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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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Three Favorite Four Wheel Drive Trails Around Ouray

  
  
  

Ouray Colorado is the Jeeping Capitol Of The World!

waterfalls near ouray colo in julyBoasting 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)

october2This 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 columbinesYankee 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)

corkscrewQuite 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.

jeep exiting engineer passThe 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!

 

Contact Us!Let the Box Canyon Help YouExperience the Jeep Capital of the World Today!

Ouray Colorado is Calling all Birders

  
  
  

Switzerland of America, also known as Ouray Colorado wants everyone to know about the arrival of the Black Swifts.

blackswiftThese are very elusive birds and it wasn't until they strapped on micro backpacks with geo locators did they learn that the Black Swifts in Ouray winter in Brazil, a 4300 mile journey to the lowland rainforest on the Amazon River.  Researchers finally tracked the birds and the story is outlined in the Denver Post by writer Nancy Lofholm.  These high flying creatures can't even purch on a branch or sit on a wire.  They are only able to make their homes on the small crags of vertical canyon walls near very large waterfalls.

Sightings of the birds are very common, all summer long, at the Box Cañon Falls, a 5 minute walk from our hotel in Ouray, although most people don't know how rare a sighting can be.

The coloring of the plumage camoflages the birds and their nests and many visitors just walk right on by without even noticing the "coolest bird" on the way to view the falls themselves.  Ouray has a preeminant birder who monitors the colony, assists visitors, educates people on the wonderful creatures and she is at the park most everyday, all summer long.

broad-tailed hummingbird

The falls themselves are stunning, with a thunderous roar of the water in springtime and only mildly quieter in mid and late summer.


Of course, Ouray has other avian visitors, including the broad tailed hummingbird, western tanagers, Stellar's Jay,  and many a finch or warbler.  In fact the 
Ouray County checklist which includes a whopping 249 birds. 

Fruit trees lining the Main Street near Fellin Park (by the Ouray Hot Springs Pool) attract many birds as well.  

 

 

Live Music, Craft Beer, and Excellent Food in Ouray August 23, 2014

  
  
  

Grillin & Chillin in Ouray is great Family Fun with a Variety of Entertainment!

GrillinChillinLogover2 000Bouncing castles, and frisbee games. Craft brewers and distilleries from accross Southwest Colorado. Delicious food, and music all day long! If you haven't been to a concert in Fellin Park, Grillin & Chillin is by far the biggest and the best. 

This year, all of the proceeds from the festival will be used for the 2015 Mountain Air Music Series. 

There is something magical and great in a concert in the park, regardless of where you are from. In Ouray, the beauty encompasses so much more. Surrounded by the majest of the San Juans, the music seems to echoe off of the mountins, creating a sense of freedom and comaraderie. Even the most shy will find themselves twisting and turning with friends they just met as the energy of the musicians demands.

live music ouray bcm3Booths line the park, offering a variety of breweries and distilleries for you to sample and enjoy. The cost to join the fun of tasting them all and judging you favorite is just $25.00, or you can purchase individual drinks for $5.00 a glass. Craft brewers and distillers include:  Horsefly Brewing Company, Avery Brewing, Palisade Brewery, Revolution Brewing, Ska Brewing, Copper Club Brewing Co., Two Rascals Brewing, Suds Brothers Brewery, Carver Brewing Co. and KJ Wood Distillers.

The Mountain Air Music Series is proud that this event allows local non-profits to raise funds for their organizations, so a wide variety of great festival food will be available for purchase, all served by regional vendors and non-profit organizations.

live music ouray bcmFamily friendly is not just an open statement here. From a bouncing castle, to fun games and just plain open air surrounded by music make this an ideal place to bring the family for a full day of fun! The air rings with laghter and squeels as children run and dance and play game after game. Bring a blanket and lawn chairs to sit and enjoy all of the magic of every moment!

And of course, there is the music! This year The Ouray Chamber Resort Association and the Mountain Air Music Series are excited to host four talented acts as the main entertainment. Local musicians, The Royal We, kick off the day, followed by The Shady Elders from Denver.  The fun continues with full sets by Grand Junction’s Zolopht and rock band Fictionist from Provo, Utah.   Festival-goers are sure to find something to dance to and Ouray’s Fellin Park is one of the most beautiful outdoor concert venues around.

theroyalweAt 1:00 pm, The Royal We begins the day with high energy fun and sound. This group of seasoned performers plays a variety of genres, ranging from R&B, to Southern Rock to Alternative, these talented artists play with joy and passion that carries over into every note.

Shady Elders CoverIndie Pop band The Shady Elders joins us from Denver to carry us on a journey through the beauty of dream pop, shoegaze, doo-wop and indie rock. Combining clear resonating vocals with instrumental genius, this up and coming band will mesmerize you with its powerful sound.

Zolopht band pic copy1 1024x682Grand Junction band Zolopht follows the line up with a heavy blend of reggae, blues, rock & bluegrass influences. A staple in the Colorado music scene for years,  Zolopht creates a sound that is diverse and very much their own. Thier high energy will have you dancing and singing along in moments!

