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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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Spring Fever Hits the San Juan Mountains!

  
  
  

Warm Weather and April Showers Bring Promise of a Spectacular Season in Ouray County!

box canyon rainbowAs we move into April, saying goodbye to a mild winter, Mother nature teases us with the promise of warm weather activities. 

Part of us knows that we need some more moisture, hoping the overcast skies will fulfill a promise of snow or rain. At the same time, when the clouds break, and the sun shines down, bathing your face in much missed vitamin D, it is indeed difficult to be disappointed.

With temperatures reaching into the 60's at times, it is no surprise that our mind travels into the high country.

How are those trails looking? Is it time?

Well, no.

A quick drive this weekend told me what the websites had said, but I refused to believe. 


million dollar hwy winterYes, there is in fact still snow out there.  And it is slushy. Which means I couldn't get to my favorite springtime picnic spot yet. Sad day.

As much as Spring Fever has taken over, begging us to travel into the hills, this time of year it is very important to remember that nature can be treacherous.

Any time of year in the high country, the weather can be misleading. One minute, the sun is shining, but a few minutes or miles later, things have drastically changed. As the snow melts, it becomes less stable. The top layer is crunchy and hard, while underneath it is melting. It is very important when out hiking, jeeping, and exploring that you let someone know where you are. Not enough traffic is out yet to be able to depend on someone happening by if you get stuck in a snow drift.

silverjack owlcreek.2Now that's not to say that exploration cannot happen. Hiking trails are ready to be traversed at lower altitudes. Perhaps a quick stop in to Ouray Mountain Sports on Main Street is a good idea. Because they specialize in renting and selling a variety of outdoor equipment, they often have the most up to date information on the conditions of different trails and activities. You can also check their wall for people looking for someone to partner up with in the high country. What a great way to meet people and safely experience everything this area has to offer!

baby dearSpring in Ouray is a great time for wildlife viewing. Bighorn Sheep dot the hillsides, often right beside, or even in the highway. Foxes and deer roam the streets, oblivious to the humans in their midst as they go about their daily life.

Soon, the bear will be venturing out as well, in search of an easy meal. A little more shy than the deer, it is still quite common to catch a glimpse. Just remember our four legged neighbors are wild animals, not house pets.

seasonal waterfall in southwest coloradoAs the snow melts, suddenly waterfalls appear as if from no where. Seasonal falls surprise you at almost every turn. water cascading from the cliffs and mountains creating a pallette of color against the sunshine and canyon walls. the Box Canyon Falls become a sensory explosion - heard long before actually seen. Spring thaw creates a roar as the river swells with branches and minerals shed with the snow.

wildflowers.2Finally, there are the flowers. The first blooms of the year have some special something. Vibrant colors forcing their way into once white fields. The fresh green of new grass, and the leaves on the aspens as they begin to wake from a long winter nap.

April is a gateway month for us. We never know what to expect from one day to the next, which adds to the mystery and magnificence of Ouray. It is a perfect time to escape from the day to day, and slow down. Spend a morning exploring the Perimeter Trail, then a liesurely walk along Main Street, followed by a soothing soak in the mineral hot springs before walking to dinner at one of the wonderful restaurants on Main Street.

At the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, our goal is to make your time with us memorable. Let us help you find the perfect activities for your visit.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Earth Day is Every day at this Ouray Hotel!

  
  
  

It's Easy to be Green at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

box canyon lodge hotWith our all natural mineral hot spring tubs tiered on the hillside in the courtyard, The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is like an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city.

For the past several years, The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs has worked diligently to make the lodge what it is today, earning a four key rating from Green Key, a well know eco-rating program. With a passion for reducing a carbon foot print, we have made improvement upon improvement to the property, many of which we wouldn't even notice if we didn't know about them!

Three years ago, new windows were installed in every room to conserve both heat in the winter, and to keep the rooms cooler in the summer months. New doors were also installed for the same reasons.

Each of our rooms has a motion detector installed in the heating and cooling system. This senses when there are no guests in the room, and automatically adjusts the temperature to conserve energy.

Our new key card system implements recyclable key cards. These are not the magnetic key cards that de code if they get too close to your cel phone, but a sturdier type of key that can be reprogrammed again and again, while still providing a new level of security to our guests.

GreenBusinessSealofApprovalPMS370 updatedFINAL2010As often as possible, we stay away from strong cleaners that are known to be hurtful to the environment, while still maintaning an exemplary reputation for our clean rooms.

