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!
From Ice Climbing To Canyoning, The Waterfalls in Ouray Beckon
Fall is gradually turning to winter. As the evenings become cooler, and the mornings more brisk, the land waits impatiently for the first snow. Fall colors still bloom at lower altitudes, and some leaves are clinging tenaciously in the high country, but we all know the season is about to change again.
Members of the Ice Park have begun to prepare for the cold, promising an early season as long as Mother Nature cooperates. Of course, it is still far too early to begin farming ice, but there is much to do before then.
Once the ice forms, the silence in the park is deafening, as athletes concentrate on proper placement of axe and boot, ever conscious of the spotter below. Onlookers watch in quiet amazement as climbers contort their bodies to best experience the climb. As if in defiance of gravity, the experts traverse ice as smooth and clear as glass, deep in the Uncompahgre Gorge.
January marks the 20th Annual Ouray Ice Festival. This gathering is attended by ice climbers from around the world, as well as industry sponsors, inspiring speakers, and the world’s top exhibition climbers.
So, what is an Ice Climber to do when there is no ice? Well, rock climbing is quite popular, and becoming ever more so in and around Ouray. There is also a sport that is beginning to become more and more popular with every season: Canyoning, or Canyoneering.
Combining hiking, climbing and rapelling, Canyoneering adds the element of water. Yes. Canyoneers begin by hiking to a waterfall, which they climb to the top of, then rapell through the water to the base. Not much is missing in this adrenaline pumping sport.
For the past five years, Ouray has hosted a canyoning festival each August. Steadily, the number of Canyoneers has grown, and in 2015, Ouray will host the Rendezvous International for Canyoning (RIC). We will welcome athletes from around the world as they join us and explore the amazing canyons and waterfalls in the region. The final day of the festival will be highlighted with the Annual City of Ouray Grillin & Chillin Festival in Felin Park.
Whether travelling to Ouray in the Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. From Exploring the high country by 4x4 on foot, or skis to traversing a wall of water, either frozen or flowing, the best part is being able to relax in the warm soothing waters of a natural mineral hot spring tub at the end of the day.
Experienced guide companies are standing by to take you out on the adventure of your choosing. Whether new to any given sport, or just the area, these individuals can take you and your family where you want to go in a safe, professional manner filled with breath taking fun and excitement.
Weekend adventurers and mid week getaways add a little spice to the ordinary, and although Ouray seems so far away, it is really just in your back yard, accessible year round, with access to some of the most spectacular scenery and adrenaline pumping sports around!
Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, the majesty of the San Juan Mountains is Second to None!
When the last of the snow has melted from the highest peaks, the rivers run high, and the reds blues and yellows of a world of flowers create a rainbow accross the land.
Everywhere you look, life is bursting in an explosion of color and sunshine. Wildlife bring their newest out for a first look at the world, and the sun shines bright through afternoon rain showers.
Adventurers journey through a surreal world of unparalelled beauty.
Summer arrives, and the roads are dry and inviting. Although not quite so stark, the flowers still remain and over 500 miles of four wheel drive roads beckon the adventurer.
Hikers, rock climbers and canyoneers flood the area, cameras click as everyone tries to capture the awe inspiring mountains and forests teeming with life.
Around every corner, the world is warm and bright, with cool evenings filled with more stars than you've ever seen before.
The world gradually begins to change with the leaves. the evenings become more brisk, and the landscape seems to shift. Fall has begun, and the high country sings with new colors as the aspens, oakbrush and cottonwoods compete for the most spectacular display.
The 4WD trails are still open, and the Million Dollar Highway is lined with cameras as once again, the world attemts to capture a moment in time.
Locals are beginning the job of quieter times, as jackets replace sweaters in the evening, and we begin to wonder where we put our skis and ice climbing gear. The leaves fall more quickly until suddenly, as if gasping in relief, the last leaf falls.
Winter teases and taunts with the promise of snow. The sun closes its eyes a little earlier every night, and the Ice Park begins the process of creating ice.
All along the Uncompahgre Gorge, they curious look on and marvel at the athleticism as climbers take to the ice in a ballet of axe hitting ice.
Deeper in the Gorge, instructors take a group of beginners through the process of learning the dance in the "Schoolroom" and the Kids Climbing Park.
The day ends inevitably no matter the season. As the stars dot the sky, and the sun fades away, there is still one thing to do. Soothing the worn tired muscles of a well spent adventure, the mineral hot springs provide a moment of absolute peace.
