Ouray, or as its affectionately known, the 'Switzerland of America,' gets it's nickname because its situated in a river valley surrounded by the peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Ouray sits at nearly 8,000 feet and is surrounded by breaktaking rugged terrain. It’s the perfect spot for avid outdoorsmen, the peaks and valleys of the San Juan Mountains are your backyard, offering endless hiking and biking opportunities. Many thrillseekers come to Ouray for adventures they can't experience anywhere else like ice climbing and driving the Million Dollar Highway.
Originally established by miners looking for silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, Ouray was home to more horses and mules than people. While it currently hosts a modest population of approximately 1,000 fulltime residents, the city is a popular tourist destination and remains bustling year-round.
Many Ouray residents were first attracted to the city by the picturesque setting of historic Victorian buildings against the steep mountain background. Today, these historic structures provide a contrasting backdrop to modern comforts, housing fine restaurants, breweries, live music and art shows.
Ouray's Main Street is registered as a National Historic District, many of the buildings have been preserved but now house retail shops and restaurants, adding to the allure and charm of Ouray. After shopping, make your way to the Ouray Hot Springs! The town is also famous for it's hot springs and the Ouray Hot Springs include a large pool for adults, a lap pool and a shallow pool, all filled with the headed mineral-rich waters of the Ouray Hot Springs.
Visit the Ouray County Historical Museum, originally St. Joseph’s Miners’ Hospital, to learn about the town’s history.
Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center is a pool complex fed by natural hot springs, with a range of temperatures, plus lap-swim & diving areas.
The Ouray Ice Park offers beginning to advanced routes, so climbers can spend a full day learning and perfecting their techniques.
One thing is for sure, you'll work up an appetite in Ouray, so it's a good thing they have plenty of delicious restaurants and dining spots along Main Street. Ouray has many one-of-a-kind dining options, many with a European influence. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, be sure to swing by Mouse's Chocolates for decadenta toofee and Belgian chocolate!
Ouray is one of those towns that doesn't have an off season. Every season is as beautiful as the next and has it's own set of fun outdoor activities! The warmer months bring the opportunity for residents and tourists to partake in challening hikes, and ATV and off-road adventures, while the colder months are popular for snow shoeing, skiing and ice climbing. In fact Ouray hosts the Ouray Ice Festival every year which consists of spraying water down the canynon walls of the Uncompahgre Gorge which creates walls of ice to climb. If that sounds a bit too intense, you can spectate as well.
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