Book Now
Contact Us

Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Follow Me

Browse by Tag

Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

20th Annual Ouray Ice Fest - January 8 - 11, 2015


Welcome Climbers! Ouray Celebrates 20 Years of World Class Competition.

ourayiceparkmapFor two decades now, Ouray has proudly nurtured the largest farmed Ice Park in the country, welcoming climbers from accross the globe as they explore and enjoy the ice so lovingly created by a small group of volunteers. Every year around Thanksgiving, the ice farmers begin to prep the Uncompaghre Gorge for the upcoming ice season. 

icefarmingHoping for an early season, opening is usually forecasted for around mid December, but is ralrely later than the first week in January. Which is a good thing, because Ice Fest usually falls on the second weekend of the New Year.

asoloposterThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the Ouray Ice Fest, once a small gathering of ice climing enthusiasts, this festival is now one of the largest of its kind. Renowned athletes from accross the globe travel to Ouray to test their skills on the ice.

sjmg logoSan Juan Mountain Guides will again be offering climbing clinics for all levels of experience, in addition to a Kids Climbing College, at which children ages 5 to 16 can be introduced to the wonder of ice climbing free of charge!

icefestcompetitorsBooths offering everything from a sampling of the newest gear to the warmest lightest jackets line the walkway, providing shelter from the cold to onlookers and participants alike.

Kids Wall2There are seminars offered throughout the festival, offering a variety of information and traininig from top athletes. From classes for beginners to backcountry tips for the seasoned climber, there are sure to be several that will peak your interest!

beersponsorsEvenings during the festival will be filled with dinners, live music and silent auctions. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, the Wright Opera House will be hosting a kick off party, with great food, fantastic prizes, live music from the group One Roof Blues, and a special screening of the  North Face film “Always Above Us” with special guest Conrad Anker. The party goes from 7pm to 10pm, and it is only a $10.00 cover charge.

On Friday, January 9

2015icefestAfter a day of interactive clinics and gear demos at the park, head on over to the Ouray Community Center for a dinner, fashion show and silent auction! The Ouray Volunteer Fire Department will be cooking up a delicious meal, and beer will be provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association.

Saturday, January 10th

ourayiceIt's a full day and evening of fun and excitement. From gear expos, interactive clinics and the free Climbing College for the kids, to the highly anticipated Elite Mixed Climbing Competition, the day ends with another gathering at the Wright Opera Housewith presentations by Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf and Will Gadd. Ther will be a live auction offering a wide variety of awesome gear, and the presentation of the Jeff Lowe award. Beer provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association. Of course, tha's not the end of the celebration by any means!

kidsclimbingcollegeFrom 9:30 pm to 1:30 am, relive the magical moments of Prom Night (but this time you know better) at this years themed Petzl Party and dance.

Sunday, January 11

Kids Wall2This is the last day of the festival, beginning with the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp, sponsored by Lowa. More interactive clinics, Kids climbing College, Gear Expos and Free Walk-up Climbing at the La Sportiva Zone fill the morning and afternoon, culminating in the ASOLO Awards Ceremony at the Outdoor Gear Expo at 1pm.

As the festival begins to wind down, there is no better way to end your time in Ouray than a warm soothing soak in the all natural mineral hot springs. Regardless of whether you have been climbing all day, or watching the competitions from the side of the Gorge, a long soak in water ranging from 103 to 108 degrees is sure to take the chill from your bones and put you in a relaxed state of mind, ready for a quiet dinner and restful evening before heading home in the morning.

Once the festival is over, and the town has quieted down somewhat, it is the ideal time to come back to Ouray, and try your hand at climbing. Take a class or go with a guide to explore the many awesome climbs in the park, as well as some in the back country!

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to plan your ice climbing adventure in Ouray!


Start Your Adventure on the Ice Today!















Southwest Colorado Town Offers Many Services for the Holidays!


Ouray and Ridgway Welcome You to Celebrate the Holiday!

winterinourayIf you are planning to spend Christmas with us and would like a church to 
celebrate here is a list of some options, and a bit about what each has to offer:

Santa In SleighOuray’s Baptist Church just a block from the hotel at 100 4th St, Ouray, Co. (970) 325-4448 will have their Christmas Eve Candlelight service @ 6:30 pm, on Wednesday, December 24th.  All are welcome to come.  They begin by lighting the Christ candle then different people read Scripture from the Old and New Testaments.  In between the readings, they will sing Christmas carols and hymns.  All of this together, tells the Christmas story.  Toward the end of the service, they light a candle from the Christ candle, and then each person lights their candle from one another.  The service ends with singing "Silent Night" in the glow of the candles.
xmastreeOuray Christian Fellowship at 336 4th Ave, Ouray, CO. (970) 325-4253 will have a Lessons and Carols service at 7 pm *based* on (but different than) the traditional Anglican service performed each year.  It features roughly 7 “lessons” (readings from Scripture) which point us to Christ or to a theme of Christmas and 7 “carols” which are congregational and choral responses to those lessons.  The service is entirely “scripture” and “song” - no preaching; we let the Bible and the Hymns preach to us on the Eve of Christmas.  Everyone is welcome to attend and to listen to the themes of Scripture unfolded for us in Christ. There is no childcare provided because the service is designed with many interactive elements - mostly singing - to engage the family.  The service should last about one hour, concluding with a candlelight singing of “Silent Night”.