As strong supporters of community and supporting local businesses, as many products as possible are purchased locally. Even down to the new soap dispensers in the rooms, Colorado products are prevalent.

exteriorServing coffee freshly roasted in Ridgway both in the lobby and in the rooms, we focus on the marvelous talents of the area to compliment the hotel.

The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is proud to use geothermal heat exchangers.

tubsThe source of our hot springs is located above the tubs in a securely fenced off area as it comes out of the ground at about 140*. We pump the water straight from the earth and use that hot water to heat our tap water. We also use the heat from the mineral hot springs to warm all of the rooms on the property!

Often, even if the heat is turned off in your room, warmth will emanate from the panels; a side effect of the geothermal hot water heating system. It's actually not unusual to have to open a window when the geothermal is in full gear!

efh listing logoRecycling bins are in every room, and our housekeeping staff, as vigilant about being green as they are about a meticulously clean room, has been know to pull recyclable items from the trash and place in the appropriate containers.

greenkeylogo 000From energy efficient washers, to geothermal heat; recycling bins and local vendors, the Box Canyon Lodge continuously works to protect our environment. 

There are a variety of things our guests can do as well to help us on this mission, and we are always happy to hear your feedback and suggestions on ways we can further the cause.

earthday (1)April 22, Earth Day, we want to reward those guests who have gone the extra "mile". Every Earth Day, we offer a 50% discount on your stay if you come see us in your hybrid car. Just let the front desk agent know when you check in, and she will apply the discount for you!

box canyon lodge hot (1)Every day it is important to remember to take care of our planet, which is why we also offer a 15% discount for guests with a hybrid vehicle any other day of the year!

Come share our passion! Enjoy the natural serenity of our mineral hot spring tubs. Surround yourself in the majestic beauty of the San Juan Mountains as you relax away the day to day!

See You Soon!

Celebrate Earth Day With Us! Enjoy 50% off your Stay April 22, 2014!

Second Annual ForkFest In Ouray this May

  
  
  

A Culinary Delight in Ouray!

logoForkfest is presented by Weehawken Creative Arts and a lot of community volunteers. ForkFest is designed to promote local food producers, chefs and restaurants. Weehawken is committed to bringing great educational events to the Western Slope, so this year we are adding a great seminar on wine and cheese making as well as paring wine with food.

muffinsForkFest begins with a Restaurant Crawl on Friday May 8th from 5-9 pm. Tickets to the Restaurant Crawl are $25 and include 10 tickets to be used as you choose at participating restaurants in Ouray. Saturday morning begins with a wonderful Champagne Brunch at the Ouray Community Center from 9-11 am. The brunch includes crepe station, omelet stations as well as a mimosa bar and pastry and cereal bar. Tickets for the brunch are $20.

crepesAt 10 am also at the Community Center Chef Demonstrations begin. Each chef will demonstrate some food preparation using food from a local food producer. mimosasDemonstrations will be 30-45 min interspersed with a 15 min presentation from the food producer. The food producers will be set up in the Brunch room throughout the day for people to purchase produce as well as sign up for a CSA or order local meat. Chef demonstrations are free.

At 5 pm the wine and cheese seminar begins. We will have a Colorado cheese maker talking about how cheese is made and a Colorado wine maker talking about making wine. Then we will have someone talking about paring wine with food. The seminar will end with a time for tasting several Colorado wines and cheeses and experimenting what you just learned. Tickets for the seminar are $30.

omelet stationIf you purchase tickets individually the cost of the weekend will be $75, however, we are offering a weekend pass which will be $60 per person. Weekend pass holders will have preferred seating at the chef demonstrations as well as receive a souvenir ForkFest reusable cotton bag.

Stay Friday and Saturday and complete the weekend with a Weehawken Dance performance at The Wright Opera House on Sunday afternoon showcasing dances of the past.

Guests at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs will enjoy an additional 10% off of their stay when they purchase a weekend pass to ForkFest!

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, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. 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.

Book Today!Enjoy ForkFest and a 10% discounton Your Room!

St. Patricks Day in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

Celebrate the History of St. Patricks Day in Southwest Colorado!

ST PATRICKS DAY2 images and graphicsWith St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching we thought it might be fun to delve into some of the history and traditions associated with this most fun holiday.

