Ouray Hotel Honors the Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas and where it came from.
We 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.
The 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.
One 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.
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.
It 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.
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.
Santa Delivers in Southwest Colorado!
The 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.
Parents 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.
It 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.
Ouray Ice Park is an incredible display of engineering and community support.
Ice 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.
The 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.
For 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.
There 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.
Those 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.
We 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.
With 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.
The 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 registrants. The 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!
A Season of Wintery Fun is Upon us in Ouray County!
Winterfest 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.
Yule 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!
December 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.
On 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.
Shop 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.
If 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.
Bring 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.
Before 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.
Escape to a Winter Wonderland in Southwest Colorado this season!
Shopping 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.
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.
Our 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.
Saturday 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 https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/ when you spend $10 you get $10 back up to three times when you shop at small business on the 29th.
The 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!
Celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones in Ouray!
It is difficult to believe that we are already so close to the Holidays! With just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, it is time to begin planning if you have not already!
Black Friday will be a crazy time, as everyone rushes to get the best possible deals. At times like this, it seems much more peaceful to relax in a soothing mineral hot spring after enjoying a decadent feast at one of the amazing restaurants serving dinner in this tiny mountain town.
Shops on Main Street will be open on Friday, offering a variety of gift ideas, original and suited to everyone on your list. There is truly something more special to receiving a present that was created as if with you and you alone in mind.
Thanksgiving in Ouray offers a variety of dining options. What better way to enjoy the holiday? Enjoy a decadent meal with friends and family in the atmosphere of your choice before heading back to the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs for a soothing soak followed by relaxing to one of our complimentary movies in your room while enjoying left overs.
The best part: NO DISHES!
The following restaurants will be serving thanksgiving Dinner in Ouray
Beaumont Hotel Grand Ballroom
The Beaumont Grill is located in the old Melodrama Theatre of the hotel and has a historical mining theme. It offers freshly made, wholesome American-Style Cuisine including steaks, seafood, sandwiches, salads, nightly fresh fish specials, vegetarian choices, gluten-free options with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. You can choose from one of the Western Slope’s largest wine selections.
Kings, Presidents and many of the rich and famous have dined in the Grand Ballroom in the last 127 years. It features magnificent 21-foot ceilings met by hand-painted plaster walls that emanate old-world charm and elegance. The Lounge exudes a sense of glamour, privacy and upscale exclusivity. Reserve the Historic Grand Ballroom or Luella’s Lounge for special events in an elegant atmosphere.
Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet- Seatings- noon, 2:30 & 5pm
Adults- 34.95 Kids 17.99 (12 & Under)
Reservations required and secured with credit card
The Bon Ton is a romantic Colorado restaurant where you can experience upscale casual dining with an Italian flair, serving prime Angus steaks, fresh seafood and pasta, complemented by a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, and Martini bar.
Located downstairs in the St. Elmo Hotel in Ouray, CO; the restaurant is warmly decorated with rock walls, hardwood floors and a beautiful bar. The Bon Ton has been one of western Colorado’s favorites for more than 20 years.
On Thanksgiving, The Bon Ton is open from 3:00pm -7:00pm, Serving off menu options, ranging from a Traditional Turkey dinner, Prime Rib, Salmon and several other menu items.
Prices vary, and reservations are recommended
The Bonatti's immigrated to Ouray in the early 1920's buying the Outlaw Building. Their granddaughter Chris sold in April 2009 to the Choates. It has been a restaurant since the 1940's and The Outlaw since late 1968. We welcome you to it's western charm & friendly atmosphere, adorned with old family photos, the Duke's Hat & other memorabilia. Come in where past and present merge.
Today the Outlaw Restaurant is still available to the citizens and visitors of Ouray; and the Outlaw Restaurant still has the same sign hung in 1969. Those who return come back with happy memories of the past, while newcomers take away experiences they will fondly remember.
On Thanksgiving, the Outlaw will be open from 4:00pm - 8:00pm, serving a Traditional Turkey Dinner as well as a few specialty some menu items.
Prices vary, and reservations are recommended.
Of course, Even if you have dinner reservations, a little breakfast or lunch is definitely a must, and The Backsteet Bistro will be open from 7:00am - 1:00pm, providing breakfast and lunch options for everyone.
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you design the perfect holiday getaway. We will make your dinner reservations for you, and be waiting with a worm welcoming smile when you and yours arrive in the beautiful winter wonderland of Ouray!
The Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival in Ouray is an event not to miss.
The holiday season is once again approaching. We celebrated Fall and Halloween in Ouray fashion, with revelry and dancing in ghoulish costumes all over town. Despite the sunshine, we prepare for a quiet November as the Indian Summer continues. The Box Canyon Lodge finally had to take down the flowers, which were still colorful, but beginning to show the inevitable signs of steadily colder days and nights.