carolingCalvary Community Church at 380 2nd St, Ouray, Co (970) 325-4049 is having a Christmas Day Celebration at the church at 10:00 AM. The service will consist of singing Christmas Carols and special readings of the Christmas Story. They will also have stocking for children ages 2-10 during the service. The service will conclude with a brunch welcome to all.
bellsSt John’s Episcopal Church, (970) 325-4655 will have a Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service at 5 pm and a Christmas Day service at 10:30 am. St John’s is located at 329 5th Ave. Ridgway Community Church is having a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 5pm. The service will be a remembrance of Luke, Matthew and Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The Community Church is located on the north side of Hwy 62 also known as Sherman in town. 

reindeerSt Daniel’s Catholic Church at 614 5th St, Ouray, Co (970) 325-4373 will have a Christmas Eve Mass at 8pm on December 24, 2014, and a Christmas celebration at 9am on Christmas Day.
Ridgway Community Church (970) 626-5692
Ouray and Ridgway are a magical place to celebrate the holidays. From a variety of ourdoor activities, to the thriving community togetherness, there are few more enticing places to enjoy a winter getaway.
merryxmasThe staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs works to provide the ideal escape for everyone, and are more than happy to provide information to make your escape perfect!
About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and brawn 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.
Contact us to arrangeyour Winter Getaway in Ouray!

Holiday Dining Options in Ouray


Southwest Colorado is a Winter Wonderland!

winterinourayThe end of the year is fast approaching. We will soon bid 2014 goodbye, and journey into a New Year of adventures.

santaFrom visits with Santa himself, thanks to the Ouray Elks Lodge, to cross country skiing across pristine fields in Ironton Park, the holiday season promises something for everyone in the Uncompahgres.

winterymainstreetThe recent snow has blanketed the town with soft piles of wintery perfection. The landscape stands pristine as a Christmas Card, snow draping rooftops and tree branches as if posing for a photo shoot.

ourayiceparkmapThe Ouray Ice Park is looking forward to opening all of the climbs soon, waiting for Mother Nature to accomodate the ice farmers with ideal climbing conditions, and the snow is perfect for snow shoeing, alpine skiing, and sledding.

As the Holidays approach, planning for those special evenings can be difficult - even with limited options, there are almost too many to choose from.

Both Ouray and Ridgway boast some amazing dining options. The following restaurants will be open with special holiday hours:


artisanArtisan Bakery - 460 Main Street Ouray, CO (970) 325-4677
Located at the South side of town, right on main street, in the old Wright Opera house. With friendly staff, Great food, and a nice atmosphere, you can't go wrong stoping in here! And now, With Doughnuts, made right on the premisis, on Saturday mornings! YUMMMM!

Christmas Eve: 7am - Noon

Christmas Day: CLOSED

New Years Eve: 7am - Noon

New Years Day: CLOSED

mainstrretourayBackstreet Bistro - 636 Main Street Ouray (970) 325-0550     Warm, fresh coffee, homemade bagels and pastries, and sandwiches as well as a full breakfast menu with pancakes, bacon,  sausages, eggs, omelets, and skillets. A very yummy way to treat yourself!

Christmas Eve: 7am - 3pm

Christmas Day: 7am - Noon

New Years Eve: 7am - 3pm

New Years Day: 7am - Noon

buen tiempoThe Buen Tiempo - 515 Main Ouray (970) 325-4544
Serving great Mexican food and the best margaritas this side of Santa Fe, The staff at the Buen Tiempo are sure to bring a smile to your face as well as your stomach! Entrees include such items as Carne Adovada, Camarones (spicy grilled shrimp), Carne Asada, Chile Rellenos, Spinach Enchiladas with Blue Corn Tortillas, Vegetarian Quesadilla and Huevos Rancheros.

Christmas Eve: 5:30 - close

Christmas Day: CLOSED

New Years Eve: 5:30 - close

New Years Day: 5:30 - close

beaumontlogoBeaumont Grille - 505 Main Street Ouray (970) 325-7000   Located in the Beaumont Hotel, the Beaumont Grille offers a casual menu in a warm and inviting Bistro. The European setting offers a secluded cozy feel and is easily accessed right off of Main Street or through the hotel lobby.

