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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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History of Ouray - The Mesker Brothers

  
  
  

Ouray, Colorado boasts beautiful architecture, and one of the largest collections of Mesker facades maintained to perfection!

mesker1The Mesker Brothers Iron Works and George L. Mesker & Co. were competing manufacturers and designers of ornamental sheet-metal facades and cast iron storefront components from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century. The Mesker Brothers Iron Works was owned and operated by brothers Bernard and Frank Mesker and was based out of St. Louis, MO. The George L. Mesker Company was operated by the eldest brother, George L. Mesker, and was based in Evansville, IN. The three brothers learned their iron-working skills from their father.

Both companies produced tin ceilings, iron railings, stairs, roof cresting, ventilation grates, iron awnings, skylights, and freight elevators. “Meskers” were marketed through mail order catalogs that displayed their designs. According to a 1915 catalog, there were Mesker storefronts in every state, and even in the territory of Alaska.

mesker2For profit-minded businessmen in the late 1800’s the goal was to stand out from the crowd. For those who couldn’t afford fancy masonry or cast iron embellishments, there was an alternative: pick up a catalogue and order a decorative, galvanized sheet metal facade from the Mesker Brothers Iron Works or George L. Mesker & Co. Purchasers could pick and choose from a range of cast iron and pressed metal mass-produced components or spring for a lavish top-to-bottom facade. Their order would come in by train and in just a few days, a plain brick or wood box of a building could be transformed into a beautifully elegant edifice, at roughly one-fifth the cost of a masonry facade.

mesker3In Colorado there are roughly 112 remaining documented “Meskers”, with 14 surviving examples (more than any other town in the state) Ouray is a favorite destination for Mesker enthusiasts. At the same time that the Mesker facades were becoming popular Ouray was in the midst of its mining heyday. This coincided with the Second Industrial Revolution and its abundance of large-scale iron and steel production and the widespread use of manufacturing machinery, thus marking the face of Ouray with a large variety of Mesker facades.

wrightoperahouseThe Wright Opera House, boasts Ouray’s first and most ornate, Mesker facade, dripping with cornices, columns, ornamental sheet metal panels and other decorative elements that encrust the entire front of the building from top to bottom. The building and its facade made a big impression on the community – so much so that over the course of the next 20 years 14 more buildings were built with Mesker facades. Of the 15 buildings originally built with these facades only one has been torn down, this was the Hiebler Building located at 624 Main St.

 

OURAY’S SURVIVING MESKERS

Original: 1888 Wright’s Hall Today: Wright Opera House   Address: 462 Main St.

Original: 1888-90 Scott-Humphries Building  Today: Buen Tiempo     Address: 513 Main St.

Original: 1888-90 Carney Hardware Today: Swiss Store   Address: 514 Main St.

Original: 1898 Prevost Saloon Today: Citizens State Bank  Address: 600 Main St.
Original: 1898 Columbus Building Today: Silver Nugget Restaurant  Address: 740 Main St.

Original: 1890 Jeffers Building    Columbine Rock Shop    635 Main St.

Original: 1895 Powell Grocery Today: Rockin’ P Ranch   Address: 512 Main St.

Original: 1900 Hammond & Waring Grocers    Duckett’s Market    621 Main St.
Original: 1900 Derry Building Today: Gator Emporium    608 Main St.

Original: 1901 Townsend/Witherspoon Building Today: Mouse’s Chocolates   Address: 520 Main St.

Original: 1902 Orendorf Building    RB Horsetraders    629 Main St.
Original: 1906 Sanitary Market Today: O’Brien’s Pub   Address: 726 Main St.
Original: 1906 Faussone & Pricco/ Cascade Grocery Today: Salon Envy  Address: 736 Main St.
Original: 1908-10 Canavan Taylor/ Bonatti Building Today: Outlaw Restaurant  Address: 610 Main St.

ouray main streetOf the 15 “Meskers” built in Ouray all but one were created by the Mesker Brothers Iron Works. The one by George L. Mesker & CO the Powell Grocery built in 1895, today the Rockin’ P Ranch (a clothing and gift shop) resides there. You can distinguish the two companies by looking for the embossed cast iron column nameplates bearing the company name and foundry location. George L. Mesker displayed a “morning glory” motif, while Mesker Brothers Iron Works, influenced by the French heritage of St. Louis, displayed a “fleur-de-lis.”

