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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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Mt Sneffels Marathon/Half Marathon in the 2012 Race series in Ouray


Running for a cause on a USATF certified course in Southwest Colorado!

Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon photos 9 600 450 80Colorado boasts some of the most spectacular terrain for marathon runners, and this year, USATF,  the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States is including the Mt. Sneffels half marathon in one of seven events around Colorado that is part of the USATF Colorado Grand Prix. In addition to the usual awards in gender and age categories,  $2000.00 in prize money will be awarded for the USATF Colorado State Men's Half Marathon Championship. The awards ceremony for both the Half and Full Marathons will be held at the Ridgway Town Park on the stage that has been erected for the Ridgway Arts and Crafts Fair which will be going on all weekend.
The Mt Sneffels Marathon and Half Marathon is actually a number of races all on the same day, and with the "Walker" category for the half marathon, more folks can come out and support the Mt. Sneffels Education Foundation, and enjoy half price admission to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and an official race t-shirt.
mtsneffelsmarathonlogoBeginning at Fellin Park, at the Hot Springs Pool in Ouray, the half marathon meanders through the city of Ouray, eventually taking racers northbound on first county road 17, then County Road 23 into the town of Ridgway. Starting in the opposite direction, the full marathon travels the half marathon course backwards, returning the same way.
At 10:30 am, the Kids Fun Run starts in the soccer field south of town,next to the Marathon/Half Marathon finish line. This is a great way for the little ones to not only burn off some steam, but to also be involved in this great event. 

Mt Sneffels Austin expo 001 14 600 450 80The event schedule is as follows:
Start time:
Marathon: 6:30am
Half Marathon 7:30am
Entry fees include snacks at the finish line, half price admission to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and an official race t-shirt:
$40 (Half) til July 7th $50 July7th-Aug 10th $60 @packet pick-up
$60 (Full) til July 7th $80 July 7th-Aug 10th day of race registration
$10 (Kids Fun Run)
USATF members receive a $3 discount
ouray trail runParticipants are strongly encouraged to pick up their packets at the Hot Springs Pool on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Starting at 6:00 am on the day of the race, packets for the Marathon will be available at the Ridgway Soccer Field, and packets for the Half Marathon will be available on the day of the race in front of the Ouray Pool starting at 6:30 am.
mt sneffels half marathonThroughout the morning (starting from approximately 10:30am), bus transportation will be provided from Solar Ranches park (Ridgway) back to Ouray Hot Springs/Fellin Park. Participants who finish the marathon,and half marathon will be awarded finisher medals.
Whether you are a fan, interested in cheering the runners and walkers, or a seasoned athlete here to celebrate the beauty of a run in the San Juans, be sure to head on out to Ouray County on Saturday August 11, 2012!

Griffin House at the Wright Opera House in Ouray this August!


The 1st Summer Music Series at the Wright in Ouray Presents Griffin House on August 11, 2012

wright opera house logoWhen the Friends of the Wright formed to create a Board of Directors in 2007, they had a vision of restoring this historic venue to its former grandeur, rekindling the dreams of Ed and Letitia Wright who originally built the Wright Opera House in 1881. This years Summer Music Series is just one of the many steps these desicated volunteers have taken to realize their goals.

griffin houseEach month this summer, at least one well known performer has filled the house, fans are amazed at the acoustics in this old theatre, and the experience of enjoying such talented musicians in such an intimate setting. This August brings a talented artist who has toured with the likes of John Mellencamp and the Cranberries, and been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

Originally from Springfield, Ohio, Griffin House has been reffered to as one of Nashvilles greatest treasures. Inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie, and the Mermaid Avenue albums by Wilco and Billy Bragg, his music posesses heartfelt lyrics and guitar.
Singer Songwriter Summer Series PosterSigned by the Vancouver based label Nettwerk in 2004, he released his first album after only five days in the recording studio with his band, and has spent the majoriy of the last few years touring,recording several “direct-to-fan” releases, a pair of EPs (House of David Vol. 1 & 2) and the 2006 digital release Homecoming. In 2008, House released Flying Upside Down, produced by Jeff Trott and featuring Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.
There is just one more concert in the series this summer, but don't worry! The Wright has a full Fall and Winter Schedule as well.
So, make it a point to enjoy a show in one of the most historic venues in the country, surrounded by the San Juan Mountains. Soak in the hot springs while you are here, or head on out to Main Street for a shopping experience you wont soon forget. A weekend in the Switzerland of America, with great music, and small town charm is an experience you will not soon forget.

And don't forget to ask us about our Summer Concert Series Special for this or any other show you want to come and see!