Christmas Eve: Open from 5-9pm with regular dinner menu

Christmas Day: Closed

New Years Eve: 7pm only Surf-n-Turf 4 course meal $59.99, reservations requested. Lounge opens at 5pm for pre dinner drinks.

New Years Day: Open from 5-9pm with regular dinner menu

bontonnyeBon-Ton Restaurant - 426 Main Street 970-325-4419  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.

Christmas Eve: 5pm - close. Will be offering a variety of chef specialities in addition to select items off of the regular menu

Christmas Day: CLOSED

New Years Eve: 5pm - 10pm - Accepting reservations up to 9:45pm! Will be offering a variety of chef specialities in addition to select items off of the regular menu

New Years Day: CLOSED

cimarroncafeCimarron Cafe - 153 Hwy 550 970-626-4426    Featuring only the fresh­est ingre­di­ents, hand-made sauces and hand– crafted ingre­di­ents, this comfortable and casual fam­ily restau­rant has a large, var­ied menu, a well stocked bar and a great wine list.

Christmas Eve: CLOSED

Christmas Day: CLOSED

New Years Eve: 7:30am - 10pm - offering dinner off menu and some New Years Eve Special as well!

New Years Day: CLOSED

cavallos1Cavallo's - 630 Mian Street, Ouray 970-325-2042     Focusing on only the freshest ingredients and beautiful presentations, combined with original recipes with a Louisiana flair. Excellent breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner with a creole twist. 

Christmas Eve:  7am - 2pm, and 5pm - 9pm

Christmas Day:  CLOSED

New Years Eve:  7am - 2pm and 5pm - 9pm

New Years Day:  7am - 2pm and 5pm to 9pm

four corners cafeFour Corners Cafe - 304 South Lena Street Ridgway 970-626-3737   Delicious, Southwestern inspired healthy fare in a fine dining experience. Fresh, local, and organic is the theme for a Christmas breakfast to remember.

Christmas Eve:  5pm - 9pm

Christmas Day:  CLOSED

New Years Eve:  5pm - 9pm

New Years Day: CLOSED

fireworksnyeGoldbelt Bar & Grill - 800 Main Street, Ouray (970) 325-7323  A family-friendly affordable restaurant in Ouray reopened this year by the former owners of the famous Cafe Ouray. The Goldbelt is known for homemade pizza and fantastic sandwiches, wraps and burgers. Everything is homemade, from the crusts, to the salad dressings, warming soups and some fabulous desserts.

Christmas Eve:  11am - 9pm

Christmas Day:  11am - 9pm

New Years Eve:  11am - 9pm

New Years Day:  11am - 9pm

mousesMouse's Chocolates - 520 Main Street Ouray (970) 325-7285      We are a small family of chocolatiers and coffee roasters living in a small town nestled in the San Juan Mountains in the southwest corner of Colorado. We use only the finest Belgian chocolate and make everything by hand.  

Christmas Eve:   9am - 6pm

Christmas Day:  CLOSED

New Years Eve:  9am - 10pm

New Years Day: 9am - 10pm

obriens2O’Brien’s Pub - 726 Main Street Ouray, CO 81427 (970) 325-4386 Offering homemade Irish-American cuisine and a full bar, including Guinness on tap. The menu includes Irish Eggrolls, Scottish Eggs, Guinness Stew, Fish & Chips and other Irish specialties.

Christmas Eve: CLOSED

Christmas Day: CLOSED

New Years Eve: 11am - close. Local Band Astral Knots will be playing from 9pm til one am

New Years Day: 11am - close

ouraybreweryOuray Brewery - 607 Main Street Ouray (970) 325-7388
This brewery features an interesting menu -- a combination of bar food and gluten and vegetarian options as well as a few specialties of the chef. They carry 3-5 different brews at any one time and serve tasting flights. 

Christmas Eve: 11am - 6pm

Christmas Day: 5pm - 9pm

New Years Eve: 11am - 9pm

New Years Day: 11am - 9pm

outlawThe Outlaw Restaurant - 520 Main Street Ouray (970) 325-4366 Known as 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.   

Christmas Eve: 5pm - close

Christmas Day:  5pm - close

New Years Eve:  5pm to close

New Years Day:  5pm to close

truegritlogoTrue Grit Cafe - 123 North Lena Street Ridgway 970-626-5739     Established in 1985, the "Grit" as it is known has been serving hungry tourists and locals for over 25 years.  We offer excellent and tasty 'Cowboy Cuisine' in a comfortable western environment with a friendly staff that will make you feel like you're part of the Grit Family.

Christmas Eve: 11am - 7pm

Christmas Day:  CLOSED

New Years Eve:  11am - 10pm

New Years Day: 11am - 10pm

fireworksnyeNew Year's Eve promises yet again to be explosively fun, with parties at the Ouray Elks Lodge, O'Brien's Pub, and all up and down Main Street, drink specials, and special dining options will keep you entertained all through the last night of the year, finishing off with a spectacular fireworks display at the stroke of midnight!