FictionistOut of Provo, Utah, Fictionist finishes up the evening, bringing their high energy love of music to Ouray! These artists bring a level of Rock to the stage that will move you to new heights of appreciatin for the genre.

This year, the Grillin & Chillin festival is far outdoing itself this year, and is sure to be everything and more to be expected from a day of absolute fun in the majesty of the San Juans! Join us today!

 

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

Ouray Colorado Presents a Night at the Opera!

  
  
  

Wright Opera House Brings The Central City Opera Company to the San Juan Mountains this Fall.

wrightlogo2;For the first time in the history of the Wright Opera House, true Opera will fill the corridors of the music hall. The Friends of the Wright are working non stop toward a complete restoration, and work is well under way. Maintaining the historic grandeur, while upgrading it such that it can support contemporary performances is indeed a process, made even more fascinating to those of us who are blessed to watch from the beginning.

As the building metamorphoses into the cultural jewell it was meant to be, so does the event list. New equipment such as sound, lighting and video, as well as the necessary infrastructure to support large events, serve to allow bigger and better performances for ever growing crowds of followers of this amazing venture into culture and artistic growth.

CCO web headerOpera. Combining the ringing sopranos and deep tenors of the human voice with musical scores only made more magnificent in harmoony, is an excursion into a world that is filled with the beauty of sound. Each score tells a tale of love and loss and triumph. There are no spoken words, the entire tale of a true opera is completely in song. The melody dances in your ears, creating images that only serve to intensify the performers on stage. A true and complete excursion into the power of the voice. Whether a seasoned participant or new to the art form, it is impossible not to appreciate the talent and grace of the performers.

wright1You will find yourself spellbound in your seat at the pure sensory explosion of a Soprano as she creates vocal magic. The artists will carry you on a road of discovery, following the story with ease, as the acting and vocal expression create color in the the world you have been introduced to by their songs.

Central City Opera House, the oldest surviving Opera House in Colorado, has long striven to maintain the history and magic of the arts. Established in 1974, The Central City Opera Guilde works with the Central City Opera to provide  community education, cultural and social events and various fundraising campaigns throughout the year. 

Producing innovative operas with modern technical requirements in a historic structure is a challenge readily met by internationally renowned directors, conductors and technical designers who are eager to work in the rarified atmosphere with some of the finest artists in the field. Many of those artists have experienced intense training in Central City Opera’s prestigious Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, a national model for the development of young singers for more than 30 years. The company’s passionate commitment to arts and history education in the wider community results in touring programs that serve over 60,000 student, senior and community audiences each year. National and international critics recognize the uncompromising quality of Central City Opera’s summer productions, while Opera America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have lauded its community and historic initiatives.

box canyon lodge hotJust one of many exciting events this year, The Central City Opera Ensemble invites you to enjoy the extremes of opera and music theatre, where saints are absolutely angelic and sinners despicably demonic. Scenes and songs from opera and classic musical theatre favorites like La bohème, Carmen, Sweeney Todd, and South Pacificwill stir your soul – but in which direction? Both Heaven and Hell beckon.

There is no better way to experience Opera for the first time than with a performance such as this, in the intimate setting of the Wright Opera House. Be one of the first to enjoy the musical wonder of the Opera in Ouray!

The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is excited to support the ever growing popularity of the Wright Opera House and the arts. Perfect as your basecamp to the Rockies, enjoy a long sooting soak in one of our four mineral hot spring tubs before an early dinner at one of the fine establishments on Main Street, followed up by an evening of perfect culture and light. In the morning, take a scenic jeep tour and experience the majesty of the San Juan Mountains, then return for a quiet evening of relaxation and another long soak.

Guests attending the opera will recieve an additional 10% off of their stay, and we are happy to arrange Will Call ticket pick up for you as well. Just mention the Wright Opera House for your discount!

See You Soon!

Contact us to Arrange your Wright Opera House Adventure Today!

San Juan Chamber Music Fest - Four Great Concerts all Around Ouray

  
  
  

The San Juan Mountains Sing August 20 through the 24, 2014!

san juan chamber musicOuray County Performing Arts Guild works year round to provide Ouray County with quality events in music, dance, theater and other genres. A non-profit organization, OCPAG sponsors presentations and performers of the highest caliber in the performing arts for the enjoyment of Ouray County’s residents and visitors.

max levinsonUnder the artistic direction of renowned pianist Max Levinson, the annual San Juan Chamber Music Fest will be a combination of concerts throughout Ouray County. MusicFest concerts showcase the full repertoire of chamber music classics by the great composers, as well as more contemporary and lesser-known pieces.

Music lovers will enjoy a variety of events. Celebrate sound at one or all of them!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Cafe Concert - Music from Around the World

pianoThe San Juan Chamber MusicFest kicks off with this delightful informal concert at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center. Gather around café tables with your friends, sip wine and enjoy appetizers while listening to “Music from Around the World,” including Beethoven’s “Eyeglasses” Duo and Mozart G minor Piano Quartet, Chopin’s famous “Military” Polonaise and a solo guitar piece from Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos.

