Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

Five Must Haves to Drive The Million Dollar Highway Any Time of Year

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @10:04 AM

Driving the Scenic Highways of Southwest Colorado is not as scary as you think.

red mountain.2The 76 miles of US Highway 550 between Durango and Ouray, Colorado, often referred to as the Million Dollar Highway, is a combination of three (3) mountain passes accross some of the most breathtaking scenery the country has to offer. One of the most frequently asked questions we get from our guests is whether the road will be open when they are planning to visit.

Our answer, regardless of the time of year is almost always YES. Because it is a State highway, and the only means of accessing the town of Silverton, nestled between Molas and Red Mountain Passes, the highway is maintained as a priority by CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation). 

million dollar hwy winterOf course, given where we live, and the fact that the summit of Red Mountain Pass is at over 11,000 feet, there are obviously times the road may have to be closed due to Mother Nature, who often likes to throw little "road blocks" at us. Of course, she doesn't take into consideration the tenacity of our amazing road crews. Typically, if the road has to be closed, it is only for a couple of hours while snow is cleared, or maintenance is performed. Whenever possible, maintenance is done during the wee hours of night so as to disrupt the least amount of travelers. 

Frankly, who would want to drive this road at night anyway? With its dramatic drops and breathtaking views, this is a drive to be experienced in the full light of day! Regardless of the season, driving in Colorado is an adventure and a feast for the senses. All you need are a few things to make the drive safe and fun no matter what Mother Nature throws at you:

1. Camera

photographerBelieve me when I say, your camera will be your best friend on Highway 550! Whether you live here, or this is your first visit, there are so many sights to see and capture. Around each bend, your breath will catch at an entirely new view. Every season is rife with opportunities to exercise your photographic abilities, and you don't have to be a professional because it is close to impossible to take a bad picture here! Driving along the Million Dollar Highway, panoramic views are all there are. From following the curves of the road behind you, to wildlife who seem to be waiting for you to get their best angle, your camera is your best friend as you traverse every curve.

2. Good Tires

million dollar highway.2It doesn't matter where you are traveling, good tires should always be foremost in your mind. First of all, a good all season tire gives traction and control to the driver that may contribute significantly to the amount of enjoyment you get from the drive. Winter travelers might consider more specialized tires, designed for snow travel, but this is often an unnecessary expense if you are visiting for just a couple of days, then heading back to Phoenix. Surprisingly, snow chains are moderately affordable, and will provide any additional traction and security for traversing the high mountain passes in wintry weather. Another thing to remember is that good tires actually help increase gas mileage and decrease wear and tear on your engine.

3. Front Wheel Drive

million dollar harley.3Believe it or not, everyone in Colorado does not own a four wheel drive vehicle. Front wheel drive cars are usually more than adequate for travel any time of year along scenic highways. Granted, four wheel drive or even all wheel drive vehicles are great to have, and will add to your confidence in extreme weather conditions, but honestly, adverse weather in Colorado doesn't actually last all that long. There is a saying in Southwest Colorado, "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes, or drive ten miles." It couldn't be more true! Highway 550 is also an extremely popular scenic byway for motorcycle enthusiasts in the summer months. With its twisting, well graded meandering, it is an ideal adventure for any driver!

4. Windshield Washer Fluid

rainbow (1)Sounds silly, but trust me. There is nothing worse than running out of windshield washer fluid as you are following along a string of cars on a rainy day. Almost instantly, the back splash from the car in front of you has mixed with highway dust, and created close to no visibility. Make is a point to top off before getting on the road, and always have an extra gallon in the trunk.


5. Common Sense

million dollar highway crystal lakeThis is not meant to be insulting, nor to discount that sometimes accidents just happen. But, you wouldn't put your head in a tigers mouth(unless you are Siegfried or Roy), so consequently, when the sign says 15 miles an hour with a drawing of what looks like a pretzel, go ahead and slow down. I once asked a police officer, and he told me the largest number of accidents that occur on the Million Dollar Highway involved locals who have taken the road for granted, and forgotten how deceivingly beautiful it is. The fact is, just around any blind corner, there is always the possibility of some surprise waiting for you. Now, when approached at the specified speed limit, you will have more time to react to the Bambi convention at the summit by slowing down without a screeching of locked brakes and smoking tires.

bcl tbsThe Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, nestled in the southwest corner of Ouray, is the perfect resting place after a day of exploring the outstanding beauty of the San Juan Mountains! Let us be your home away from home, as you soak away the open road in our all natural mineral hot spring tubs, then stuggle up in your room to enjoy a movie or two chosen from our video library. Let our helpful front desk staff assist you in planning the perfect escape in this remarkable mountain town! 