One of the most interesting Meskers in Ouray is the Jeffers building which appears to have used a combination of several different kits to create the façade. The Columbine Mineral Shop is currently located in the Jeffers building and offers a dazzling array of rocks, minerals, and jewelry to choose from. The 600 block of Main Street in downtown Ouray has several Mesker Brothers fronts in a row. The Jeffers Building of 1890 (far left of the photo) and the cornice and pediments of Duckett’s Market are some of the best surviving elements anywhere.

The Scott-Humphries Building built in 1889, boasts another of Ouray’s best Mesker fronts. Now home to the Buen Tiempo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, this building has several ornamental elements on the ground level, and a complete second-floor sheet metal facade. When checking out this beautifully restored building stop in and enjoy a tasty meal and margarita.

Next time you come to stay with us here at the Box Canyon Lodge please take some time to wander Main St and enjoy the beauty of the many and varied Mesker facades scattered throughout Ouray. And please don’t forget to peruse the fun shops and restaurants located within those beautiful buildings.

About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Snowy Road Conditions doesn't mean Snow Bound in Ouray Colorado!

  
  
  

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) keeps Southwest Colorado safe!

bclwinterAs the snow begins to fly in Ouray and all of Southwest Colorado become more aware and are more appreciative of our road crews. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and our local organizations work extra hard in the winter to keep our roads cleared every time it snows.

CDOTcameraimagehwy145attellurideCDOT in connection with other organizations such as Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) keep a close eye on weather conditions, forecasts, snow depth, wind and much more to predict potential hazards and work tirelessly to keep our roads safe. Rarely do they have to close the roads, but if they do it is for as little time as necessary to remove the hazards. Snow plow drivers go through rigorous training and work long hours even overnight to ensure out roads are clear and safe. 

cdotroadcrewA direct quote from their website speaks on how CDOT works to protect our roads and travellers:

*CDOT/CAIC avalanche teams can use the following to trigger slides (please note, however, not all these measures are used on every slide path):  five-pound charges set by hand; a truck-mounted “avalauncher” that uses pneumatic pressure to fire 2.2-pound rounds; a 105 Howitzer leased from the Army that can fire 40-pound missiles up to seven miles; a helicopter that drops 30- to 50- pound bombs. (CDOT doesn’t own the helicopter.) 

CDOT Truck cdotfbpageRed Mountain Pass is #7 on CDOT”s list of highest passes maintained in 

Colorado. Red Mt Pass also has the most avalanche slide paths with potential to hit the highway in North America. 

To stay up to date on road conditions visit cotrip.org or get their mobile app, which is called CDOT Mobile or sign up on their website for e-mail and text message alerts. You can also follow them on Facebook  and Twitter @ColoradoDOT. You can also dial 511 from your phone for road conditions.

 

About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and braun of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.

Thanksgiving in Southwest Colorado

  
  
  

Celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones in Ouray!

turkeydinnerIt is difficult to believe that we are already so close to the Holidays! With just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, it is time to begin planning if you have not already!

Black Friday will be a crazy time, as everyone rushes to get the best possible deals. At times like this, it seems much more peaceful to relax in a soothing mineral hot spring after enjoying a decadent feast at one of the amazing restaurants serving dinner in this tiny mountain town.

ouray winterShops on Main Street will be open on Friday, offering a variety of gift ideas, original and suited to everyone on your list. There is truly something more special to receiving a present that was created as if with you and you alone in mind.

Thanksgiving in Ouray offers a variety of dining options. What better way to enjoy the holiday? Enjoy a decadent meal with friends and family in the atmosphere of your choice before heading back to the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs for a soothing soak followed by relaxing to one of our complimentary movies in your room while enjoying left overs.

The best part: NO DISHES!

The following restaurants will be serving thanksgiving Dinner in Ouray

Beaumont Hotel Grand Ballroom

beaumontlogoThe Beaumont Grill is located in the old Melodrama Theatre of the hotel and has a historical mining theme. It offers freshly made, wholesome American-Style Cuisine including steaks, seafood, sandwiches, salads, nightly fresh fish specials, vegetarian choices, gluten-free options with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. You can choose from one of the Western Slope’s largest wine selections.

