Ouray is the first choice of many families because it holds a special place in so many hearts. I have the opportunity to speak with many people who call to arrange lodging for their family reunions and group vacations. One of the most common things I hear is how so many of them remember spending time in Ouray and Southwest Colorado as children or young adults. They are now looking forward to sharing some fond memories with a new generation of family members on a vacation / family reunion in Colorado.
For me, growing up in Ouray meant many friends and family came to visit us during the summer. The allure of getting to play around in Southwest Colorado and take in the sights was too much to turndown! Like most folks in Ouray, Colorado, my family had a Jeep. Our friends and family, most of whom hail from Texas, were astounded and amazed by the sheer grandeur of the San Juan Mountains we traversed. My dad would point out interesting buildings in various ghost towns that dot the area and state little known facts about the terrain. We would have a picnic near a rushing waterfall and occasionally find some edible wild mushrooms. For the guests on these excursions who had no fear of heights, the day was unforgettable and won my dad praise! For those who did have some issue with the vertical drops, it was definitely unforgettable, and dad is still apologizing!
The mine tour at the Bachelor-Syracuse was another fun time to be had. Trust me when I tell you though that you have never experienced a dark place until you are three miles into a mountain! The tour guides make a point to switch off the little bit of light that does run through the mine just to show you the conditions miners had to work in. It will give you a new found appreciation of the brave souls who not only carved their way into the mountains in Ouray, but also made it possible for us to have our beautiful little town today. Another little known fact about the Bachelor-Syracuse is their fantastic breakfast! It’s not to be missed (open seasonally, outdoors). Like I mentioned before, we all hail from Texas, there is something to be said for excellent biscuits and gravy!
After a day of playing in the Jeep on the 4WD roads in the area, it was time to take in an evening in Ouray. The beaches may have their ocean sunsets, but here, we have the Amphitheater and the indescribable beauty of the alpenglow at dusk. You will know this special time of day has arrived when you do visit. It’s the time when the town becomes a little quieter and people’s heads are turned up and pointed east (yes, east- since that is where the alpenglow appears) to take in the beauty of a sunset in Ouray, Colorado. After the sun had set we would pop into one of the local ice cream shops for a sweet treat and then spend leisurely time wandering into the stores to help our guests select the perfect souvenirs to take back home.
These are just a few of the sweet summer memories from my childhood in Southwest Colorado. Memories that I can still share with my children and that they in turn will share with theirs. That is the real beauty of Ouray. No matter how the world seems to change around us, here in our little valley in the majestic San Juan Mountains, the look and feel will always say, “welcome”.
About the Author: Nikki Komar works at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. She works with many of our groups including family reunions and destination wedding couples. She lives with her husband and four children in Ouray.