Ouray - Colorado

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Hot Springs plus Summer & Winter Recreation

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.

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

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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.

Adobe Inn
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 $$).

Ouray Camping

KOA Ouray
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, Telluride, Silverton

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