Don't miss the holidays in Ouray!

We would love to make your reservations and ensure a delightful stay in Ouray Colorado. Add Ouray CO to your holiday Wish List!


Give the Gift of the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!



Contact us to arrangeyour Winter Getaway in Ouray!

Holiday Traditions Live on In Southwest Colorado


Ouray Hotel Honors the Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas and where it came from.


Mistletoe2We have all heard of or experienced the sweetly entertaining tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe at Christmas time, but does anyone really know the origin of this charming tradition?

If we travel back in time to ancient Scandinavia we may discover how it all came to be. Mistletoe was long believed to be a symbol of peace and joy. There was an ancient custom that if; while out in the woods you happened to find yourself standing under a mistletoe plant, upon encountering an enemy, you both must lay down your weapons and observe a truce until the next day. This custom eventually led to hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it as a sign of friendship and goodwill.

tom daleyThe ancient Druids took mistletoe very seriously; they had a very elaborate ritual for gathering the mistletoe that sometimes could include human sacrifice. When harvesting the mistletoe the branches had to be caught before they touched the ground otherwise the plant would have lost its healing powers. The plant was then distributed amongst the people to be hung over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. They would also place a sprig in a babies cradle to protect the child from Goblins. The Druids considered it to have magical properties so it was worn as a good luck charm and also placed over doorways to ward off evil spirits. And so any who entered through the doorway received a kiss as a seal of friendship.

mistletoeOne of the oldest myths about mistletoe was in regards to Baldur a Norse God. The story goes that Baldur, the god of sunshine and light, was the son of Odin and Frigga, goddess of love.

mistletoe Baldur had a premonition of his own death; this greatly alarmed his mother for if he should die then all life on earth would end. In an attempt to prevent Baldur’s death, Frigga asked every element of nature to promise not to harm him. In her haste she forgot the lowly mistletoe, the evil God Loki knew of her mistake and so he made an arrow tip of mistletoe and gave it to the blind God of Winter, Hodar, who then accidentally shot and killed Baldur.  Instantly the sun ceased to shine the sky paled and all things on Earth and in the Heavens wept for the fallen Sun God. For three days each element and all of the Gods and Goddess tried to revive him, and he was finally restored to life.

mistletoekissIt is said that the tears of joy that Frigga shed then turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant, and in her joy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree on which it grew. It was then decreed that the mistletoe would never again cause harm and that anyone who walked under it should receive a kiss, a token of love.

The earliest document case of kissing under the mistletoe was back in the 16th century in England, it was a very popular custom at that time. The original custom in England was that the gentleman would pick a berry from the sprig of mistletoe before he could kiss the lady standing under it. Once all the berries had gone there could be no more kissing. In the 18th Century the exchanging of kisses between and man and woman was adopted as a promise to marry. At Christmas time a lady standing under a ball of mistletoe could not refuse to be kissed. It was believed that if the girl remained unkissed she could not expect to marry in the following year.

Christmas Tree (1)In the modern day although greenery is still widely used as a Christmas decoration, the practice of hanging mistletoe is rarely done. Even though almost everyone has heard of the custom of kissing under the mistletoe, it is a sweet and simple ancient tradition that many have forsaken. So this holiday season we here at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would wish upon everyone all the peace, joy and friendship that mistletoe was long believed to help bring.

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.


Contact us to arrangeyour Winter Getaway in Ouray!


Local Hotel invites you to share in an age old tradition in Ouray!


Santa Delivers in Southwest Colorado!

Santa In SleighThe Ouray Elks Lodge works all year, holding special events, BBQ's and meetings in order to raise money for the community. The funds these hardy volunteers raise are used to help pay medical expenses for some, scholarships to deserving students, and FUN! Perhaps one of the most touching events is when Santa comes to town. Elk members hold a special potluck dinner a week or so before Christmas, to help out Santa and his elves by stuffing dozens upon dozens of stockings. On Christmas Eve, several members of the club offer their services even further to St. Nick by becoming honorary elves for the evening, driving him to and fro, across Ouray County in whatever weather, to help him deliver gifts and good cheer.

winterfestcalendarParents who live in the Community, and families who are visiting, are invited to call these honorary elves with the names and locations of their kids, so Santa can be sure to give them extra special attention.


With the help of a dedicated staff of volunteers, Santa is able to make his rounds all through Ouray County, visiting children far and wide. Every Christmas Eve, the Ouray Elks Lodge brings smiles and gifts to the children of Ouray County, delivering a stocking filled with treats, and a special gift just for them.

santaIt is always such a pleasure to see the faces of children light up when they discover Santa at their door, especially when they are far from home!  During your visit over Christmas to the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs we invite you to take part in this Ouray Christmas tradition.  Please give us a call at 800-327-5080, or send us an email, letting us know the names, ages, and gender of the children staying with you over Christmas Eve.  We will contact the Ouray Elks Lodge with your information and arrange for Santa to drop by your room and hand out gifts and treats for the children.  You can even arrange to leave gifts here in the lobby that you would like Santa to deliver for you.