Artists' Annual Alpine Holiday comes back to Ouray County this August


Artists and Art Lovers Gather for the Best Art Show in Southwest Colorado!

ocaa logoThe Ouray County Arts Association works within Ouray County to provide support, participation, awards and awareness of local artists. the 52nd Annual Artists' Alpine Holiday is the longest running juried art show in Western Colorado. With a following of about 1500 people each year, this nine day exhibit has gained the reputation of being one of the finest art shows in Colorado.

ocaa art craft showThis exhibit is open to all artists, and is known to attract work from talented artist all over the United States. Cash awards totaling $7200.00 are just the tip of the iceberg for artists, with Purchase Awards, Student scholarships, and of course, all works are available for sale to the public.

kathleen norris cook bookThis year, the Photography juror is Kathleen Norris Cook. With over thirty years of photography experience and several publications, this award winning photographers most recent book, Spirit of the San Juans, is just one of many marvelous demonstrations of her talent.

jeannemackenzieThe Fine Arts Juror, Jeanne MacKenzie, is one of the founding members of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters. Her award winning art paintings are featured in several fine art galleries in Colorado and Arizona.


The schedule is as follows:

palletteJuly 29 Agent Delivery of Artwork to the
Ouray Community Center
340 6th Ave. Noon - 4 PM
July 30 Individual Delivery of Artwork to the
Ouray Community Center
340 6th Ave. 10 AM - 4 PM
July 31 - Aug 1 Judging
Aug 1 Purchase Awards
Aug 2 Benefactor / Sponsor's Early Purchases.
General Reception 7 PM. Aug 3 - 4
Exhibition 10 AM - 9 PM
Aug 4 Quick Draw Challenge 10 AM
Quick Draw Art Auction 7 PM
Aug 5 - 10 Exhibition 10 AM - 7 PM
Aug 11 Exhibition 10 AM - 5 PM. Art cannot be removed early. No exceptions
Aug 12 Pick up Artwork Noon - 3 PM
There will be a $15 / day storage charge for art not picked up by 3 PM.

tubsWhether you are an artist, or just enjoy viewing specatcular pieces of work from around the country, this show is definately on not to miss! And of course, there are so many other great things to do and see while visiting Ouray..... Take a jeep tour, hike one or two of our famous trails, explore an old mine, shop Main Street or explore an old gold mine before soaking the night away in our soothing mineral hot springs!




Melodrama at the Wright in Ouray, Colorado every Monday this July!


Local talent takes guests on an extravagant adventure every Monday in July!

memb5Regardless of whether you are a theatre aficionado, or just looking for an entertaining evening during your visit to Ouray, “Crooks and Skullduggery at the Hardlife Hotel” is sure to please.

memb6The best part of a melodrama is audience participation. As each member of the cast is introduced, we are expected as an audience to cheer, or boo. Heckling is encouraged to a certain degree, and as the energy of the audience increases, so does that of the cast, making for a wonderful night of fun and camaraderie.

memb1Meen E. Moneybanks is the villain whose goal is to foreclose on the Hardlife Hotel in order to finance his indoor toilet empire.  The Hardlife family must use all of their skills to prevent the downfall of their business, and keep their home.

Written by former Ouray High School history teacher, Melissa Stacy and teeming with talented locals, this play integrates a little bit of history with a lot of fun.


Just one of several shows in the summer line up at the Wright Opera House, this is a must see!

Order your tickets online at , or at the box office:

Wright Opera House

462 Main Street

Ouray CO 81427 USA

Contact: Joyce Linn


Melodrama Adult Ticket - July 9

Total Ticket Price $12.00. Ticket $10.00 + $2.00 handling fee          $12.00

Melodrama- Childs Ticket- July 9th

Childs Ticket Total Price$7.00. Ticket price $5.00 + $2.00 handling fee

Ouray County Rural Schools


Today Ouray and Ridgway are Ouray County’s only two school districts, but over 100 years ago Ouray had 13 independent school districts ranging from Colona in the north to Red Mountain in the south. 

98 45 5A.IrontonSchoolSchool District No. 6 included the southern end of the county with schools in Ironton, Guston and Red Mountain Town. In1891 District 6 attendance was 128 students.  Although the Guston and Red Mountain Town schools were only a mile a apart, all the students could not attend one school due to the bad roads and the depth of the snow. Residents of Red Mountain Town boasted of having school at the highest altitude of any school in Colorado.

Just slightly further north and on the other side of Hayden Mountain was District No. 13 which had schools at the Camp Bird Mill (Level 14) and at Sneffels near the Revenue Mill. Barbara Spencer, who just celebrated her 95th birthday, taught grades 1-8 at the Camp Bird School in the late 1930s. She lived in the Mill Boarding House. The school closed in 1942 when the last two pupils moved to Ouray. District No. 12 served the Dexter Creek area with one school near the Calliope Mine.