Kings, Presidents and many of the rich and famous have dined in the Grand Ballroom in the last 127 years. It features magnificent 21-foot ceilings met by hand-painted plaster walls that emanate old-world charm and elegance. The Lounge exudes a sense of glamour, privacy and upscale exclusivity. Reserve the Historic Grand Ballroom or Luella’s Lounge for special events in an elegant atmosphere. 

Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet- Seatings- noon, 2:30 & 5pm

Adults- 34.95 Kids 17.99 (12 & Under)

Reservations required and secured with credit card

Bon Ton

bontonlogoThe Bon Ton is a roman­tic Col­orado restau­rant where you can expe­ri­ence upscale casual din­ing with an Ital­ian flair, serv­ing prime Angus steaks, fresh seafood and pasta, com­ple­mented by a Wine Spec­ta­tor award-winning wine list, and Mar­tini bar.

Located down­stairs in the St. Elmo Hotel in Ouray, CO; the restau­rant is warmly dec­o­rated with rock walls, hard­wood floors and a beau­ti­ful bar. The Bon Ton has been one of west­ern Colorado’s favorites for more than 20 years.

On Thanksgiving, The Bon Ton is open from 3:00pm -7:00pm, Serving off menu options, ranging from a Traditional Turkey dinner, Prime Rib, Salmon and several other menu items.

Prices vary, and reservations are recommended

Outlaw Restaurant-


outlawlogoThe Bonatti's immigrated to Ouray in the early 1920's buying the Outlaw Building. Their granddaughter Chris sold in April 2009 to the Choates. It has been a restaurant since the 1940's and The Outlaw since late 1968. We welcome you to it's western charm & friendly atmosphere, adorned with old family photos, the Duke's Hat & other memorabilia. Come in where past and present merge.

Today the Outlaw Restaurant is still available to the citizens and visitors of Ouray; and the Outlaw Restaurant still has the same sign hung in 1969. Those who return come back with happy memories of the past, while newcomers take away experiences they will fondly remember.

On Thanksgiving, the Outlaw will be open from 4:00pm - 8:00pm, serving a Traditional Turkey Dinner as well as a few specialty some menu items.

Prices vary, and reservations are recommended.

box canyon lodge winter in ouray2Of course, Even if you have dinner reservations, a little breakfast or lunch is definitely a must, and The Backsteet Bistro will be open from 7:00am - 1:00pm, providing breakfast and lunch options for everyone.

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you design the perfect holiday getaway. We will make your dinner reservations for you, and be waiting with a worm welcoming smile when you and yours arrive in the beautiful winter wonderland of Ouray!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

A Weekend of Festivities this Holiday Season in Ouray

  
  
  

The Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival in Ouray is an event not to miss.

winechocchzposterThe holiday season is once again approaching. We celebrated Fall and Halloween in Ouray fashion, with revelry and dancing in ghoulish costumes all over town. Despite the sunshine, we prepare for a quiet November as the Indian Summer continues. The Box Canyon Lodge finally had to take down the flowers, which were still colorful, but beginning to show the inevitable signs of steadily colder days and nights.

Restaurants and shops on Main Street have started their winter hours, still providing plenty of hours to peruse the unique and interesting merchandise one cannot find in a large department store.

winechocolatecheese3As we enter into this quieter time, we begin to focus on the next few months of earlier evenings, warm fires, soaking in hot springs and preparing for the holidays.

winechochsThis December marks the sixth year of the Annual Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival, tied in with all of the celebrations of a Holiday Weekend in Ouray. Wine, chocolate, cheese, distilled liquor, arts and crafts and live music, a great combination for a fantastic evening! A great excuse to dress up or pull out the stops for a costume along the lines of “Winter Wonderland”.

FaithParryWineandCheeseFestival goers will get to try samples of Colorado wine, chocolate, cheese and some delicious creation from Trail Town Still. This is also a great opportunity to get unforgettable Christmas gifts. All the vendors will have their product for sale, so not only do you get to sample but you also get to purchase and support Colorado business.

swingcityexpressSwing City Express will be keeping the festive atmosphere with fantastic music from a live 9 piece band. Bring your dancing shoes and have some fun.