There are few better ways to celebrate the holiday than to spend Christmas Eve in Ouray! Enjoy a devine meal in one of our amazing restaurants on Main Street, then return for a soothing soak in our all natural mineral hot spring tubs before settling down with the little ones to enjoy a movie from our extensive video library while you wait for Santa to arrive with a jolly laugh and a memory your child will cherish forever.


Give the Gift of the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

Best Five Snowshoeing Areas Around Ouray, Colorado


Snowshoeing in the San Juan Mountains - An Adventure Not to be Missed!

snowshoeing2So often when one thinks on winter activities, the mind travels to downhill skiing, ice climbing and snow mobiling. Speed and adrenaline rule the day! Snow shoeing and cross country skiing are often overlooked by many a winter enthusiast.

Whether you have never tried snow shoeing, or are a seasoned hiker, nothing can compare to traveling across fields of untouched snow; a sense of oneness with the forest around you. Granted the sport is a work out, but the beauty is that you can set your own pace, taking time to breathe in the phenomenal sights and awe inspiring silences of winter in the San Juans.

snowshoeing3Possibly the best thing about snow shoeing is that you can go virtually anywhere (within reason) that you might hike to in the summer months. As with hiking the back country in the summer though, it is very important to never snow shoe alone, have the proper equipment, be aware of the weather conditions and plan accordingly. If you did not bring all of the gear necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, you can always rent or purchase needed supplies here in Ouray at Ouray Mountain Sports on Main Street.

Once you and your friends have all of your gear, it is time to pick a trail. Ouray County boasts a large number of spectacular trails, however, it is important to base your final decision on your level of experience, snow and weather conditions, and the length of time you would like to spend on your adventure. Always remember that when you travel into the back country, you are entering possible avalanche areas. Be sure to check the snow and weather status before heading out, and remember it is always safer to go earlier in the day before the sun has had a chance to soften the snow too much.

It is hard to list just a few trails to explore, however after trying a few and speaking to some real snow shoeing enthusiasts, here are the top five trails ranging in difficulty that are highly reccommended:

1.) Uncompahgre River Trail - Easy

snowshoeing4 iceparkApproximately two miles round trip, this easy, extremely level trail is located right in Ouray and travels along the river. You will be sure to encounter fellow hikers and cross country skiers (proper snow pack provided), as this trail is great for beginners or for a quick stretch for the more seasoned snowshoer. This trail can be accessed either at the Ouray City Park or off of Oak Street on the other side of the river.

2.) Ice Park Trail - Easy to Moderate

Still in town, but a bit more challenging, the Ice Park Trail  is accessed off of Campbird Mine Road and offers breathtaking views of the Uncompahgre Gorge. You may be able to get a true bird's eye view of ice climbers below as you traverse the canyon above. The climb is not too extreme, but steep enough in spots to take your breath away. Offering a little of everything, the Ice Park Trail is a great adventure right out your front door.

3.) Ironton Park - Easy to Moderate

snowshoeing5Ironton Park is located about nine miles north of Ouray off of Highway 550 or the Million Dollar Highway. Known more for its beautifully groomed cross country ski trails, this is also an amazing spot for snow shoeing as well. Just remember the best way to give yourself a bad name as a snow shoer is to trample or otherwise alter the groomed tracks on a ski trail. Offering a variety of trail options, the easiest being the Townsite Loop. About 2 miles long, this trail takes you to some of the old buildings of the town of Ironton, where you can explore this old ghost town and imagine the lives of those who once called this area home.

Accessed off of the Townsite Loop are the Saratoga and Brooklyn Bash trail heads.

A short ways on the main loop will bring you to the trail head for Saratoga and Iron Fen. Although the mine is no longer visible, this trail takes you through a flat valley with views of the surrounding forest before taking you into the woods in a path leading back to the beginning junction. Along the way, the trail head to the Brooklyn Bash takes adventurers through a grove of aspens as you climb to the mine through thick bushes and a small creek, which may vary in difficulty depending on snow depth. Once past the mine and creek, the trail takes you back down to the Saratoga intersection.

4.) Yankee Girl - Moderate

Accessed off of County Road 31, a couple of miles north of Ironton Park off of the Million Dollar Highway, parking is a bit off the road, and may need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trail head, but, believe me, its worth it! Climb up County Road 31 past the head structure of the once booming Yankee Girl Mine to the former site of Red Mountain Town, once home to over 1000 year round residents before looping back around for an easier descent. This 4 mile trail is a true adventure in history and scenic photo ops.