Ouray, southwest colorado

Tags: scenic drives, san juan skyway, southwest colorado, colorado, box canyon falls, motorcycles, ouray colorado, san juan mountains, million dollar highway

October in Ouray County - the leaves are still falling! - update 10-10

Posted by Karen Avery on Sat, Oct 11, 2014 @09:21 AM

Fall Leaves Update for Southwest Colorado

fallfirstsnowIt seems as if the colors on the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton have passed their peak, but that's not to say the leaves have done changing!

The lower altitudes are still vibrant with oakbrush and still some aspen - the reds and golds and faded greens blending int a rainbow of Fall.

fallphotographerAs the colors change, so does the weather, but the jeep roads are still open, and the scenery magnificent in a whole new way.

There are still colors to be seen all around, so if you missed peak on the Million Dollar Highway, never fear!

fall red mtn pass.5msSan Juan National Forest Fall Color Report 2014 as of 10/10/2014:

Date: 10/10/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – 90% aspens peaking
Molas Pass - past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –70% aspens high, 90% cottonwoods along river 
Dolores to Rico – 85% peaking
Mancos – 90% peaking

jeep tourAreas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:

Purgatory to Durango.  Williams Creek Reservoir. 
North of Mancos.  West Dolores

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:

High country this weekend should be getting lower.  8-9,000 feet

The slightly lower areas below 8,000 ft look good.  Pagosa, Dolores, Mancos changing fast.

leavesViewing Suggestions / Tips:

This may be the last good weekend.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:

Aspens, oakbrush.  Willows and cottonwoods starting.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:

San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874


Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Rocky Mountain Region Fall Color page link
National Forest Service Color Finder page link


The 4WD roads are still open as well, and there are some companies who are taking guests for a snowfall tour! This is a little shorter than the typical half day, and a little less expensive as well. Give us a call at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and we will get your adventure arranged for you!

See You Soon!

Contact Us For The Perfect Fall Escape!

Tags: fall foliage, photography in ouray, southwest colorado, ouray, colorado, fall colors, 4WD, san juan mountains

Spring Fever In Southwest Colorado!

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Tue, May 06, 2014 @10:56 AM

Longer days and warmer weather beckon in the San Juan Mountains!

foals.3Spring is in its full glory. As Mother Nature stretches from a long winter nap, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the world is showing signs of preparation for the Summer season.

A scenic drive along highway 550, even just a few miles, shows the signs of the season to come. 

Calves and foals frolic in the fields along the highway, and the truly observant may catch sight of young wildlife as well!

Knowing that the high country has not yet had enough time for a safe adventure, something a little lower sounded like a fine idea. Time to jump in the car and see how far we could go!

After much debate, we decided to make an attempt at Buckhorn Lake, located just on the edge of Ouray County.

scenicdriveFollowing Highway 550 North towards Montrose, turn right onto Buckhorn Road (just after the Conoco station). The road curves a bit, but in just short time turns into a dirt road, and houses quickly become sparse.

The steep incline is easily traversable for a couple of miles, and the views are spectacular!

A sharp curve takes you to, well, close to the end of this adventure in the first week of May.

snowyroads2Sunlight hasn't had time to melt all of the snow, and the road becomes a little more demanding. 

Shifting into four-low, the first snow packed switchback was easy enough to overcome, but alas! A dry stretch was misleading, and another curve brought us to a patch of road we obviously weren't the first to attempt.

Tire tracks and footprints told a tale even the most inexperienced could easily read..someone got stuck...perhaps this was a good place to stop and let the dogs play before turning back for safer adventures.

view.2Some folks passed us by, eager to prove they could get to the lake at the top, and it was a short fifteen minutes before we waved to them as they headed back down. Apparently even the most adrenaline driven weren't willing to walk back down the mountain!

So, turning back, we drove a short distance before turning off onto a drier patch, leading to a campsite overlooking the valley below. 

