day.
Spend Lazy Days in Our Lovely Locale
Summer activities abound in Ouray. Here summer means excitement and high energy as the mountain passes open up and the rivers and waterfalls start running.
Ouray’s old-fashioned July 4th weekend is the highlight of the summer. Carrying on a 100-plus-year-old tradition, the town puts on a party that includes a traditional parade on Main Street, picnics and the famous Firehose Water Fight. The weekend culminates with a grand Jeep parade down the mountain followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
With over 300 miles of rugged trails, Ouray is the Jeep capital of the world. Many visitors take these roads into the back country to explore the awe-inspiring San Juan mountains and test their off-road driving skills. You can follow the paths of the early miners who came looking for treasure buried in the mountains and visit the ghost towns they left behind. And photographers will love the acres of wildflowers that bloom during July in the upper basins.
But jeeping and taking pictures are only a few of the things to do and see in the San Juans. Miles of trails await both beginning and experienced hikers and mountain bikers. History and railroad buffs will find much to learn at the Ouray County museums. Birders can look for the over 140 species found here, including the rare Black Swift. And fishing, golfing, rafting, shopping, and the Hot Springs Pool all provide hours of relaxation and entertainment.
Fall in Love With Autumn in Ouray
For many, autumn is the best time to visit Ouray. The change from mid-summer is quite dramatic as the leaves begin to turn the forests into seas of crisp yellows and oranges. The brilliant fall colors bring photographers and visitors from all over the world, yet crowds also lessen in contrast to the peak summer months.
However, there is still much to do in Ouray as many summer activities usually extend well into the autumn months. For those who prefer cooler weather, this is a perfect time to hit the Jeep trails, take off hiking or biking, get in a little horseback riding and slip into the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.