5.) Amphitheater Basin/Portland Mine - Moderate to Difficult

snowshoeingJust above Ouray to the south, the Amphitheater Basin offers some of the most talked about snow shoeing trails in the San Juans. At the entrance to the Amphitheater Campground, just before the bridge you will find the Portland Trail. Travel south up the road (it is steep) for about ten or fifteen minutes to the Portland Trailhead. Follow this trail past a serene meadow and unparalelled views of the Ampitheater until you eventually find yourself on a back jeep road leading to the Ouray Mine. this is an incredibly rewarding trail offering scenery well worth the climb.

ouray winterThis is just a small taste of the many opportunities to explore Ouray County in the winter. Literature abounds on snow shoeing and cross country ski trails, and please take advantage of the knowledge of the Ouray County Nordic Council, whose collective knowledge is responsible for the mapping and grooming of so many fantastic trails. The staff at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs are happy to connect you with the best possible guidance to ensure the safest and most pleasant adventure on your next snow shoeing expedition, and of course, what better way to finish off a day in the back country than to come home to the Box Canyon and enjoy a long soothing soak in our natural mineral hot spring tubs?

See you soon!

Give the Perfect Gift andGive Yourself a much Deserved Escape!

Ouray, Colorado Sledding: Vinegar Hill


sledding in ouray is wonderful free thing to doYears ago, at the birth of a flourishing hard rock mining community, the settlers of Ouray, CO retired for the winter with no idea of what a harsh mistress Mother Nature could be in the Uncompahgre River Valley.  Early snows cut the budding town off from travel, and food stores became more and more sparse. As Christmas approached, the town found itself in dire circumstances. Many would have given up, hoarded what they had, and given nary a thought to their neighbors.

The folk of this new town were a hardier, more generous group of individuals. Rather than giving up, each member of the community emptied their meager stores and created a feast. Perhaps not what we might consider to be a feast today, but when faced with starvation, this Christmas dinner was truly decadent: beans, a pound of bacon, and flour to make flatbread.

After having gorged to their hearts content, the men decided to continue the revelry with a grand Christmas sledding party. Of course, there was no wine or beer or any other spirits to warm them as they careened through deep snow on the steepest hill in town. Yet again, these industrious men were undaunted, and in lieu of alcoholic beverages, someone broke out a bottle of vinegar, pouring a healthy dose to each member of this sledding party to warm and invigorate them, and christening Vinegar Hill with its name and role to this very day.

The years have gone by, the town has changed, but several things remain the same. The Million Dollar Highway brings visitors to town year round, the scenic vistas around Ouray rank among the best in the state of Colorado, and in the winter, sledding on Vinegar Hill remains one of the best free things to do during the winter in Colorado.

The spirit of the people of this small mountain town maintains many similarities with the settlers of the past.  Winters cool breath does not frighten them and they love the active outdoor adventures, including sledding. In Ouray, there is still a sense of community, and love of this beautiful area, and wonderful Vinegar Hill.  Once the snow blossoms in this tiny Box canyon, bales of straw block the bottom of the hill. Children of all ages still careen down the snowy path, but hot cocoa in thermoses has replaced a glass of vinegar to warm cold fingers and toes.

This winter has been warmer than others but many sledding opportunities abound near Ouray and make great things to do over Spring Break.  Afterwards, enjoy a soak in our Ouray hot springs or enjoy the million gallon Ouray Hot Springs Pool!

Ice Climbers Anticipate a Great Year in Ouray!


Ouray Ice Park is an incredible display of engineering and community support.

ourayice2Ice climbing: an exhilarating, challenging, if not dangerous sport that brings thousands of enthusiasts to Ouray each year. The crunch of crampons on ice, the swing of ice picks, and the crisp winter air bring these men and woman into the most intimate contact with Mother Nature.

ourayiceparkmapThe Ouray Ice Park is supported through many businesses in Ouray, membership fees, and by donations. The canyon walls are transformed with the help of Colorado’s cold winters as well as the Ice Farmers who create the ice a gravity based irrigation system that is fueled by excess water from the city of Ouray. The water is sprayed through one hundred and fifty shower heads onto the canyon walls to create beautiful blue ice. This system requires constant attention during the late fall and winter months to avoid freezing and damage to the system. According to Ouray Ice Park’s website there is a mile stretch of about two hundred climbs that vary from just starting out to advanced expert climbs.

ourayiceFor years, the annual Ice Festival is held in Ouray, 2015 will be the twentieth year. It will be held from January eighth through the eleventh. The festival welcomes all; from spectators, young children learning to climb, intermediates, to seasoned veterans who compete for top speeds and cash prizes.