It was a little breezy, but still short sleeve warm, and we wandered about for a while, enjoying the grid like view of Montrose and Colona, before hopping back into the car and heading home.

early flowersSpring is in the air, it was apparent from the number of others we passed on the road that we were not the only ones ready for such a beautiful day, and eager to escape into the high country, but also pleasant to see we were not alone in the decision not to put ourselves in danger as others headed back down for a drier picnic spot.

baby dearIt won't be long before all of the four wheel drive roads are open for the season, but until then, just like everyone else, we will have to keep an eye on the County websites as they update everyone on road conditions, and remember to always be safe. 


Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you to plan your next escape! We research the road and weather conditions daily to ensure the safety of our guests as they experience the majesty of the Uncompahgres. Ready with advice on hiking, off roading and dining options, the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is your perfect base camp for any adventure!


Ouray, southwest colorado

Tags: things to do in southwest colorado, scenic drives, southwest colorado, ouray, colorado, box canyon falls, day trips from Ouray, box canyon lodge & hot springs

Ten Favorite Wineries in Southwest Colorado

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sat, May 11, 2013 @09:56 PM

Southwest Colorado is filled with hard working entrepreneurs.

wine1People using creativity and imagination to stay in this area they love. A few of those creative groups are wine makers, cheese makers and chocolatiers. 5 years ago I opened a Bed and Breakfast in Ouray and started the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival. In both of these endeavors I got to know a lot of the great people in these fields.

There are so many great wineries it is hard to choose which ones to include in this blog. So I guess I will just tell you my favorites. West Elks Wine Country is the biggest wine country area near Ouray. You can check out a complete list of wineries in the area on their website http://www.westelksava.com/events.html as well as see events and locations for all the wineries.

wine2Stoney Mesa Winery is in Cedaredge in a beautiful setting of rolling hills and streams. They sit atop a mesa where their grapes grow in abundance surrounding their tasting room. They have won many awards for their fantastic wine. Bret is the wine maker and a brilliant one at that. He also has a winery in Grand Junction, Ptarmigan Vineyards.

Mountain View Winery and Garrett Estate Cellars are both in Olathe. Both wineries have some great wines and a huge selection. Olathe is famous for its sweet corn and a great sweet corn festival in Aug. Mountain View Winery also has orchards and great fruit that they use in making some of their sweeter wines.

Leroux Creek Inn and Vineyards  is a complete experience of cooking, wine tasting and Bed and Breakfast. Yvonne and Joanna are wonderful hosts. Leroux Creek is a biodynamic farm making great and unique wines.

wine3Jackrabbit Hill is an organic winery and distillery. They are up on Redlands Mesa and are a really fun experience. They have the most beautiful still. They are one of the first wineries in this area to start using kegs for their wine. Anna is a fabulous hostess.  Also while driving across Redlands Mesa you will find a buffalo and elk farm, High Wire Ranch. The best time to experience this farm is the Mother's Day Wine Trail. They really make some great meat.

Liliputian Winery is another great! They are right on Hwy 92 on the way to Hotchkiss. Lisa and her husband Scott make great wine. They have one really unique ginger wine which is perfect with Lisa's awesome sushi. They also have a local market and health food store on the property. Their parking markers are huge petrified logs! Very cool!

wine4Once you get to Paonia there are too many to do in 1 day so you should just plan a wine vacation. I am happy to be a tour guide for anyone interested in really experiencing the area for the low price of a bottle or 2 of wine.:)

Rhodes Vineyards is a must see. He is on a hill above Paonia and his tasting room is really special, a cool shed with great atmosphere including an old Indian Motorcycle. He also makes great wines, mostly reds and in the old school way without machines and technology. A really great experience. He also doesn't have a website or e-mail address, and doesn't accept credit cards, but he will take your check from anywhere. It is nice to have people who still trust others.

wine5Azura Cellars has a beautiful setting overlooking the valley. They have a great courtyard and tasting room with an art gallery. Their counter is a timeline of their around the world trip in a sail boat. Their wines are delicious, including their Chocolate Merlot Sauce, which is great on anything.

Stone Cottage Cellars is a great spot with their tasting room made from rocks off their property. They have a fantastic Gewurztraminer, one of the more popular grapes that grow in this area. They are a family operation as most of the wineries in the area are which is really cool.

wine7Terror Creek Winery is the highest elevation commercial vineyard in the world. They specialize in drier crisper wines. They have a fantastic view of the valley.