The festival is at the Ouray Community Center on December 13th decorated according to the theme and you would never recognize it as a community Center. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on line or check our website for a location near you. Stay at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and get tickets to the festival for half price.

Come for the weekend and we have a great package for you! December 12th Cavallos Restaurant will be preparing a 4 course Wine Dinner from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The dinner includes wines from Stoney Mesa Winery with each course and samplings of what you will experience the next night at the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival. December 13th is the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival! The Wright Opera House in Ouray will be showing “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a Radio Drama on December 14th at 3:00 pm, performed by locals. The entire weekend of activities is $140 for 2 plus your room rate. Follow Winterfest on Facebook for all the happenings in Ouray this winter.

About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and braun of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Indian Summer Continues in Ouray County

  
  
  

Warm Weather continues into Daylight Savings in the San Juan Mountains!


last dollar road ross ranch true gritOctober in Ouray was amazing. Every day, we watched with bated breath for the snow to fall, covering the earth with a blanket of white for Trick or Treaters to trudge through on a quest for the best candy in town.

Typically, the children wear thick coats and snow shoes over costumes, requiring folks to look closely to discern what typr of monster stands before them. Halloween parties are much the same, with coats draped over every chair as ghouls and goblins dance the night away.

Not so last night, or very much at all this year. We are walking into the 11th hour with the sun shining, and yet another forecast for snow. Of course, at almost 8000 feet, it is difficult to guage when mother nature will decide to send winter our way. We celebrate whatever the weather wants to provide, knowing full well that even the worst winter storm will only last a day or so, then we will be blessed with a magnificent winter wonderland.

ourayice2Ice climbers have not started to get nervous, nor have skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts. Everyone knows winter will be here soon enough, and are taking advantage of the seemingly unseasonable weather. Ice farmers have had an easy job so far of prepping the site and checking the water systems. They are expecting to have the park open no later than mid-December.

Skiers need not worry. Just a short drive away, the resorts are still forcasting a Thanksgiving opening, and there are no concerns that the weather will not cooperate.

Of course, we are all prepared for cozy nights in town as well. Many local restaurants will remain open this winter, offering a variety of great dining options, while shops an of course, the hot springs anticipate a great season.


bcl deerHere at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, we are excited for the months events at the Wright Opera House. From Wednesday night movies to plays and live music, the next couple of months look promising for evening entertainment.

Not to mention the hot springs! With hardly any sulphur in our water, the mineral springs in Ouray and particularly at the hotel are an experience not to be missed. Winter soaking is almost surreal, as the steam surrounds you, melting giant snowflakes before they land. The views from the tubs are second to none. Surrounded by mountains, with deer grazing in the warmth of the springs, it is no surprise the Utes considered this area sacred ground.

Until the snow arrives, visitors can enjoy strolling Main Street in light jackets, wandering from shop to shop. Soon, the snow will come, creating a sense of wonder on Main Street, the lights of the shop windows reflecting on the snow. Warm cocoa and a delicious meal are a temptation not easily ignored.

Life is good in Ouray, we look forward to seeing you!

 

Contact Us to Arrange Your Outdoor Adventure in Ouray!

Halloween in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

With its rich history, Halloween is a scary good time in Ouray!

halloween3Straddling the line between autumn and winter, life and death, Halloween or All Hollow’s Eve is a time of celebration and superstition.It is believed to have its origin’s in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, in the area that is now Ireland, the U. K. and parts of northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This is the day that marked the end of summer & the harvest, and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. This was a time of year that often was associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the vail between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.

halloween5 On the night of October 31they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead could return to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging the crops, Celts believed that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the ever changing natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter months.

halloween2During the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday was known as All Saints’ Day, this Christian holiday incorporated many of the traditions of Samhain. The evening of October 31st became known as All Hallows’ Eve and would later evolve into what we now know as Halloween.

halloweenOne of the most fun traditions in the history of Halloween are the Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on Halloween goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. Trick-or-treating most closely resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when the poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). This tradition is believed to have originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

halloween4Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. Originally for the ghosts and sprits of their deceased loved ones, people would set places at the dinner table, leave treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and would light candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. Today’s Halloween ghosts are most often shown as being much more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier as well. We also tend to avoid crossing paths with black cats, in the belief that they might bring us bad luck. This idea again has its roots in the Middle Ages, when people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats.

