Perhaps my favorite four wheel drive road is Corkscrew Pass. Not too technical, but with plenty of drama, the road encompasses all of the majesty of the San Juans.
Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado
With over 500 miles of accessible 4WD trails at our doorstep, is it any wonder Ouray is know as the Jeeping Capitol of the World?
When driving to Telluride in the winter, or in a sedan, or if you're in a hurry, it is a circular route down Highway 550 to Ridgway, turn on to Highway 62, then a few miles further down the road, turn onto Highway 145 which takes you to a town very similar to Ouray, but a mountain range away. The entire drive is forty-seven miles and takes about an hour.
Ouray, San Miguel and San Juan County Have been working feverishly to open all of the passes for four wheel drive adventurers! As of 3pm on Sunday, July 2, 2017 - the rock slide and road damage on Engineer Pass was completely repaired. Thank you to Ouray County crews and the folks from Switzerland of America Jeep Tours for all of your hard work!
The weather has been warm all over, but here in Ouray, we are looking forward to days in the upper 70's, with the Fourth of July forecasted to reach a high of 82* - perfect for getting drenched at the water fights!
Switzerland of America Jeep Rentals and Tours is a wonderful source to everyone for the most up to date trail conditions. As they travel the trails, they are meticulous in updating their website, and the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs with precise information. They also offer a 10% discount to our guests for all of their jeep tours! Of course, here at the Box Canyon Lodge, we depend quite a bit on the first hand information from our guests as to the conditions of trails, and share this with as many people as we can to ensure everyone has a safe and exciting time in the high country.
As of today, July 3, 2017 - the trail conditions are as follows:
Alpine Loop - OPEN - from Switzerland of America - The Loop is now cleared over Cinnamon to Lake City, and back via Engineer to Mineral Point. Note: The rugged and technical west side of Engineer is still closed! You must come down through Mineral Point into Animas to exit. Expect heavy snow melt to cause deep trenches on the downhill portions from the Cinnamon summit.
Animas Forks - OPEN
Black Bear Pass - Closed
Bolam Pass - OPEN
California - OPEN
Clear Lake - Closed
Cinnamon Pass - OPEN
Corkscrew Pass - OPEN
County Road 110 - OPEN
County Road 2 - OPEN
Cunningham Gulch - OPEN
Engineer Pass - OPEN
Hurricane Pass - OPEN
Imogene Pass - OPEN - From Switzerland of America "Conditions are still extremely icy in the early mornings and slushy throughout the day. Please use extreme caution as you reach the top of the pass. 25 foot snow banks on Tellruide’s side makes for narrow and limited passing."
Kennebec Pass - OPEN
La Plata Canyon (County Road 124) - OPEN
Lobo Overlook - Closed
Maggie Gulch - - OPEN
Mineral Point - Closed
Minnehaha - OPEN
Minnie Gulch - OPEN
Ophir Pass - OPEN
Owl Creek Pass - OPEN
Picayune - OPEN
Placer - OPEN
Poughkeepsie - Closed
Roaring Fork - Closed by the 412 Fire
Scotch Creek - OPEN
South Mineral Road - OPEN to trailhead
Stony Pass - OPEN to Pole Creek crossing
Treasure Mountain Loop - OPEN
Yankee Boy Basin - OPEN
As always, regardless of the time of year, please remember to be safe in the high country! Weather can change quickly and dramatically. If you come across a portion of road or weather that makes you uncomfortable, turn around. With over 500 miles of four wheel drive trails in easy access of town, there is no reason to put yourself at risk.
Remember to always bring layers. The sun might be shining one minute, and a downpour hit the next. With that in mind, sunscreen might sound ridiculous, but sunburns do hurt. Check either with us, or one of the many jeep rental/tour companies for the most up to date road conditions. There is no sense in getting yourself stuck in a bad spot if you don't have to. Please remember the rules of the road when adventuring on the high country. Be considerate of your fellow jeepers and four wheelers!
As OHV's become more popular, we get a lot of questions regarding in town usage. Please read our town ordinances by clicking this link, as the Ouray Police Department has been working diligently to enforce the laws pertaining to OHV's and will no longer be giving warnings to individuals who are violating the ordinance; instead, they will be cited with a ticket. The first offense is a $100 fine, the second is $300 and anything after that, will be a court summons with a $300-$500 fine.
There are some amazing jeep tour and rental companies in Ouray, who are always happy to help with information, and of course a tour means you don't have to worry about where you're going, just whether there is enough memory on your camera!
No matter what, HAVE FUN! The San Juan Mountains are beautiful, and never quite the same.
Temperatures are rising all over, it's time to cool off in the high country!
Well, it has been a great week for the road crews! As Ouray, San Miguel and San Juan County feverishly clear the high country, Mother Nature seems to be helping us out, and more and more trails are safe for adventure.
The month of May brought us beautiful spring weather as well as some much needed moisture. Everywhere you look, the land is becoming green and filled with wildflowers. Seasonal waterfalls are appearing all over, and the world appears to be taking a deep breath in prepartion for another summer of endless four wheel drive adventures.
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.
Spring is in the air, and everyone is ready to be outside enjoying some sunshine.
The world begins to wake from its winter nap, new leaves are bursting from the aspens, and the fields are dotted with baby calves, there is a sense of lightness and renewal in the air. The Ouray City Pool is in it's final stages, and May looks to be an awesome month for visitors and locals alike! April has been absolutely beautiful, with just the right amount of showers as the days get longer and the sun shines more warmly.
Perhaps one of our most frequently asked questions from guests who have not been to Ouray is "What is there to do?"
Well, the answer is simple but long, and really depends on you... First of all, to love Ouray, you have to love the outdoors. This does not mean you are into extreme sports - scaling 14'ers, Hiking for miles into the back country to ski hidden basins, or rappel through a waterfall... you CAN do all of these things here, and there are a number of guides waiting to take you on an adventure sure to get your adrenaline pumping. For those of us with a penchant for the great outdoors who still like both feet on the ground, the number of activities in and around Ouray are equally boundless!
Despite recent snowy weather, many four-wheel drive trails are still open in Ouray County!
October has arrived, and we are all closely watching the high country as the first snow covers the peaks. The fall colors have begun to fade, as mother nature prepares for the colder weather.
As the colors begin to change, a trip over one of the many four wheel drive roads around Ouray is a definite must!
In the more than twenty years I have lived in the area, I had never actually experienced one of the most famous and difficult trails in the area: Black Bear Pass. That is why, when Greg from San Juan Jeep Tours came by the other day and invited me along, I jumped at the chance.