Two ticket levels are available for this event. $40 ticket holders are welcome at 6:15 for appetizers and one glass of complimentary wine from the 4-H Event Center’s bar; $25 ticket holders can come at 7 p.m. for concert only and can buy their own beverages.

As always, students get in for just $5.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - SJCMF Master Classes at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center

nuritpachtMaster classes take place on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. at the 4-H Event Center in Ridgway. 

Master classes provide an exciting opportunity for serious music students in the region to work one-on-one with a world-class musician in perfecting a prepared piece.

Students of all ages – both children and adults – are invited to participate. Students need to be prepared to play something (not necessarily memorized) for critique. Lessons last about 20 minutes. A $20 donation is suggested.

If you or someone you know would be interested in participating, please contact SJCMF Master Class coordinator Samantha Wright at  (970)764-7438

Friday, August 22, 2014 - Concert at the Wright Opera House

violinJoin pianist Max Levinson, violinist Nurit Pacht, classical guitarist Rami Vamos, violist Emily Brandenburg and cellist Julia Yang. for "Slavic Soul: Music from Eastern Europe" at the Wright Opera House.

The concert will be held at the Wright Opera House from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Ticket cost is $25.00, and may be purchased early or at the door.

Enjoy an intimate concert in this beautifully renovated historic venue!

Saturday, August 23, 2014 -  Family Concert at the Wright Opera House, Ouray

wolfgang amadeus schmutzThis informal family concert is donation only at the Wright Opera House from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Children of all ages will delight in Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry for yet another year!

Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Dinner Salon in a Private home on Log Hill Mesa

celloThe San Juan Chamber MusicFest concludes with this very special dinner salon concert at a beautiful private home on Log Hill Mesa. Experience chamber music the way it was meant to be heard! Secret Garden Catering provides a delectable dinner, after which the musicians will delight your senses with a “Summer Serenade” concert, including the Giuliani Duo for Violin and Guitar and the Brahms Piano Quartet in A major.

(This event is SOLD OUT, but we hope to see you at the other SJCMF concerts!)

ocpag logoThe Ouray County Performing Arts Guild Brings a variety of music to Ouray County year round, and has successfully offered a full calendar of events spanning a number of genres.

sjmfAs part of their mission statement to connect local youth with the performing arts, OCPAG has given over $17,000.00 in scholarships over the past seven years, in addition to offering a range  of master classes, in-school performances featuring visiting artists, and children’s programs.

Support the arts in Ouray County, as well as enjoying the amazing array of talent brought to you by this incredible organization!

box canyon lodge hot (1)Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you to create the perfect getaway! Our knowledgeable agents will work with you to enjoy Southwest Colorado in the best possible way!

 

Ouray, southwest colorado

 

 

 


 



Ouray Mountain Trail Run - Rain or Shine September 27, 2014

  
  
  

Enjoy the Majestic Beauty of Fall in the San Juan Mountains with this Amazing Marathon! Register Today!

ouraytrailrunTom Shroer, director of the Ouray Trail Run, has out done himself, organizing and promoting a marathon comparable in difficulty to the Imogene Pass Run at the end of September. The Ouray Trail Run circumnavigates the City of Ouray using 13 miles of single track trails including the Silvershield, Ice Park and Portland trails. 

September heralds the changing of the leaves, as the world in the high country prepares for winter. Brilliant splashes of color 

ouraytrailrunmapJoin us for a 13 mile run on the beautiful hiking trails around the city of Ouray Colorado. The Ouray Mountain Trail Run has everything to live up to its name. The course includes slogging climbs, fast descents, fantastic views, and creek crossings including the high bridge over box canyon. Because of the quality of the course the run is limited to 100 participants making this low-key event a great day on the trails.

The adventure starts at 10 a.m. at the Hot Springs Pool with a flat mile of gravel road following the river then on to single track for the rest of the 13 mi. course. The trail run takes place on the last Saturday of September every year in an effort to take advantage of the fall colors with the cool temperatures and clear days of Colorado autumns.

ouraytrailrun3The Ouray Mountain Trail Run is a charity event with proceeds benefitting programs and organizations that get youth outside and active. Last year, the runners were able to help the outdoor program at the high school with some equipment purchases for their river trips. The entrants also put a few tykes on pedal less Strider Bikes through the Axel Project and set up a program to make swim lessons available at the Hot Springs Pool to kids who might not get the chance.

ouraytrailrun2There is a post race raffle where local businesses have donated tokens of appreciation. The heavy hooded sweatshirts from Ourayle House Brewery and the Exotic Earth Coffees are among the most popular examples. Trail Town Still has also always been generous to the run with donations and volunteers.

The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is also excited to offer all participants of the race an additional 15% off their stay. There is no better way to relax tired muscles than a long soothing soak in one of our all natural mineral hot spring tubs. 

 

Ouray, southwest colorado
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