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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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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

Whine & Whiskers Weekend in Ouray County

  
  
  

Since 1994, the Second Chance Humane Society has worked in Ouray, Montrose and San Miguel Counties to provide a safe refuge for lost and displaced pets.

secondchancelogoWith strong community support, they have grown from a small group of volunteers offering foster services, to a new facility able to provide shelter to a large number of pets as they wait to find their forever homes.

secondchanceIn October, 2011, the Second Chance opened a new Animal Resource Center at Angel Ridge Ranch, a 52 acre property located just outside of Ridgway. Here, they are able to provide care to more animals, as well as a broader scope of educational opportunities to the communities they serve.

It is that time again, Second Chance is presenting its 8th Annual Wine & Whiskers Weekend.

Community donations and interest are the bread and butter (or Kibbles & Bits) of the organization. Without the generosity of the areas it serves, Second Chance would not be able to consistently maintain its exceptional record of rescuing and caring for dogs and cats.

wineandwhiskersweekendAvailable auction items for bidding typically include golf, balloon, horse, sleigh, and bike adventure packages, a variety of wonderful art pieces, restaurant and get away packages, and hundreds more quality items and gift certificates from regional generous merchants, restaurants, artists, and service providers.

Thursday March 19th from 6:30 – 8:30 PM is the Opening Night Mixer geared toward those who are most interested in seeing the fashion & dance show. The performance combines fashion (straight from the Second Chance Thrift Shop), dance, and music for a high energy performance best described as “Attitude at Altitude”. Although there will be a small silent auction prior to the show on Thursday the focus will be on the roof-raising show.

secondchancethriftshopSaturday March 21st (5:30 – 11:30 PM) remains the Gala Event: the fun packed bursting at the seams evening includes the delectable catered fare, well stocked silent auction, lively live auction, the famous fashion & dance show, concluding with a dance party!

Offering decadent food with a Louisiana Flare prepared by Chef Sid of Cavallo's http://cavallosrestaurant.com/Restaurant, music and mountains of fun, this is an event to mark on your calendars!

Tickets will be limited for both evenings to assure that all have a seat this year - so get your tickets today!  They are $15 in advance for Thursday night ($20 at the door) and $40 in advance ($45/door) for Saturday night.  They are on sale now on their secure website or shortly at the Second Chance Thrift Shop in Ridgway.

Get an early start on Thursday, and enjoy an evening at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center; enjoy a fashion show unlike any other, as local models sport ensembles straight from the Second Chance Thrift Shop! 

On Friday, take the day to enjoy the splendor of the San Juan’s. Scenic Drives, frozen waterfalls and a plethora of outdoor activities abound between enjoying fabulous food and shopping on Ouray’s Main Street. 

Saturday have your dancing shoes on, and be prepared to bid on some awesome items!

Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help arrange your visit. Spend a relaxing three day weekend! Start your break with a soothing soak in one of our natural mineral hot spring tubs. Bask in the beauty of the southwest as the steam surrounds you in a picturesque setting.

 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.

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Experience a Night of Fun and Dancing in Ouray

  
  
  

OPAG and Wright Opera House Welcome Ceilidh Dancing to Ouray!

mckees2Have you ever been to a Ceilidh? A Ceilidh (keili) is a Scottish/Irish gathering for playing music storytelling and dancing. Similar to Contra, but more upbeat and happy. Ceilidhs are a fun multi-generational social gathering. Masters of their performance Ken Willson and Kim McKee delight audiences with their many talents. From elementary classrooms to concert halls around the world this dynamic duo is at home in any situation. They do anything from a 45 minute presentation to a 3-5 day residency for elementary, high school, college and adult audiences.
Willson and McKee also do house concerts and library concerts. They will be at The Wright Opera House here in Ouray on March 13th to help us celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
instrumentsI had the privilege to see them a couple years ago when they were in Ouray and it was such a wonderful experience. The music was phenomenal and they are both such wonderful storytellers and entertainers as well as blow your mind musicians. They connect so well with their audiences including and engaging them. To end the evening they taught several Ceilidh dances and the audience kept asking for more. I think it was well after 10 when we finally went home.
mckeesWillison and McKee’s versatility with instruments in simply amazing! Between the two they play Bagpipes, Celtic Harp, Accordion, Cittern, Bodhran, Dulcimer, Guitars and Bouzouki as well as their stunning voices. We are so excited to have this couple back in Ouray to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with us. Willson and McKee live in eastern Colorado, but they are well traveled worldwide. They travel to Scotland and Ireland frequently to play with fellow musicians and to add to their repertoire of songs, stories and dances. They do a combination of original work as well as traditional songs and have received honors and awards at events such as Walton’s of Dublin International Songwriting Competition and National Instrumental Championship. 
The concert is March 13th at The Wright Opera House from 7-9 pm. Tickets to this amazing performance are $15 for adults, $5 for students and $30 for families. We would like to thank the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild for bringing such wonderful performances to Ouray!
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.
Contact us to Arrange your Wright Opera House Adventure Today!

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!