halloweenballThrough the centuries, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — came to be associated with Halloween, and more than a century ago in Ireland, the holiday was believed to be a time when spirits of the dead could return to their old haunting grounds. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialized, the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians. All Hollow’s Eve has been known on the North American continent since colonial days, but by the middle of the twentieth century Halloween had become largely a children's holiday.  Since that time, the holiday's popularity increased dramatically as schools, campuses and commercial haunted houses (such as the annual Haunted House at the Ouray Elks Lodge) have embraced the event.

hallowenball2Whether you be a ghost, witch, fairy or druid Halloween has become a much loved and enjoyed holiday for all ages young or old to celebrate. We here at the Box Canyon Lodge look forward to seeing all the little ghouls and goblins out haunting our streets for this year’s trick or treating. And for those older revelers a hauntingly good time can be found at the annual Halloween Ball at the Haunted Beaumont Hotel from 8pm till the witching hour of midnight.

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to make this Halloween a fun and safe adventure!

About the Author: Morgan McDaniel is a Ouray County native. After graduating high school, Morgan continued through college, and spent some time out of Colorado. Recently, she returned to Ouray, and can be found pursuing a number of activities, as well as the occasional cameo appearance at the Silver Eagle. 

Come in and say hello! 

 

Contact UsFor The PerfectFall Escape!

Seven reasons to visit Ouray

  
  
  

Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray County is a Natural Treasure.

minerOnce central to a booming mining industry, Ouray County now relies mainly on tourism, recreation, ranching, construction and still some mining. Its two towns, Ouray and Ridgway, remain true to the best of the Western Colorado tradition - a relaxed, meaningful quality of life that many only dream about.

Ouray County is noted for some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Often refferred to as "Switzerland of America" and the "Gem of the Rockies", Ouray County offers amateur and proffessional photographers the magnificence of the San juan Mountains, waterfalls and sparkling riversd, alpine wildflowers and endlessly changing seasonal colors.

In addition, Ouray County offers a number of delightful visitor attractions:

1.) Railroad

trainRailroad buffs will enjoy a walk or ride along the old Denver and Rio Grande train bed, which runs paralell to the Uncompahgre River north of Ouray. Avid rock hounds can easily find specimens of pyrite, crystal and even silver and gold for those willing to try their hand at panning. the Bachelor Syracuse mine offers panning lessons and offers the equipment needed at their gift shop.

2.) Bird Watching

black swiftBird watchers will delight in the unique varieties of birds in Ouray County. Species ranging from tiny hummingbirds to golden and bald eagles may be viewed from the town or in the mountains and meadows of the surrounding area. The Box Canyon Waterfall Park is one of just a few known nesting sites for the rare Black Swift, and the entire area has been listed by the National Audobon Society as a rare bird sanctuary.

3.) Hiking

hiking2Hikers and backpackers will find terrain and trails in the county perfect for beginners and experienced hikers alike. From an easy stroll to the base of Cascade Falls, or Portland Trail, a good first time intro to area hiking, to the challenge of the Horsethief-Bear Creek Loop Trail, Ouray County has something for all interests and abilities.

4.) Four-Wheeling

jeep torOften refferred to as the "Jeeping Capitol of the World", four-wheeling is an unqualified means of experiencing the magnificence of Ouray County. Bring along a four-wheel drive vehicle or trail bike, rent a jeep locally or enjoy the convenience of a jeep tour, with knowledgeable, experienced drivers. With access to over 500 miles of trails to explore, a four wheel drive adventure is an item easily marked off of your bucket list! 

5.) Rock Climbing and Ice Climbing

iceclimberMountain climbing in the summer, and ice climbing in the winter are popular activities in Ouray County. Some of the most popular "fourteeners" are located in the area as well as other challenging peaks to conquer. Canyoneering is a sport quickly gaining popularity in Ouray County as well, combining hiking, climbing and rpelling through spectacular waterfalls. Adventure is easy to find here in Ouray County!