While St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was not actually Irish. Patrick was the son of Calpurnius, a Roman-British army officer, and was born in either Scotland or Roman England. His real name was probably Maewyn Succat. Though Patricius was his Romanicized name, he later came to be familiar as Patrick.He was growing up as naturally as other kids in Britain, until when he was about 16 years old, when one day a band of pirates landed in south Wales and kidnapped this boy along with many others. Then they sold him into slavery in Ireland. He was there for 6 years, mostly imprisoned.


st patricks day graphics guiness beerEventually Patrick did escape and went back to Britain and then on to France, where he joined a monastery and studied under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre, for around 12 years. Once Patrick became a bishop himself he was said to have had a dream that the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to teach them about God. So with the blessing of the Pope he returned to Ireland and began converting the Gaelic Irish to Christianity.

 

Patrick was very successful at winning converts. Through active preaching, he made important converts even amongst the royal families. This fact upset the Celtic Druids who had Patrick arrested several times, though he escaped each time. For 20 years he traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries, schools and churches across the country which would aid him in his conversion. He developed a native clergy, fostered the growth of monasticism, established dioceses, and held church councils.

leprecaunSt. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17th, 461A.D. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since. There are many legends associated with St. Patrick. The symbol of the shamrock used for St. Patrick's Day comes from the story of St. Patrick using the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagan religion's sanctity of the number three and is the root of the green color theme.

St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was largely to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists had been separated from.

In New York, the first celebration took place as a small gathering at the home of an Irish protestant. St. Patrick's Day parades started in New York in 1762 by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade, as they often feature marching military units. The holiday eventually evolved from the modest religious dinner into the raucous holiday we know today. Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but the events will vary based on the city.

stpattyhatHere in Ouray we have several locations for you to enjoy the holiday; if you are so inclined to start your holiday with a St. Patrick’s Day Mass check with St. Daniel’s Catholic Church, or you can start at O’Brien’s Pub with a traditional meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage and a freshly built Guinness to wet your whistle. On a typical day, Americans drink about 600,000 pints of the Dublin-based beer. But on St. Patrick's Day, about 3 million pints of Guinness are downed, according to Guinness.

If you keep a close eye out you might just find the elusive Shot Fairy running around town with a bottle of Jameson Whiskey. If you can’t find her around town make sure to duck into the Silver Eagle Saloon and have a shot or two and maybe shoot a game of pool on the only pool table in town. Just don’t forget to wear your green or you may just get pinched!

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. Morgan is also the newest member of our front desk team at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs.

Come in and say hello! 

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Local Hotel Invites You to Relax and Play in Ouray!

  
  
  

All the Comforts of Home and More at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!

box canyon lodge hot (2)Recently, while picking up some supplies for the hotel, the cashier realized where I was from, and began gushing about the Box Canyon Lodge.

"My sister and I just came back from a weekend stay with you," she began, "And we spent hours in the tubs discussing how the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs would be the perfect spot to wait out a Zombie Apocalypse."

Well. This is why I love my job.

box canyon lodge hotShe continued, describing our natural hot springs, and the natural cold springs in Ouray, our location, tucked into the mountainside as we are, is easily defended. Because we heat our water and rooms with geothermal energy, and have made so many green upgrades, the property would be more sustainable than many other places, and so on. Not to mention the spectacular beauty of Ouray. Who wouldn't want to wait out an apocalypse here?

Being an avid Walking Dead fan myself, she got my creative juices flowing with this chat. We held up the line for a few minutes discussing the validity of her and her sisters analysis of the property and the city of Ouray.

It also got me to thinking that quite a few of us are inextricably tied to the fantasy worlds created by a good T.V. show. We watch. We comment. We take lines from our favorite movies and shows, and find a common thread. Some of us are obsessed with sports. The possibility of missing that play off, or epic game is daunting. Nerves become frayed at the possibility of missing the winning goal.

Hot Spring Tubs in WinterThe Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs just upgraded our cable package for our guests. We now offer a couple of movie channels and several sport stations, as well as AMC, making a Sunday night visit possible for guests not wanting to miss the newest episode of their favorite show or sporting event. Now, after a day of outdoor adventures and an evening of soaking and dining in town, you can snuggle in your bed, and not worry whether you set your DVR at home.

For ages, I have been of the mind that having television is relatively unimportant, especially while on vacation. Who wants to sit in front of a box of moving pictures when there is so much to see and do right outside their door?

exterior tubsWe write blogs, and post on Social Networks, letting our guests know everything we can that will make their visit memorable. Recently, I came to the realization that in addition to the plethora of adventures to be had throughout the day and early evening, relaxing at night in comfort, with a favorite show playing in the background does in fact make the unfamiliar familiar.