 

 

Ouray Colorado: Best Little Town in the San Juan Mountains

  
  
  

ouray best place to visit in colorado

Ouray Colorado Provides Relaxation Around Every Corner

Ouray, Colorado is a tiny, picturesque Victorian village nestled into a valley surrounded by rugged alpine peaks rising from the very edges of the town. Situated in a river valley at 7,792 ft. in the heart of the Rocky Mountains lies the spectacular mountain town eloquently nicknamed the “Switzerland of America”.

Ouray officially began in 1876 with the eager stroke of the prospector’s pick. However, the future brought with it those simply inspired by its beauty. Because of Ouray’s majestic peaks, cascading waterfalls, natural hot springs, the famous Million Dollar Highway, Ouray Ice Park, and its reputation for being the Jeep Capital of the World, modern visitors flock to Ouray as much for its beauty as the miners of the past did for the riches they hoped to find.

ouray best little town in coloradoIn Ouray, Mother Nature is the star attraction, providing the WOW factor that affects nearly all visitors. Ample facilities, services and commercial district are vibrant because tourism, with a focus on recreation and nature, is the major industry.

The present year-round population of approximately 900 swells considerably in the summer months as thousands of travelers visit this unique valley. Ouray is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Whether you set out to conquer the mountains with rope and carabineer, on foot, bike, or four-wheel drive—there’s a route for everyone. Autumn is truly an outstanding time of year, with aspen stands and mixed coniferous forests exhibiting glorious displays of golden colors. The winter months are enchanting and Ouray runs on a slower pace. At night when the lights meet the formations of ice and snow they join in a shimmering dance of magical light.

Although Ouray is tiny (only eight blocks long and eight blocks wide), it is mighty and is the perfect retreat for rest and relaxation regardless of the season. In addition to the area's outdoor opportunities, Ouray has over 50 shops and galleries on its compact Main Street as well as 19 restaurants, 13 hotels and 13 Bed & Breakfasts. Ouray has a vibrant arts and cultural community that provides great entertainment to the area residents and visitors alike.

Ouray businesses are truly small businesses, family owned and operated and created by entrepreneurs that fancy a small town way of life. There are no chains or large corporate interests in Ouray; each independent business sustains a family and other town residents through employment.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

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!

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Weehawken Offers a Variety of Activities in Ouray County

  
  
  

Weehawken Creative Arts is a non-profit organization serving Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose and Silverton. 

weehawkenlogoWeehawken offers classes and programs for all ages that include: visual arts/fine arts, fiber arts, movement, music, photography, craftsman arts, creative writing, culinary arts, horticulture, miscellaneous topics tied to the creative process, and performing arts – including a full dance program.

bowlsWeehawken also provides the area with their “All Fired UP” Clay Center and the Ouray Children’s Garden, as well as some great annual festival and events such as; Ouray Fork Fest (May 8th and 9th 2015), the Amateur Sculptor Contest (2015 date tbd), the Ridgway Rendezvous Arts and Crafts Festival (31 years! Aug), the Sneffels Fiber Festival (Sept), the Souper Bowl Event (Jan 29th), a Ouray County Cookbook, and more!

alpenglowWeehawken is an active member in the Alpenglow Arts Alliance.   Alpenglow is an informal alliance of Ouray County based arts-focused organizations. As an alliance, our objective is to de-clutter the promotion of performing arts events in order that we may increase awareness of and participation in each, regardless of the sponsoring organization. Alpenglow acknowledges and celebrates the fact that we live in a small community. Our focus is to work more closely together such that the performing arts, and our community, cannot just exist, but can thrive.

weehawkendanceWeehawken Creative Arts is proudly supported by The Telluride Foundation and Colorado Creative Industries and by local business and personal sponsorships.

souperbowlComing up in February is a creative writing class with Beth Paulson for ages 16 and up. All you need to bring to this workshop is the ability to attend and observe what’s in your daily life and the willingness to let your imagination go and your ideas flow as you try your hand at writing in some new (old) forms. The class will begin by looking at and writing American Sentences invented by Allan Ginsberg in the 1950?s. Then move on to the recently rediscovered Persian ghazal as well as the now-popular villanelle. Last try our hand at understanding and crafting prose poems. Together you will read examples of poems by Ginsberg, Charles Baudelaire, Agha Shahid Ali, and Elizabeth Bishop, to name a few. Participants will receive handouts of all poems and other class materials. Each week in class you will explore your own creativity crafting poems, serious or light,. After the conclusion of the workshop, each person will receive one copy of an anthology of poems written by class members. The class is 4 Wednesdays starting February 4thfrom 12:30-2:30. The cost of the class is $75 and will be held at Weehawken Ridgway at the Old Schoolhouse.

artIn February and March Weehawken is offering several adult Aerial Dance workshops by Kate Orr. The classes are February 28th, March 1st and March 21st and 22nd.