Under a blanket of stars, as the steam rises all around: Summer, so brilliant and bright, Winter, so brisk and stark. Early morning, coffee steaming, blending with the warmth of the tub, as deer graze nearby, seemingly unaware of your proximity.
The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is open 365 days a year, and welcomes travellers to the adventure of this small town with a giant heart every time of year. Whether you plan to push your body to new levels by tackling a fourteener, or by finding a one of a kind gift, created by one of the many talented artists in the area, we are here to help you. Take the first step for the adventure of a lifetime!
The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is the Perfect Winter Escape!
At the Box Canyon Lodge, we love our guests. Whether you have been visiting us for years, or this is your first time to the property, every guest becomes a part of what makes us great.
Nineteen years ago, John and Barbara Uhles offered a special incentive to folks who join the "Once A Month Club". In exchange for coming to see us at least once a month from October through May, members receive incredible discounts and offers on rooms. The club took off, and the lodge has been blessed with an extended family who have visited monthly for years and years.
When Rich and Karen Avery purchased the hotel in 2006, the "Once a Month Club" was an exciting and interesting concept. What better way to learn what does and does not work than from the folks who visit so frequently? Not to mention the opportunity to meet so many of the people who have been an integral part of this amazing property! Friendships formed and continue to thrive and grow. Members come and go, some stay with the club for just one year, while many more become life long members.
The months of October through May, the city of Ouray becomes a much more quiet community. As the snow begins to fall and temperatures drop, access to the high country becomes more limited. Several businesses close for the winter, the owners taking advantage of the chance to explore the outside world, or just relax and prepare for the following summer. Nothing compares to an evening in Ouray when the streets are so quiet it is as if you are the only person in town. Snow falls gently, and the four mineral hot spring tubs in our courtyard are an intimate escape from it all.
The majority of our Once a Month Club members live fairly close to us, but we also have a number of folks from as far away as Denver, Santa Fe and Moab. A number of members have chosen to join the club with family members, friends, or through their businesses. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of the club without having to worry about whether you can commit to visiting all eight months yourself. From hospitals to families to business associations, we have a wide variety of visitors who enjoy the benefits of the Once a Month Club.
The serene beauty of the Uncompahgres is a magnificent backdrop to whatever winter activities interest you. Whether an avid skiier, snow shoer, ice climber or hot tubber, Ouray serves as a perfect base camp. Telluride is just a short drive for downhill skiing. The Box Canyon Lodge is just at the base of the Ice Park Trail, and any hiking trail becomes the perfect winter adventure for snow shoeing. Ironton Park is only a few miles up the pass for a day cross country skiing on meticulously groomed and maintained trails.
After a day of fall or winter adventuring, how nice to relax in the warm, soothing mineral hot springs!
Once a month members can take advantage of these little getaways much more often, not having to be concerned with a long drive home. Of course, there are times when the discounted rate does not apply, however, with so many other days available, it is simple to plan around.
Every year, as the summer season begins to wind down, everyone at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs begins to look forward to October with a feeling of anticipation and excitement. The Club members have started to call, and make dates for the first visit of the season, and we can't wait to start catching up on the past months.
This year, we hope to add to the family, and invite everyone to come and experience a winter in Ouray!
Check out our contract. Fill it out and send it back to us, or just bring it along on your first visit! This year, be sure to expect some great deals for the summer season as well! Every once in a while, we just miss our clubbers, and want to see them during the warm months as well. So, every once in a while, club members may receive an email from us inviting them all to come visit for a last minute getaway!
Join the Club, and become a part of our little extended family here at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs!
See You Soon.
Ouray Colorado is the Jeeping Capitol Of The World!
Boasting access to over 500 miles of 4-wheel drive trails, Ouray County and the surrounding area has truly earned the title of Jeeping Capitol of the world.
Off roading enthusiasts from all walks of life and all over the country come to this tiny little area in Southwest Colorado specifically for the adventure of the high country trails.
Whether you are an experienced off roader, or this is your first time to explore these high country trails, there is a jeep road just for you! Time and again visitors travel from Lake City to Ouray over Engineer Pass, or to Telluride and back via Ophir, Imogene or Black Bear Pass. High country lakes, seasonal waterfalls, wildlife of every shape and size. Wildflowers in the spring and summer, and colorful aspens in the fall. Every trip along one of these trails is a new experience, dotted with new and exciting stories with opportunities for spectacular photographs around literally every bend.