Restaurants and shops on Main Street have started their winter hours, still providing plenty of hours to peruse the unique and interesting merchandise one cannot find in a large department store.
As we enter into this quieter time, we begin to focus on the next few months of earlier evenings, warm fires, soaking in hot springs and preparing for the holidays.
This December marks the sixth year of the Annual Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival, tied in with all of the celebrations of a Holiday Weekend in Ouray. Wine, chocolate, cheese, distilled liquor, arts and crafts and live music, a great combination for a fantastic evening! A great excuse to dress up or pull out the stops for a costume along the lines of “Winter Wonderland”.
Festival goers will get to try samples of Colorado wine, chocolate, cheese and some delicious creation from Trail Town Still. This is also a great opportunity to get unforgettable Christmas gifts. All the vendors will have their product for sale, so not only do you get to sample but you also get to purchase and support Colorado business.
Swing City Express will be keeping the festive atmosphere with fantastic music from a live 9 piece band. Bring your dancing shoes and have some fun.
The festival is at the Ouray Community Center on December 13th decorated according to the theme and you would never recognize it as a community Center. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on line or check our website for a location near you. Stay at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and get tickets to the festival for half price.
Come for the weekend and we have a great package for you! December 12th Cavallos Restaurant will be preparing a 4 course Wine Dinner from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The dinner includes wines from Stoney Mesa Winery with each course and samplings of what you will experience the next night at the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival. December 13th is the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival! The Wright Opera House in Ouray will be showing “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a Radio Drama on December 14th at 3:00 pm, performed by locals. The entire weekend of activities is $140 for 2 plus your room rate. Follow Winterfest on Facebook for all the happenings in Ouray this winter.
About the Author: Ever the wine enthusiast and farm to table promoter, Faith Parry is the brains and braun of the Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese festival. She tirelessly explores hidden gems, and shares with us experiences and adventures that otherwise we wouldn't know were so fabulous! Southwest Colorado is a treasure trove of talented people all eager to share their passion for a variety of creativity from wine and cheese, to the Ridgway MoonWalk.
Warm Weather continues into Daylight Savings in the San Juan Mountains!
October in Ouray was amazing. Every day, we watched with bated breath for the snow to fall, covering the earth with a blanket of white for Trick or Treaters to trudge through on a quest for the best candy in town.
Typically, the children wear thick coats and snow shoes over costumes, requiring folks to look closely to discern what typr of monster stands before them. Halloween parties are much the same, with coats draped over every chair as ghouls and goblins dance the night away.
Not so last night, or very much at all this year. We are walking into the 11th hour with the sun shining, and yet another forecast for snow. Of course, at almost 8000 feet, it is difficult to guage when mother nature will decide to send winter our way. We celebrate whatever the weather wants to provide, knowing full well that even the worst winter storm will only last a day or so, then we will be blessed with a magnificent winter wonderland.
Ice climbers have not started to get nervous, nor have skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts. Everyone knows winter will be here soon enough, and are taking advantage of the seemingly unseasonable weather. Ice farmers have had an easy job so far of prepping the site and checking the water systems. They are expecting to have the park open no later than mid-December.
Skiers need not worry. Just a short drive away, the resorts are still forcasting a Thanksgiving opening, and there are no concerns that the weather will not cooperate.
Of course, we are all prepared for cozy nights in town as well. Many local restaurants will remain open this winter, offering a variety of great dining options, while shops an of course, the hot springs anticipate a great season.
Here at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, we are excited for the months events at the Wright Opera House. From Wednesday night movies to plays and live music, the next couple of months look promising for evening entertainment.
Not to mention the hot springs! With hardly any sulphur in our water, the mineral springs in Ouray and particularly at the hotel are an experience not to be missed. Winter soaking is almost surreal, as the steam surrounds you, melting giant snowflakes before they land. The views from the tubs are second to none. Surrounded by mountains, with deer grazing in the warmth of the springs, it is no surprise the Utes considered this area sacred ground.
Until the snow arrives, visitors can enjoy strolling Main Street in light jackets, wandering from shop to shop. Soon, the snow will come, creating a sense of wonder on Main Street, the lights of the shop windows reflecting on the snow. Warm cocoa and a delicious meal are a temptation not easily ignored.
Life is good in Ouray, we look forward to seeing you!
Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray County is a Natural Treasure.
Once central to a booming mining industry, Ouray County now relies mainly on tourism, recreation, ranching, construction and still some mining. Its two towns, Ouray and Ridgway, remain true to the best of the Western Colorado tradition - a relaxed, meaningful quality of life that many only dream about.
Ouray County is noted for some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Often refferred to as "Switzerland of America" and the "Gem of the Rockies", Ouray County offers amateur and proffessional photographers the magnificence of the San juan Mountains, waterfalls and sparkling riversd, alpine wildflowers and endlessly changing seasonal colors.