As we have entered into the age of electronics, it is no secret that almost everyone has at least one or two devices that are linked in to the Web. The Box Canyon Lodge has provided complimentary wifi to our guests for years, however, located as we are in a wonderfully defensible box canyon, there are indeed times when the wifi has been a little frustrating. The signal may fade, or too many people log in at once, kicking someone off. Recognizing that our smart phones and tablets are also our primary method of communication these days, we have taken steps to upgrade and improve our connectivity. Every room has been equipped with additional power strips, so that no one has to crawl behind the bureau to plug in their laptop.

dblq3At the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, our guests are our number one priority. We take pride in clean, comfortable rooms. Our rustic decor is a testament to simple pleasures, outdoor adventures and relaxing soaks in the mineral hot springs. At the same time, we do recognize and accomodate the need for modern technology, and strive to combine the two in a comfortable blend.

All of us enjoy learning from our guests. We love to hear what you think about the property. What you would like to see happen here, or stay the same, and of course, whether you would like to stay with us in the event of a zombie apocolypse!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Romantic Destination Weddings in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

Ouray, a perfect place for a wedding any time of year!

elksSurrounded by spectacular mountains there is no bad location. The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is happy to accommodate your wedding party and guests up to about 60 people and only blocks from the hotel are several fantastic locations for ceremony and reception.

secretgardenwinterFor a beautiful outdoor venue, the Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast and Catering has a beautiful yard and patio. Secret Garden does weddings year 
round. If you want to be a Snow Queen for your special day, winter is a pretty dramatic season for a wedding. Bring out the fire pits and the white furs and you have a perfect setting for a wedding.
secretgardenSecret Garden is not just a perfect venue year round, but they also cater at their location as well as pretty much any other facility in Ouray County and beyond. 

stjohns2For indoor weddings, one of the most elegant locations for a ceremony is St John’s Episcopal Church on 5th Ave in Ouray.

courthouseBeautiful old rock walls with wonderful stained glass windows. A blend 
of Victorian and rustic mountains combine to make this location a beautiful venue for a wedding.
The Wright Opera House is a great space for a wedding ceremony and or reception or rent it for a party. The Wright does not have a kitchen facility, so all food has to be brought in.
Ouray Elk’s Lodge is a nice facility for ceremony and reception with a lovely room with wood floors and dark wood wainscoting and high ceilings. The Elk’s is right on Main Street only 3 blocks from Box Canyon Lodge.
communitycenterThe Ouray Community Center is not a beautiful facility, on the outside, but can accommodate large parties with a great kitchen and an elevator. With a lot of work the Community Center can have a pretty nice ambiance with lights strung from the ceiling and no florescent lights.
chocolateflowersFor flowers, Willow Creek Floral does an amazing job! Willow Creek also does lighting and decorations; they are a complete event headquarters. Many of the restaurants in town cater, but as far as I know Secret Garden is the only one in town that does wedding cakes. And their cakes are ever so delicious.

ouraywinterFor music, the possibilities are 
endless! I don’t really know much about local DJ’s, but I sure know a lot about live music. There is a local band for any music style you desire from classical to swing to blues, jazz, reggae, funk, acoustic, whatever your heart desires there is a band within a n hour from Ouray to meet your needs. Brass bands, rock, you name it, we have it. For favors, considering giving each of your guests a  1.5 or 3 oz bag of locally roasted coffee from Exotic Earth Coffee Roasters with your own custom label.
For your wedding night stay in our Honeymoon Suite and have us set it up with flowers, champagne, and chocolates.

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, and current president of the Weehaken Creative Arts Board. 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.

 

Begin Your Romantic Getaway Right Now!

 

 

History of Ouray - Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs

  
  
  

Ouray Hotel has long provided a soothing relaxing atmosphere!

boxcanyonlodgehistoryLong before the area was discovered by two miners in search of gold, the tiny canyon now known as Ouray served as a sacred spot for the Ute Indians. Some people speculate that perhaps the name "Uncompahgre", or dirty water, was given to the area to protect the secret of the hot springs.

Once gold had been discovered though, the soothing waters of the natural springs were an added perk to living in the area, offering a soothing respite from days deep in the earth searching for treasure.