2015icefesticefestThere are two competitions in Ice Fest; one is a mixed climbing challenge, and the other is a speed test. During the festival San Juan Mountain Guides will be holding climbing clinics. They have half day, full day, and climbing and back country skiing clinics that range from introductory to advanced ice. Ice Fest has many local vendors on site to provide hot drinks and lunch for competitors and spectators to keep them warm and happy throughout. The Festival is also supported by many sponsors that have booths that offer ice gear as well as winter wear.

icepark30Those visiting and living in Ouray have the privilege to come in close contact with many of the top ice climbers throughout the US and the world.

Kids Wall2We have climbers that come from all over; once they get a taste, they keep returning year after year. The Festival continues to grow and attract more attention. If you do have the opportunity to watch these climbers in their element; take it all in. The intensity of the physical elements, the strength and agility of the climbers, and the incredible beauty that surrounds you. After a day of climbing or watching this unique sport, there is nothing better than soaking in our tubs while contemplating this incredible union between man or woman and nature.

iceclimberWith the purchase of an Ice Park membership, climbers receive discounts on gear, dining, and room rates. For $40.00, this annual membership not only helps to fund the ice park, but also pays for itself in a very short period of time.

This year, in honor of their 20th anniversary, The Ouray Ice Park is offering ALL ACCESS PASSES to the Festival. 

bcmsupportthankyouThe purchase of an ALL ACCESS PASS provides admission on a first-come, first seated (where applicable) basis to all Ouray Ice Festival Events:

  • Thursday Night: Kick-Off Party at the Wright Opera House
  • Friday Night: Dinner, Silent Auction & Fashion Show Followed by a Presentation by Kelly Cordes at the Ouray Community Center
  • Saturday Night: Live Auction and Keynote Presentation by Peter Metcalf and Will Gadd at the Wright Opera House
  • Saturday Night Petzl Party at the Ouray Community Center.

The purchase of an ALL ACCESS PASS also automatically preregisters you for your demo gear card to be used throughout the Festival. These passes are non-transferable and limited to the first 150 registrantsThe purchase of a pass does not guarantee admission.

Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs happens to be the closest hotel to the Ice Park. We are within walking distance of many climbs!

Let our knowledgeable staff help you to plan the ideal Winter escape! We can provide you with information on gear, as well as guides or teachers who will take you on the ice and make your first (or one-hundredth) excursion into the sport a perfect experience!

About the author: Jennie Withrow is a long term resident of Ouray County, and extremely knowledgeable in the area as well as the best places to shop! We are thrilled to have her with us at The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs! be sure to tell her "Hi" next time you visit!


Start Your Adventure on the Ice Today!


Winterfest in Ouray!


A Season of Wintery Fun is Upon us in Ouray County! 

 is a season of wintery holiday events from Thanksgiving to the Ice Fest in January. We kick off the season with Small Business Saturday November 29th. Start the day with a delicious breakfast at Cavallo’s Restaurant  and then shop till you drop in Ouray’s fantastic and one-of-a-kind shops. End the day on 7th Ave and Main at 7 pm with a Christmas tree lighting, caroling , hot drinks and s’mores. Don’t forget to sign up on Amex’s website to qualify for their $10 rebates for shopping local.

elkssantaYule Night is December 6th. Shops will be open late and offering refreshments and fun things to do as well as discounts all day. There will be a Parade of Lights at 6 pm ending at the Ouray Elks Lodge with Santa and Mrs. Clause. There will also be a Live Nativity and carolers in the Elk’s Park with fire barrels for keeping you toasty. At 7:30 the winners of the parade will be announced. The Ouray County Chorus will be performing a holiday concert at the Ouray County 4-H Center in Ridgway on December 7th. This is a wonderful event and free to the public!

winterfestcalendarDecember 12th -14th is a very full weekend. Come for the whole weekend and start with a 4 course Wine Dinner at Cavallo’s Restaurant paired with wines from Stoney Mesa Winery in Cedaredge Colorado. The dinner starts at 5 so then you can go from there to a radio drama performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Wright Opera House. However, if you want to stay longer at the dinner you can always see the show on Sunday instead. Tickets for the Wine Dinner are $50 and require reservations by December 6th. Attendees at the Wine Dinner will also have an opportunity to purchase tickets to the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival the next night for half price.

winechocolatecheese3On December 13th Weehawken Creative Arts is offering a Gingerbread House Workshop where families can purchase a house for $15 and decorate it at the Ouray Community Center from 10-noon. Space is limited for register now to reserve a house or 2 for your family. Then the evening of the 13th is the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival also at the Community Center from 6-9 pm. Tickets to this event are $20 and can be purchased on their website,  in locations around Colorado and at the door. After the festival if you are still wanting to party head over to Cavallo’s for a late night party from 9-11 pm with a Southern style Blues band a full bar and some great food. Then don’t forget “It’s a Wonderful life is playing again on the 14th at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

winterinourayShop Search and Soak December 20th. A fun scavenger hunt begins at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool at noon. Pick up your clues at the pool and then explore Ouray’s great shops looking for Christmas ornaments. Bring your completed for to Cavallo’s by 5pm and enter to win a 10 punch pass to the pool. Don’t forget to hang out at the pool for a party with Santa. The pool is open 11 am -9 pm.

santapawsIf you will be in Ouray for Christmas with kids call the Elk’s Lodge to schedule a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve. Whether you are at a home or a hotel Santa will come to you. Make reservations for a fabulous Christmas dinner at The Outlaw so you don’t have to cook or clean up!

