First, Ouray traffic jams are not like your traffic jams. Wildlife frequents our town and our nearby public lands. Our traffic stops for wildlife for picture taking and gawking. Just north of town, a large herd of big horn sheep (the state animal of Colorado) jump off the rocks and into the roadway so when you see the signs that indicate wildlife is in the area, slow down. When the sheep get in the road, they stop traffic. I think they find salt on the winter roads of the San Juan Mountains. Read more about different Ouray wildlife at our website.
Second, Ouray water fights are not like your water fights. Every Fourth of July, Ouray puts on a spectacular celebration featuring a small town parade, a brownie and lemonade social, kids games in the park, and the largest waterfight on the western slope of Colorado. Teams of two fight one another with firehoses. Local towns people get their teams in place in June and begin practicing for the time honored tradition. There are separate divisions for Men, Women, Coed, and Juniors. The spectacle starts at 2:00pm and is a tradition. US Highway 550 is rerouted during the waterfights and the intersection of 6th Avenue and Main serves as the stage. City employees place bleachers on two sides of the street to allow more folks to see the action. The newly opened Ouray Brewery has rooftop seating and may be an excellent place to enjoy all the action. (Water fight photo courtesy of Kane Scheidegger of 2S Studioz.)
Last, Ouray hot water is not like your hot water. Southwest Colorado boasts many towns and spas with natural mineral hot springs, but Ouray has the added good fortune to possess hot springs with very low sulfur content; soakers can enjoy the soothing heat of water full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, without the distinctive odor of sulfur. Common to almost every mineral hot spring is a high content of sodium, which may explain the lightness so many bathers comment on when enjoying this natural wonder.
Bubbling to the surface at temperatures from 140 to 160 degrees, Ouray does have to cool its water to make it safe for bathing. As part of our Green Initiative, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs recently upgraded all of our buildings to use geothermal energy from our hot spring water to heat not only our bath and laundry water, but also to serve as the primary heating source for all of our guest rooms in the winter months. The Box Canyon Lodge provides four redwood tubs tiered on the hillside in our courtyard for guests to enjoy the peace and beauty of the San Juan Mountains while soaking in a more private, natural setting. The temperature of our mineral hot spring water is maintained between 101 to 108 degrees varying by a couple of degrees from tub to tub. If you come to Ouray during winter, you may even get lucky enough to enjoy being snowed upon while soaking!
Consider a Colorado vacation to Ouray and make your comparisons to your own home town. Let us know if you agree with our assessment by commenting below!