In 1877, a newspaper article mentioned the vast number of bath houses in Ouray and their popularity. While several places took advantage of the warm waters for recreational purposes, it was not until the early 1900's when a facility was opened which brought to light the healing properties of the hot springs.

Rich in a variety of minerals, particularly helpful in soothing rheumatism and skin problems, the first sanitarium was developed.

cogar sanitariumRichard and Bessie Cogar purchased the land which now houses the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, as well as its neighboring hotel in 1913, with the intention of building the first sanitarium in Ouray. 

In the early 1900's, the term "Radio Active" had an entirely different connotation than the post World War Two use of the word, as did the term "Sanitarium".

sweetskinThe Cogar's Sanitarium and "Radio-Active Baths" were incredibly successful, and men and women came fraom all over to take advantage of the treatments provided at the facility.

In 1927, after the death of her husband, Bessie had remarried and left Ouray, selling the sanitarium to Mr. C.W. Kent, of Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Kent maintained and invested in the sanitarium, which he re-named "The Sweet Skin Sanitarium", until 1946. During his residence and ownership of the hot springs, he added five cabins to the property to accommodate the growing tourism and declining mining industry.

boxcanyonmotelIn 1945, Mr. Kent sold the land to the Idarado Mining Company, who re-named it the "Crystal Court Bathhouses", and rented cabins to local miners.

Sometime around 1953, the original 35 acres were parceled out, and on July 9, 1959, The Ouray County Herald announced the opening of the Box Canyon Motel. Long term residents, Tommy and Della May (or Sally) Fellin had built a two story hotel with ten complete units. This building is the first of three expansions over the year, and is on the Southwest side of the property. When John Ray and Mary Joyce Scoggins purchased the property in 1964, there were fourteen completed units available for rent.

During the five years they owned the hotel, the Scoggins added another eight rooms to the property, and moved the front desk to the front of the hotel, facing the street.

Joseph and Viola Muse purchased the Box Canyon Motel in 1969, selling it again in 1972 to Kurt and Margaret Kircher. When the Kirchers sold the property to Thomas and Nancy Borman in 1975, there were twenty two rooms. During their time at the Box Canyon, the Bormans added eight more units, and built the four mineral hot spring tubs which still provide hours of relaxation and pleasure to our guests.

boxcanyonlodge1993When John and Barbara Uhles purchased the hotel in 1986, they immediately set about making the property their own, renaming the Property "Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs", and completely refurbished the original 14 rooms. They purchased the parcel of land between the Box Canyon and its neighboring hotel, the Chief Ouray Gun Club, and added eight rooms, including the two large suites, each with a fireplace, and the Honeymoon Suite. 

In May, 2007, Rich and Karen Avery purchased the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. With 39 beautifully maintained rooms, including five suites and a fully furnished two bedroom apartment, it was easy to fall in love with. The four mineral hot spring tubs still stand on the hillside. The tubs themselves have been replaced once or twice, still as cedar tubs though in order to best compliment the majesty of the views.

box canyon lodge hot (1)Every year, the Averys follow the tradition of upgrading and maintaining the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. The Averys expanded increased use of the hot springs by converting the entire property to geothermal, using the natuaral heat to warm the guest rooms and tap water. Every time a guest returns, whether it is weeks, days or even years later, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs provides the perfect escape. The love and passion put into the property from the very beginning shines through in every portion of the grounds and rooms.

Come see us soon!

Book Now

Four Reasons to put Ouray, Colorado on Your Bucket List

  
  
  

From soaking in the sulfer free hot springs to adrenaline pumping adventures, Ouray invites you to share the magic!


ouraywinterThe area surrounding Ouray is a haven for the adventurer. The mountains seem to call out, begging to be explored. Every season holds a lifetime of experiences, the biggest question is where to begin?

Faith Parry and I decided to put our heads together, and came up with just a few adventures that everyone should try at least once:

The town itself is worthy of any Bucket List. When approached from the South on Highway 550 (the Million Dollar Highway), the initial view of this tiny mountain town is amazing. Walking along Main Street, it is impossible not to pause occasionally just to gaze at the splendor on every side. To one side of the canyon, Cascade Falls dominated the view, while a short walk in the other direction takes you to the base of Box Canyon Falls as it booms through the canyon walls.

 

ourayice1.) Ice Climbing 

The idea of climbing a frozen waterfall is an interesting one to say the least. Home to the largest farmed ice park in the country, Ouray boasts a group of volunteers whose passion for climbing is surpassed only by their desire to share the experience. For two decades, our ice farmers have sculpted the ice in the Uncompahgre Gorge into a playground for the sound of heart.