6.) Wildlife Viewing

Early Morning Guests at the tubsOuray County Sparkles during its long season of winter sunshine and moderate temperaturres. Ouray winters offer a quiet serene contrast to Colorado's more bustling ski areas. Deer, Elk and bighorn sheep are often seen grazing in the City Park during the winter months. One doesn't even have to travel that far from the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, as a variety of wildlife enjoy the warmth of the hot springs, and can often be spotted just a few feet away while guests enjoy a warm soothing soak.

7.) Winter Exploring

snowshoeing2The ultimate in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be enjoyed against a backdrop of 14,000 foot peaks, wooded trails and alpine meadows. For those less athletically inclined, a snowmobile tour can be an exciting winter adventure which can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Regardless of the season, Ouray County offers a range of activities and interesting adventures centered around the majesty of the San Juan Mountains. The county's 540 miles encompass the rich, fertile ranchlands of the Uncompahgre river valley, the gentle rolling expanse of Dallas Divide, the majestic Sneffels Range, the scenic solitude of Owl Creek, Cow Creek and the Courthouse Range, and the spectacular Million Dollar Highway.

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to create the mountain adventure of a lifetime for you! From arranging dinner reservations and jeep tours, to mapping out the ideal trails to explore, or just providing a quiet oasis frigors of the outside world, Ouray and the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs are the perfect escape. 

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Southwest Colorado Adventure

  
  
  

Fall Colors are still Awesome in the San Juan Mountains!

opirpassAfter posting the most recent color update from the San Juan National Forest, it seemed only reasonable to go out and see for ourselves. The weather was cooperating, and the roads calling, so, jumping in the jeep, we began our adventure.

ophirpass2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton was, as always, breathtakingly beautiful, even though the colors are past peak. Still, driving past groves of aspen that have lost most of their leaves is a marvelous precursor to the colors on the other side of the mountain.

ophirpass3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having enjoyed a leisurely lunch in Silverton, and adding a little gas to ensure a pressure free day of exploring, we headed back to the Ophir Pass entrance.

lastdollar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quickly, the landscape began to change, and suddenly, we were gazing at mountaintops covered in the first blanket of snow.

lastdollar2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the top, one last twist in the trail offered an amazing view of reds and golds in the valley below. Standing in a sudden flurry of snow, perhaps, the pictures were taken a little quickly.

lastdollar3

 

 

Traveling through a forest of trees shedding leaves in a surreal display, it was difficult to remember to click the camera, the rainbow of Fall surrounding us in its peaceful beauty.

CAMPBIRDROAD2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jumping on Highway 145 for just a short time, we opted to drive Last Dollar Road, and were rewarded with more spectacular scenery with every mile. Turning back at one point, the contrasts of color were a sight to behold. As we returned to the highway at the base of Dallas Divide, we still had not had enough.

cambirdroad3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking County Road 17 back to Ouray, once again, colors burst at every turn, and quickly, the decision was made to make the most of the daylight left to us and we turned onto Camp Bird Mine Road for yet another breathtaking display of Mother Nature.

whirlwindofleaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer on the mountainside paused as we gasped at their magnificence, obviously taking for granted the scenery around them. Just a few miles up the road, just after a rock overhang, we decided to turn back, and found ourselves caught in a storm of leaves as the wind blew colors across the road in a dance to music we could not hear.

Traveling back toward Ouray, it was obvious that although winter is definitely gazing hungrily at the high country, there are still so many roads to explore and sights to see.

fall tubsBack at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, a long soak in the soothing mineral hot springs was the perfect way to enhance our appetites for a delicious meal in one of the great restaurants on Main Street, before heading back for a movie and relaxation.

A day in Ouray County and the surrounding area is always an adventure. Whether you choose to drive the back roads, hike the Perimeter Trail, rappel through a waterfall, or climb an ice filled gorge, the adventure never stops, and the days are still long enough to enjoy many activities.

 

Contact UsFor The PerfectFall Escape!

October in Ouray County - the leaves are still falling! - update 10-10

  
  
  

Fall Leaves Update for Southwest Colorado

fallfirstsnowIt seems as if the colors on the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton have passed their peak, but that's not to say the leaves have done changing!