In addition, Ouray County offers a number of delightful visitor attractions:
Railroad buffs will enjoy a walk or ride along the old Denver and Rio Grande train bed, which runs paralell to the Uncompahgre River north of Ouray. Avid rock hounds can easily find specimens of pyrite, crystal and even silver and gold for those willing to try their hand at panning. the Bachelor Syracuse mine offers panning lessons and offers the equipment needed at their gift shop.
2.) Bird Watching
Bird watchers will delight in the unique varieties of birds in Ouray County. Species ranging from tiny hummingbirds to golden and bald eagles may be viewed from the town or in the mountains and meadows of the surrounding area. The Box Canyon Waterfall Park is one of just a few known nesting sites for the rare Black Swift, and the entire area has been listed by the National Audobon Society as a rare bird sanctuary.
Hikers and backpackers will find terrain and trails in the county perfect for beginners and experienced hikers alike. From an easy stroll to the base of Cascade Falls, or Portland Trail, a good first time intro to area hiking, to the challenge of the Horsethief-Bear Creek Loop Trail, Ouray County has something for all interests and abilities.
Often refferred to as the "Jeeping Capitol of the World", four-wheeling is an unqualified means of experiencing the magnificence of Ouray County. Bring along a four-wheel drive vehicle or trail bike, rent a jeep locally or enjoy the convenience of a jeep tour, with knowledgeable, experienced drivers. With access to over 500 miles of trails to explore, a four wheel drive adventure is an item easily marked off of your bucket list!
5.) Rock Climbing and Ice Climbing
Mountain climbing in the summer, and ice climbing in the winter are popular activities in Ouray County. Some of the most popular "fourteeners" are located in the area as well as other challenging peaks to conquer. Canyoneering is a sport quickly gaining popularity in Ouray County as well, combining hiking, climbing and rpelling through spectacular waterfalls. Adventure is easy to find here in Ouray County!
6.) Wildlife Viewing
Ouray County Sparkles during its long season of winter sunshine and moderate temperaturres. Ouray winters offer a quiet serene contrast to Colorado's more bustling ski areas. Deer, Elk and bighorn sheep are often seen grazing in the City Park during the winter months. One doesn't even have to travel that far from the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, as a variety of wildlife enjoy the warmth of the hot springs, and can often be spotted just a few feet away while guests enjoy a warm soothing soak.
7.) Winter Exploring
The ultimate in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be enjoyed against a backdrop of 14,000 foot peaks, wooded trails and alpine meadows. For those less athletically inclined, a snowmobile tour can be an exciting winter adventure which can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Regardless of the season, Ouray County offers a range of activities and interesting adventures centered around the majesty of the San Juan Mountains. The county's 540 miles encompass the rich, fertile ranchlands of the Uncompahgre river valley, the gentle rolling expanse of Dallas Divide, the majestic Sneffels Range, the scenic solitude of Owl Creek, Cow Creek and the Courthouse Range, and the spectacular Million Dollar Highway.
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to create the mountain adventure of a lifetime for you! From arranging dinner reservations and jeep tours, to mapping out the ideal trails to explore, or just providing a quiet oasis frigors of the outside world, Ouray and the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs are the perfect escape.
Fall Leaves Update for Southwest Colorado
It seems as if the colors on the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton have passed their peak, but that's not to say the leaves have done changing!
The lower altitudes are still vibrant with oakbrush and still some aspen - the reds and golds and faded greens blending int a rainbow of Fall.
As the colors change, so does the weather, but the jeep roads are still open, and the scenery magnificent in a whole new way.
There are still colors to be seen all around, so if you missed peak on the Million Dollar Highway, never fear!
San Juan National Forest Fall Color Report 2014 as of 10/10/2014:
Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – 90% aspens peaking
Molas Pass - past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –70% aspens high, 90% cottonwoods along river
Dolores to Rico – 85% peaking
Mancos – 90% peaking
Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:
Purgatory to Durango. Williams Creek Reservoir.
North of Mancos. West Dolores
Estimated Peak Viewing Period:
High country this weekend should be getting lower. 8-9,000 feet
The slightly lower areas below 8,000 ft look good. Pagosa, Dolores, Mancos changing fast.
Viewing Suggestions / Tips:
This may be the last good weekend.
Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:
Aspens, oakbrush. Willows and cottonwoods starting.
For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:
San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874
Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Rocky Mountain Region Fall Color page link
National Forest Service Color Finder page link
The 4WD roads are still open as well, and there are some companies who are taking guests for a snowfall tour! This is a little shorter than the typical half day, and a little less expensive as well. Give us a call at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and we will get your adventure arranged for you!
See You Soon!