Black Bridge Winery  and Delicious Orchards are great places to go to taste a variety of local wines. Black Bridge Winery is a great place on the river in a little hallow. They also sell olive oils and lots of great locally made sauces, jams and food stuffs. Delicious Orchards makes their own hard cider which is really delicious. They also have a little cafe on the property and camping and picnicking areas. They also sell local produce, honey and cheeses, which leads into my next blog about local cheese makers. So stay tuned. 

About the Author: Faith Parry was born on a hippie commune in Southwest Colorado. After graduating with a degree in music, Faith has traveled extensively around the world, always finding her way home. She loves hiking, taking nature photos, baking, and throwing great parties. Faith founded the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival in Ouray 5 years ago; a fantastic party featuring all products from Colorado, which has quickly become an event not to be missed each winter. Faith recently joined our team at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. Come on up and meet her!

Tags: things to do in southwest colorado, southwest colorado, colorado, day trips from Ouray

Events this February in Ouray and Ridgway, Colorado

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 @09:25 PM

Enjoy a New Adventure in Southwest Colorado this February!

mt.abrams6February. The shortest month of the year. With only 28 days in the month, the activities are filling the calendar for Ouray and Ridgway. At the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, every day is Valentines Day, what with our awesome cedar tubs on the hillside, and our fantastic location, The Box Canyon is a perfect romantic escape, and this year, the month offers plenty of entertainment for couples and family alike!
From exciting performances at the Wright Opera House, to figure skating workshops at Rotary Park just outside of town, to karaoke, there is something for everyone in Ouray County this month!

Friday, February 1, 2013 - dZi Foundation presents Mountain Film on Tour

dzi logo6:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Wright Opera House in Ouray, Co
The dZi Foundation, a non- profit program out of Ridgway, Co is pleased to present hand selected films from the Telluride International Film Festival at the Wright Opera House on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2013. Different films will be played each night. This is definitely a film festival to see!
Tickets are $10.00 per night

Friday, February 1, 2013 - Chris Knight plays Trail Town Still

9:30 pm to ?? At the Trail Town Still 240 Palomino Trail, Ridgway, CO
With his fun and unique music, an evening with Ridgways own Chris Knight is sure to be great fun!

Saturday, February 2, 2013 - ZIKR Masters Class

zikr.dance.25:30 pm to 7:00 pm at Weehawken Ridgway, 630 N. Cora St, Ridgway, CO
Join fellow experienced dancers in class with the ZIKR Dance Ensemble, a dance company rich in cultural dance as well as original and contemporary pieces.

Saturday, February 2, 2013 - dZi Foundation presents Mountain Film on Tour

6:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Wright Opera House in Ouray, Co
The dZi Foundation, a non-profit program out of Ridgway, Co is pleased to present hand selected films from the Telluride International Film Festival at the Wright Opera House on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2013. Different films will be played each night. This is definitely a film festival to see!
Tickets are $10.00 per night

Sunday, February 3, 2013 - Super Bowl at the Sherbino

football4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway, Co
Watch the big game in style on the giant screen at this Super Bowl Party!

Sunday, February 3, 2013 - ZIKR Dance Ensemble

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Wright Opera House Ouray, Colorado
Enjoy a spectacular show as this highly acclaimed dance ensemble perform a variety of dances ranging from historic rituals to modern original works. Celebrate the beauty of dance and music when combined to capture the true nature of the art of dance.
Adults: $15.00, Students $5.00

Sunday, February 3, 2013 - ZIKR Dance Ensemble

zikr.dance7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Wright Opera House Ouray, Colorado
Enjoy a spectacular show as this highly acclaimed dance ensemble perform a variety of dances ranging from historic rituals to modern original works. Celebrate the beauty of dance and music when combined to capture the true nature of the art of dance.
Adults: $15.00, Students $5.00

Monday February 4, 2013 - Ouray Library Book Event: Blazing Ice with Author John H. Wright

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm in the San Juan Room at the Ouray Community Center, Ouray, Co
The Ouray City Council and the Ouray Public Library are pleased to sponsor this evening with author John H. Wright as he discusses his book “Blazing Ice: Pioneering the Twenty-First Century’s Road to the South Pole”.

Friday, February 8, 2013 - Movies at the Wright Opera House

7:30 pm to end at the Wright Opera House, Ouray, CO
Enjoy a new film in this beautiful historic theatre.