Every jeep tour and rental company is eager to help guests to find the perfect route most suited to their comfort levels and experience. The idea is for everyone to enjoy this amazing place we are fortunate enough to call home. Of course, one of the most important unspoken rules of off roading is to always stop and lend a helping hand to your fellow adventurers, and Colorado is nothing if not a friendly, helpful state!
With so many trails to choose from, there is no one in particular that is more spectacular than the other, however there are three ( ranging in levels of difficulty) which seem to draw the most interest:
Last Dollar Road (level 1 experience - easy)
This is indeed one of the most incredible drives in the fall. Travelling from just outside of Ridgway (10 miles from Ouray) to the outskirts of Telluride, the road travels through long tunnels of aspen trees, creating a surreal drive that virtually feels like a painting. The sunlight becomes a little less intense, and leaves of every color drift around your vehicle. Places to pull off abound, and the area is populated with photographers catching frame after frame.
To access, travel past Ridgway toward Telluride on Highway 62 to the top of Dallas Divide. Last Dollar Road is on the left, and marked. Six miles down the road, you will come to a fork giving the option of a shorter route which exits at the town of Sawpit on the right, or left to travel along Hastings Mesa to Highway 145 just past the Telluride airport.
If you have a decent amount of clearance on your vehicle, take the left turn. This is a little more steep and curvy, but the views of the Sneffels Range are truly awesome!
Yankee Boy Basin (level 2 experience - moderate)
Yankee Boy Basin is known best for the vivid wildflowers in the late spring and early summer which blanket the fields with a rainbow of Mother Natures most incredible creations. With a twin waterfall flowing through the colorful vista, this is truly a magical place!
Adventurers drive along this well travelled road along the Uncompahgre Gorge, past abandoned as well as operating mines. Gazing at the cliffs across the way, it is hard to believe that once over a thousan people lived and worked here - summer, winter, spring and fall. If you look closely, you can still maybe find the ruins of an old bunk house on the side of the mountain, accessed by an ingenious lift system to get the miners from the top of the hill to the mine entrances below.
To access this trail, head south out of Ouray toward Silverton. At the first switchback, turn right onto Camp Bird Road. About ten miles up the road, take the right fork to Yankee Boy Basin. The last two miles of this track are quite steep and narrow, so a number of vehicles will park where the road is still a little more traversible and walk the rest of the way. Because it is a narrow two way road, in this instance, whoever has the most space is required to back up and make way for the other driver.
Corkscrew Gulch ( level 3 - moderate to difficult)
Quite possiblly my personal favorite, Corkscrew Gulch is one of the most fun for people who want a little daring, but not so much they can't handle it. Starting about 10 miles from Ouray, take a left at the turn off for Brown Mountain, Corkscrew and Ironton Park. Stay to the right as you head up the hill, and the fun begins almost immediately!
Travelling up switchbacks not so tight to be scary, the view through the forested road above the Million Dollar Highway is amazing. It is also the best way to guage exactly how much you are climbing, as every glimpse of the highway becomes even more distant until reaching timberline, at which point it is difficult to decide where to look.
At the summit, it is as if you are standing at the top of the world. High above timberline, at 12,217 feet, the views are phenominal.
The eastern descent offers access to either south to Silverton, or north over Hurricane Pass and California Gulch, connecting to the road to the ghost town Animas Forks. Be sure if you take this route to watch for the trailhead to Poughkeepsie Gulch, which is a level 5 trail, and prohibited by most rental companies.
Obviously, there are more than three trails to explore on your adventure in the high country. From Last Dollar to Black Bear, each offers a variety of visual candy and an entire world of adventure. Exploring the trails, I often wind up taking random side trails, and find the most amazing valleys and mountain lakes. Just be sure to remember that if the road looks doubtful, follow your instinct. If unsure, get out and walk a little way to see what is up ahead. Be aware of road condidtions. The weather can change drastically in a very short period of time. Don't be caught off guard. Never go cross country. Not only does this do irreperable damage to the tundra, it is illegal. Be aware of your own level of comfort and experience, and above all, bring your camera and be prepared to stop. A lot.
If you prefer, a jeep tour is an awesome way to experience the high country. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery as a seasoned driver shows you all of the sights you may have missed otherwise. Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you to plan the perfect adventure for you!