The lower altitudes are still vibrant with oakbrush and still some aspen - the reds and golds and faded greens blending int a rainbow of Fall.

fallphotographerAs the colors change, so does the weather, but the jeep roads are still open, and the scenery magnificent in a whole new way.

There are still colors to be seen all around, so if you missed peak on the Million Dollar Highway, never fear!

fall red mtn pass.5msSan Juan National Forest Fall Color Report 2014 as of 10/10/2014:

Date: 10/10/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – 90% aspens peaking
Molas Pass - past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –70% aspens high, 90% cottonwoods along river 
Dolores to Rico – 85% peaking
Mancos – 90% peaking

jeep tourAreas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:


Purgatory to Durango.  Williams Creek Reservoir. 
North of Mancos.  West Dolores


Estimated Peak Viewing Period:

High country this weekend should be getting lower.  8-9,000 feet

The slightly lower areas below 8,000 ft look good.  Pagosa, Dolores, Mancos changing fast.

leavesViewing Suggestions / Tips:

This may be the last good weekend.
 

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:

Aspens, oakbrush.  Willows and cottonwoods starting.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:

San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Rocky Mountain Region Fall Color page link
National Forest Service Color Finder page link

 

The 4WD roads are still open as well, and there are some companies who are taking guests for a snowfall tour! This is a little shorter than the typical half day, and a little less expensive as well. Give us a call at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and we will get your adventure arranged for you!

See You Soon!

Contact UsFor The PerfectFall Escape!

High Adrenaline Adventures in Ouray Any Time of Year

  
  
  

From Ice Climbing To Canyoning, The Waterfalls in Ouray Beckon 

fall san juansFall is gradually turning to winter. As the evenings become cooler, and the mornings more brisk, the land waits impatiently for the first snow. Fall colors still bloom at lower altitudes, and some leaves are clinging tenaciously in the high country, but we all know the season is about to change again.

ourayiceparkmapMembers of the Ice Park have begun to prepare for the cold, promising an early season as long as Mother Nature cooperates. Of course, it is still far too early to begin farming ice, but there is much to do before then.

ourayice2Once the ice forms, the silence in the park is deafening, as athletes concentrate on proper placement of axe and boot, ever conscious of the spotter below. Onlookers watch in quiet amazement as climbers contort their bodies to best experience the climb. As if in defiance of gravity, the experts traverse ice as smooth and clear as glass, deep in the Uncompahgre Gorge.

ourayiceJanuary marks the 20th Annual Ouray Ice FestivalThis gathering is attended by ice climbers from around the world, as well as industry sponsors, inspiring speakers, and the world’s top exhibition climbers. 

ouraycanyoningSo, what is an Ice Climber to do when there is no ice? Well, rock climbing is quite popular, and becoming ever more so in and around Ouray. There is also a sport that is beginning to become more and more popular with every season: Canyoning, or Canyoneering

ouraycanyoning2Combining hiking, climbing and rapelling, Canyoneering adds the element of water. Yes. Canyoneers begin by hiking to a waterfall, which they climb to the top of, then rapell through the water to the base. Not much is missing in this adrenaline pumping sport. 

ouraycanyoning4For the past five years, Ouray has hosted a canyoning festival each August. Steadily, the number of Canyoneers has grown, and in 2015, Ouray will host the Rendezvous International for Canyoning (RIC). We will welcome athletes from around the world as they join us and explore the amazing canyons and waterfalls in the region. The final day of the festival will be highlighted with the Annual City of Ouray Grillin & Chillin Festival in Felin Park.

Whether travelling to Ouray in the Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. From Exploring the high country by 4x4 on foot, or skis to traversing a wall of water, either frozen or flowing, the best part is being able to relax in the warm soothing waters of a natural mineral hot spring tub at the end of the day.

Experienced guide companies are standing by to take you out on the adventure of your choosing. Whether new to any given sport, or just the area, these individuals can take you and your family where you want to go in a safe, professional manner filled with breath taking fun and excitement.

Weekend adventurers and mid week getaways add a little spice to the ordinary, and although Ouray seems so far away, it is really just in your back yard, accessible year round, with access to some of the most spectacular scenery and adrenaline pumping sports around!

 

Contact Us to Arrange Your Outdoor Adventure in Ouray!
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