George Winston is performing at The Wright Opera House on December 27th. Tickets are $25 in advance and going fast, so book your tickets today for this festive winter themed concert.

December 29-31 various organizations are hosting Snow Games around town.

December 29th the Ouray Ice Park is hosting an Ugly Sweater and Pull Up Contest at the Ice Park at 3 pm.

December 30th the Nordic Council is hosting a Cross Country Crawl at Ironton Park at noon.

December 31st …. Is hosting Broomball games at Ouray Rotary Park at 3 pm. All of these events are free and open to the public. Come out and have fun and experience winter in Ouray.

FIREWORKSBring in the new year in Ouray with a fantastic fireworks display at midnight booming above Ouray’s canyon walls. Celebrate with special dinners at the Beaumont Hotel, Cavallo’s, Bon Ton and the Outlaw. There are also parties on New Year’s Eve at O’Brien’s and the Ouray Elk’s Lodge. Then wake up to a delicious brunch at Cavallo’s and have dinner at the Outlaw.

ourayice2Before the big Ice Festival bring your kids to the Ice Park on January 3rd for a free Ice Climbing College for ages 7-17. The 20th Annual Ice Festival starts January 8 and is a 4 day festival of climbing competitions, parties, movies and much more. Check out their website for all the details and become an ice park member to support the park as well as getting discounts at hotels, restaurants and local businesses.

The season is bursting with exciting activities in Ouray, and what better way to end a day of festive fun than with a long soothing soak in the mineral hot spring tubs at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

Give us a call today and let us help you plan your winter getaway!

About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and brawn 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.

Shop and Save in Ouray!

Ouray, Colorado is the Perfect Holiday Shopping Experience!


Escape to a Winter Wonderland in Southwest Colorado this season!

winterinourayShopping for Christmas presents can be a daunting task; the crowded department stores, the lack of supplies, and finding parking. Not to mention the fact that many of the gifts you buy are not as unique or memorable as you would like. The pressures of Christmas and New Year’s tend to extend beyond just the gifts. Maybe you will be having family or friends staying with you and are expected to prepare elaborate meals. Or perhaps you have fundraisers or other holiday events to run. All these added responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Christmas Tree (1)A simpler way to find the gifts you need would be to come for a relaxing trip to Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and stroll through the uncrowded streets of Ouray. To take some time to rest before the festivities begin. This will allow you to handle those challenges with ease and actually enjoy the time with loved ones.  The shops of Ouray offer truly individual gifts that will be cherished for years. A one-of-a-kind present that truly matches what that someone special wants.

extoticearthlogoOur very own Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters has freshly prepared organic coffee that makes a wonderful gift that is also eco-friendly.

Wildflower Boutique has a large variety of beautifully made purses, clothing, jewelry, and much more to offer. Buckskin Books has a large selection of books to choose from including many that detail the history of Ouray. Rockin P Ranch can meet all your needs for the Cowboys on your list with clothing, furniture, and jewelry.

Khristopher’s Culinaire has just about everything you need for the avid cooks in your life. And there are many more shops that offer glass art, pottery, winter sports gear, precious rocks, gems, and so much more. And of course Mouse’s Chocolates for the chocolate lover’s; they can make your experience even easier by boxing up and shipping your chocolates for you.

mainstreetSaturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday which starts off from 9-11 AM with a community breakfast at Cavallo’s Restaurant followed by shopping in the wonderful shops of Ouray. Then at 7 PM the Ouray Christmas tree will be lit. If you have an American Express and register online on when you spend $10 you get $10 back up to three times when you shop at small business on the 29th.

mainstrretourayThe Ridgway Art and Gift Sale is Saturday December 7th from 10 AM to 4 PM. They will have local jewelry, paintings, pottery, photography, handmade textiles, ornaments, and much more at the Ridgway Community Center.

In support of our small businesses and Main Street, The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot SPrings is offering an additional 10% discount on your room for every $100.00 in receipts you bring in from our Main Street Shops!

After a day of shopping you can enjoy dinner at one of the lovely restaurants of Ouray and release all your stresses while soaking in our tubs.

About the author: Jennie Withrow is a long term resident of Ouray County, and extremely knowledgeable in the area as well as the best places to shop! We are thrilled to have her with us at The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs! be sure to tell her "Hi" next time you visit!

Shop and Save in Ouray!


All Posts
mountain flowers