Weehawken also offers adult Swing/Lindy Hop classes every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 at the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway. They also offer classes in karate, belly dancing, fencing, guitar and clay and pottery. The full dance program includes jazz, ballet, hip hop and tap. The dance program produces several amazing performances every year including alternating Polar Express and Nutcracker every December. IN the spring they perform such shows as Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of Oz as well as a Weehawken Company Dancers performance in the spring and fall. This last fall the Company Dancers performed Nightmare Before Christmas. They have also done a tribute to the Beatles, and Corpse Bride.

valentineartclassFor Valentine’s Day get ready to paint a saucy Valentine for that special someone. Kellie Day will take you through step-by-step instruction on creating your one-of-a-kind Valentine on a wood panel, with a mix of acrylic and collage. Discover her top secret formula for a great Valentine. First timers and men welcome! Eat chocolate and drink wine, then use the wrappers for a collage background. Use handmade letter stamps to add your dramatic message and get as cheeky as you dare. Kellie will provide saucy papers for collaging, including love poems, vintage clip art, virgin of guadalupes, heart art, metallic paint markers and handmade letter stamps for your messages! Just bring yourself and get loose for an evening of creativity and love. Class price is $40 and includes 1 glass of wine, additional wine available for purchase. You must be 21 or older for this class.

johnsoncountycoronersComing up on January 29th is Weehawken’s big Souper Bowl Party Fundraiser. Local restaurants donate many different soups and breadsticks and locals bake delicious desserts. The clay center has been working extra hard firing bowls for this event. For $18 you get a handmade bowl and all you can eat soup. The Johnson County Coroner, a 5 piece band out of Montrose will be providing participants with a fantastic mix of Bleues, Rock and Americana. There will also be a cash bar with beer and wine. Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast and Catering is providing a winter root veggie vegan soup.  Hoping to have a couple more soups for you as well.

For more information about any of the events listed here or about Weehawken or to become a sponsor please check out their website and Facebook page.

http://www.weehawkenarts.org/

https://www.facebook.com/weehawkenarts

https://www.facebook.com/weehawkendance?fref=ts

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.

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

 


 


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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Ouray - Ouray County Icehouses

  
  
  

In the late 19th and early 20th century, before the invention of the mechanical refrigerator, food was kept cool with blocks of ice, which was delivered in the summer months by wagon to the housewives of Ouray County. The Ouray Museum has a 12” x 12” x 2” cast iron horse tie used by a Ouray ice deliveryman. He would throw the horse tie on the ground and tie his horse to it while delivering ice. Often the home icebox would have a door on the outside of the house for the iceman to place a block of ice without entering the home. Ouray children would be sure and be home when the ice was delivered so that they might get a small piece of ice from the deliveryman.

In order to supply ice in the warm months, large icehouses were constructed and straw or sawdust was used to insulate the blocks so that they would be available all summer long. Sawdust was also placed between the blocks so they would not stick together.

 Piedmont Ice (1)Ice was harvested in January and February from Lake Lenore and from a pond near Piedmont, which was flooded with clear water from Coal Creek. The Lake Lenore ice was hauled to Ouray by wagons. A January 23, 1896 article in the Ouray Herald states “all of the teams were pressed into service hauling ice from Lake Lenore.  The ice is of fine quality this year.”

 

The attached photo shows ice cutting on the Haskin Ranch at Piedmont. When the ice was about 30 inches thick it was strong enough to bear the weight of the horses and people and thick enough for ice blocks. Each block weighed 300 to 400 pounds.  The ice from Piedmont was loaded onto a Denver and Rio Grande train for the trip to the icehouses in Ouray.

A number of Ouray businesses, often beer or coal distributors, sold 50 to 100 pound blocks of ice all summer long. C. W. Andrew had the exclusive contract for Lake Lenore ice. During the 1890s and early years of the 20th century W. R. Kramer was the manager of the Ouray Ice and Coal Company. S. E. DuPuy was the distributor of Zangs’s Beer and he also sold ice out of his icehouse near the railroad tracks along the Uncompahgre River. The river was the undoing of Mr. DuPuy’s business when on June 15, 1906 the river rose so high that it took out his ice house and sent it several blocks down river. N. P. Sorensen had an icehouse just southwest the Ouray Depot and just northwest of the depot was the Zadra and Zanella San Juan Bottling Works, which also sold ice. Charlie Zadra was the last businessman in Ouray to sell ice blocks.

Ridgway also had an ice business. The Ridgway Creamery, managed by George W. Braman from its opening in 1905 until 1912, began to sell ice during the summer of 1909. The Ouray Herald issue of November 27, 1908 states, “A new icehouse is being erected at the Ridgway Creamery.  The creamery company proposes to store ice for its own use and will be able to supply the ice trade in Ridgway during the summer months next season.” The January 9, 1909 issue of the Ouray Herald indicated that the icehouse was completed and being stocked with blocks of ice. On January 14, 1910 the Ouray Herald reported that over 90 tons of ice was put up at the Ridgway Creamery and on January 27, 1911 the Ouray Herald reported that the Ridgway Creamery was obtaining its ice from Piedmont.

About the Author:  Don Paulson is the curator at the Ouray County Historical Society and Ouray County Museum.  He is also a retired Professor of Chemistry where he specialized in organic chemistry.  Don is an active member of the Ridgway Railroad Museum, and an avid hiker, 4WD (jeep) enthusiast, and photographer in addition to his duties as curator for the museum.

 

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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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