Stay | Camping
Hot Springs plus Summer & Winter
Best known for its hot springs,
this quiet little Victorian town is a haven for lovers of
outdoor recreation. In the summer, the things to do here
are camping, hiking and -- most popular of all --
Jeeping. The area to the south, east and west of Ouray is
laced with old mining roads and rail beds which attract
thousands of four-wheeled drivers every summer.
Rocky drives to Engineer, Cinnamon, Black
Bear and Imogene passes provide memorable experiences for
those who own their own 4WD vehicles, and for those who
arrive in Ouray to rent the necessary wheels or to take a
guided tour of the mountain trails.
What to See & Do
Winter in Ouray provides excellent cross
country skiing, attracting backcountry skiers who head
for the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness Area (also great
summer adventure country). There is excellent skiing near
Red Mountain Pass, which is reached by driving the
"Million Dollar" Highway between Silverton
and Ouray. Trail guides are available in town during the
cross country season. Winter in Ouray is a special
pleasure, as the little town situated in a box canyon
glows with twinkling lights reflecting the Victorian
architecture on the snow. The hot springs bubble at the
edge of town to provide wonderful winter soaking.
Not that the soaking isn't fine in the
summer too! There are two hot springs places. The
Ouray Hot Springs are located at the north end of
town, in the civic park. There are two pools with the
smaller pool heated to 104 F. Admission is good for the
whole day. Orvis Hot Springs, nine miles north of
Ouray, features a large outdoor pool and four smaller
indoor pools. There are overnight rooms at the hot
springs site. The view of the Sneffels range from the
outdoor pool is splendid. Bathing suits are optional and
the pools are open to the public from 10 AM to 10 PM.
The former St. Joseph's Hospital is now
the Ouray Historical Museum, which displays
artifacts from the town's Victorian era in a succession
of rooms. Included are displays of mining equipment, re
created hospital rooms and a general store. Outside,
there are two restored cabins from Ouray's pioneer
period. The museum is located at the corner of 5th St.
and 6th Ave. The Bachelor-Syracuse Mine which
provides an excellent mine tour, mined gold and silver
until the 1980s when it closed with the slump in silver
prices. Tours which lead through more than 3,000 feet of
rock take an hour during which the whole hard rock mining
process is explained. It's open daily from 10 AM from
mid-May to mid-September. Drive north on Highway 550 and
turn right onto County Road 14.
Jeep touring is at its best here -- on the
network of old mining roads which lead above the tree
line. To rent a jeep or to take a guided tour, contact
Switzerland of America Jeep Rentals, (970) 325-4484, or
San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours/Jeeps Ouray, (970) 325-4444.
Here are a few suggestions for interesting
places to stay in Ouray.
Ouray Hotel 303 6th Ave. and Main Street, P.O.
Box 1862, Ouray, CO 81427
(970) 325-0500 or 800-A1-OURAY
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the
Ouray Hotel is more than 100 years old, and was renovated
to the original decor in 1993. With 14 rooms, the hotel
is located on the second story, with fine views of the
mountains and town. The hotel offers a range of rooms
from economy to queen and king rooms, and suites, with
two and three-bed options. All rooms have private baths,
plus cable TV and phones. Restaurants are located across
the street, and a bakery is next door. Nonsmoking.
Weisbaden Hotel (970) 325-4347
Guests at this downtown hotel have the use of the vapor
cave and the hot mineral pool. There's also a sauna and
the hotel offers spa services. Free coffee and tea are
available. There is also a rustic cabin set on the hill
above the hotel.
St Elmo Hotel
426 Main Street, (970) 325-4951
This fine bed & breakfast home was originally a
miners' boarding house. Its Victorian character has been
preserved and some rooms have parlors. Breakfast is
served to guests.
651 Liddell Drive, (970) 626-5939
This lodge is located in Ridgeway, 10 miles north of
Ouray. It lives up to its name with a southwestern
ambiance. It's a small hotel with three rooms plus a
dorm. Continental breakfast is served to guests ($ to
County Road 4, (970) 325-4736
Located 4 miles north of Ouray, this large campground is
open during summer months, with full hookups, tent sites,
store and Jeep rentals.
Nearby towns and attractions,
Go to Durango, Cortez,