The silence in the park is punctuated by the sound of axes striking ice, and softly spoken warnings to those still below, as athletes ascend to the top of the canyon. The drama of the climb verges on surreal, as if you have transformed into a world in which there is only you, and the ice. Rainbows of light are captured in frozen water, begging a moment of speculation as your body is tested to its limits. Reaching the top of the climb, an impression of fulfillment pervades every fiber, and the mind explodes with ideas for the next challenge.

Climbers almost dance past the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs in the early morning, eager to explore the limits of the ice and themselves. as the day warms and the ice becomes less stable, these same climbers tiredly make their way to the all natural mineral hot springs, exchanging stories of the climb as tired muscles relax in the healing waters.

blackbear42.) Drive the Four Wheel Drive Trails

Ouray is one of the jeeping capitals in the world. We have some of the greatest off road terrain the go over spectacular mountain passes and to old mining towns and beautiful high alpine basins.

The most extreme off road route is Black Bear Pass. The pass is one way from Ouray to Telluride and traverses mountain tundra and lush valleys with waterfalls and wildflowers. The pass summits at 12,840 feet above sea level.

Another awesome pass from Ouray is Engineer Pass which is part of the Alpine Loop and connects to many other wonderful passes such as Corkscrew and Cinnamon Passes.

Animas Forks is a wonderful ghost town on Engineer Pass near Silverton. If renting a jeep you will not be able to do Black Bear or Poughkeepsie Gulch. If you want to do any of these passes please be sure you have the right vehicle and equipment. Because of the narrow roads and tight turns a short wheel base and high clearance is a necessity as well as a low range gear.

guestsatthetubs3.) Sulfur Free Hot Springs

O.K., I know we talk about them all the time, but Ouray has some amazing hot springs.

Southwest Colorado boasts many towns and spas with natural mineral hot springs, but Ouray has the added good fortune to possess hot springs with very low sulfur content; soakers can enjoy the soothing heat of water full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, without the distinctive odor of sulfur. Common to almost every mineral hot spring is a high content of sodium, which may explain the lightness so many bathers comment on when enjoying this natural wonder.

Bubbling to the surface at temperatures from 140 to 180 degrees, Ouray does have to cool its water to make it safe for bathing. Once part of the first Sanitarium in Ouray, The Box Canyon Lodge provides four redwood tubs tiered on the hillside in our courtyard for guests to enjoy the peace and beauty of the San Juans while soaking in a more private, natural setting. The temperature of our mineral hot spring water is maintained between 101 to 108 degrees varying by a couple of degrees from tub to tub.

The source of the hot water at the Box Canyon Lodge can be seen steaming above the tubs, and as with anywhere the water flows so close to the surface, the area surrounding the spring houses a variety of wildlife taking advantage of the warmer ground, and ever present foliage.

hiking4.) Hike a Fourteener

Anywhere you look in the town of Ouray are peaks and trails beckoning to be traversed. Deep into the canyon and high above timberline, access to miles and miles of back country heaven are literally on your doorstep.

Is climbing a 14er on your bucket list? If so, come to Ouray this summer for some great mountain climbing. Ouray is surrounded by spectacular towering peaks. Our most popular is Mt Sneffels which is 14,150 feet high. Access the trail head by driving up the famous Camp Bird Rd to Yankee Boy Basin. The climb to the peak is a giant rock field and there is usually snow in spots year round. The view from the top is spectacular! Below you to the north are Blue Lakes, which is also an amazing hike.

When climbing 14ers be prepared for any weather and take plenty of food and water. Some people like to start very early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms, but I have done it in the afternoon on a spectacular Colorado blue sky day.

If you just want a serious challenge for a hike and don’t care that it is a 14er there are several 13ers that are more difficult climbs. My absolute favorite is Mount Emma, which is around 13,500. It is a 5,000 vertical foot climb as opposed to Sneffels which is only about a 2,000 foot climb. Uncompahgre Peak is another good 14er nearby.   

Regardless of the season, be sure to bring your camera! Standing at the summit of Imogene Pass, or in the middle of Main Street, there is a never ending array of sights to behold. Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help design a getaway that will last forever in your heart, an adventure in every memory.

 

 

Contact Us to Arrange Your Outdoor Adventure in Ouray!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!
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