Most rural schools were north of the City of Ouray in the ranching and farming areas of the county. District No. 3 was founded in 1878 with the Piedmont School. It closed in 1943 and still stands today on County Road 23. Verena Jacobson taught there in the late 1920s. On the other side of the valley was district No. 4 with the Portland School founded in 1878.  The building today has been remodeled into a private residence.

Further north of Ridgway District No. 5 was the “Old Dallas School” founded in the town of Dallas in 1883. Directly to the west was District No. 2, referred to as the Upper Dallas district.  It had three schools: Upper Dallas Mesa, Upper Dallas and Pleasant Valley. The Pleasant Valley School continued until 1940.

Two schools served district No. 7 on Log Hill Mesa.  The Pine Grove School was founded in 1884 and lasted until 1941.  The school was moved north of Montrose and eventually taken apart and moved back to Log Hill, but it has yet to be rebuilt.  The Pinon Grove School on Log Hill was built in 1912 and closed in 1947.  Log Hill resident Jeannie Logan moved it to her property and made it into a guesthouse.

District 9 served the families living along Cow Creek. The original Cow Creek School, built in 1889, was replaced with a new building in 1914.  It lasted as a school until 1951. The building still stands on Owl Creek Road.

District 10, organized in 1897, was served by two schools.  The Alkali School was located seven miles north of Ridgway.  It closed in the late 1930s and the building demolished. The site is currently under the Ridgway Reservoir. Mayfield School was located near the confluence of the Uncompahgre River and Cow Creek. It closed in 1939 and was moved one-half mile north to a local ranch where it still serves as a storage building

The Jutten School and the Uncompahgre School, both located about nine miles south of Montrose, which served some Ouray County residents but the schools were located in Montrose County. District No. 8, the furthest north in Ouray County, served the Colona area with Brower School that served this area until 1915 when the two-storey Colona School was built. This beautiful building still exists today as the Colona Grange and efforts are being made to restore it. School District No. 1, Ouray, and School District No. 11, Ridgway will be separately discussed in future articles.

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.

4th of July in Ouray, Colorado - A Full Night of Fun!


Celebrate the Fourth of July surrounded by the majesty of the San Juan Mountains!

us flagSo, you may be wondering..."What to do in Colorado on the Fourth what with the fireworks cancelled?" Well, you've come to the right place! Long before fireworks were a prevalent part of the Independence day celebration, Ouray has provided a full day of family fun and entertainment, and this year may well be one of the best yet.....fireworks or not!

Ouray and the surrounding towns in Southwest Colorado provide a truly original experience on the Fourth of July. Virtually unchanged since its birth in the 1800's, this tiny mountain town provides an historic taste of our countries special day. Traditions in Ouray on the fourth have lasted through the years, changing only slightly.

ourayceFirst thing in the morning, join your fellow running enthusiasts at Fellin Park for the Ourayce 10K, part of the Ouray 2012 Race series. The race will finish up just in time to converge on Main Street, which will be closed at 10:00 am for the annual Fourth of July Parade. Cheer for all of the different organizations and individuals marching, or, enter yourself!

paradeAfter the parade, the fun is just beginning. Family fun and games start at 11:00 am, and are an all day event at Fellin Park. The Ouray Elks, among others will be offering great barbeque options, from burgers and brats to some of the best ribs ever. If you're looking for an escape from the outdoor activities, all of the restaurants and shops will be open and ready to provide you with a great experience of small town hospitality and good cheer.

water fights resizedHighway 550 will close down for the second time of the day at 2:00 pm when the annual water fights commence. A tradition started in the late 1800's, with as many rocks as there was water shooting from the fire hoses, these hearty miners stood for up to an hour against each other with no protection but a ladies bathing cap. These days, competitions are timed and teams wear protective gear, limiting the number of injuries but certainly not the amount of fun audiences have watching competitors push their endurance to the limits.

Dinner is a difficult decision in Ouray on the Fourth of July. All of the local restaurants offer a fabulous variety of dining options with the celebratory air of the day. Enjoy margaritas on the deck, or prime rib in an old fashioned saloon.

The Wright Opera House will be offering a free viewing of ET at 4:00 pm, and 6:00 pm, which is a great way to wind down after a day of frivolity and fun.

Of course, the night isn't over yet! Not by a long shot! Also starting at 4:00 pm, Mike Gwinn and the North Fork flyers will begin a free concert in the park! All of the activities and booths open throughout the day will stay open at Fellin Park until the JEEP GLOW PARADE at 9:00 pm. Bring your Jeep to the Ouray “Switzerland of America” Overlook on Hwy 550 at 8:15 to line up for the “glow” parade, starting at 9:00 PM. Glow sticks and decorations provided by the Ouray Chamber Resort Association. Donations accepted.

Whether this is the first or the fiftieth time you experience the Fourth of July in Ouray, it will be a day to remember!


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