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - Jayme Stone “Room of Wonders”

jaymestonewithmamasissoko7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the Wright Opera House in Ouray, CO
Join two-time Juno Award winning performer Jayme Stone for a night of his latest music from around the world!
Tickets are $15.00 for Adults and $5.00 for Students, or take advantage of our Wright Opera House Special!

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - Mardi Gras at the Sherb with Joint Point

8:00 pm to 12:00 am at the Sherbino Theater, Ridgway, Colorado
Head down to the Sherbino and dance the night away with this amazing jam band based out of Telluride!
Cover Charge is $5.00 per person.

Friday, February 15, 2013 - Movies at the Wright Opera House

7:30 pm to end at the Wright Opera House, Ouray, CO
Enjoy a new film in this beautiful historic theatre.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 - Mountain Air Music Series Fundraiser

mountainair.logo7:00 pm to 11:00 pm at O’Brien’s Pub & Grill in Ouray, Co
Support the Mountain Air Music Series at this benefit hosted by the Ouray Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Ouray Elks Chili Cookoff

4:00 pm at the Ouray Elks Lodge, Ouray, Co
Enter for free to win the coveted prize of Best Chili, or just come and sample the many taste bud pleasing creations. Dinner and judging by the public is at 5:00 pm, with a silent auction and cash raffle later in the evening.
Entry is free, Dinner/Judging is Adults $10.00, Children 5-10 $5.00, or $25.00 for a family of four.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - ROCC Spaghetti feed Dinner

* spaghetti6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Ouray Community Center in Ouray, Co
Join guest speaker: NPR commentator Craig Childs for a talk focusing on Natural Science, Archaeology and journeys into the wilderness as you enjoy a fantastic spaghetti dinner.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Live Music at O’Brien’s Pub

8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at O’Brien’s Pub & Grill in Ouray, Co
An evening of toe tapping fun listening to the talented Rob Webster play the night away.

So come to Ouray County and enjoy the soothing mineral hot springs after a day of fun! Whether you are planning a romantic getaway, a winter sports extravaganza or a peaceful escape, let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help you plan your ideal Colorado Vacation this February!


Contact us to arrange your Winter Getaway in Ouray!

Tags: things to do in ridgway, things to do in southwest colorado, things to do with kids, ouray, colorado, things to do in winter, ouray event, things to do in ouray, things to do in ridgway colo

December 2012 Events in Ouray and Ridgway, Colorado

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Sun, Nov 25, 2012 @12:28 PM

Enjoy a Picture Perfect Holiday in The San Juan Mountains!

box canyon lodge winter in ourayWhen one imagines the perfect cover on a Christmas card, they don't have to look much further than any window in Ouray, Colorado in the winter!
After a storm, the clouds open up to a crystal clear sky; the sun beaming down on trees laden with snow. Sledding and skiing are within walking distance from anywhere in town, and a sense of Holiday Cheer permeates this Winter Wonderland.

Join us in Southwest Colorado for a taste of small town winter cheer this December!

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - 9th Annual Art Show and Sale

Start Time: 10:00 am End Time: 4:00 pm
Art Show & Gift Sale. 9th annual. Dec. 1, 10-4 pm. Ridgway Town Hall. Local Artists. Demonstrations, refreshments. Details, kathrynrburke.com/art.html. Information, 970-626-3982.

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - Gingerbread Houses - Ouray

gingerbread.house.2Start Time: 10:00 am End Time: 12:00 pm 
Enjoy the holiday tradition of Gingerbread House decorating with Weehawken and our partner, Voyager. Each registered family will receive a gingerbread house to decorate as they wish from a wide variety of candies, frosting and more. A $10/family donation is appreciated but not required to participate.
Contact: Weehawken Arts
Email: questions@weehawkenarts.org
Phone: 970-318-0150

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - Canyon Notes: A Library Benefit Featuring The Poetry of Beth Paulson

Beth.PaulsonStart Time: 5:00 pm End Time: 6:30 pm 
Join Beth Paulson for readings from her newly published poetry book Canyon Notes.Wine and light appetizers will be served. Please RSVP to OurayPL@gmail.com or call 325-4616.
Contact: Maureen O'Driscoll
Email: OurayPL@gmail.com
Phone: 970-325-4616

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - Movie at The Wright - "Magic Mike" Girls' Night Out followed by auction to help send Heidi Duce to the Special Olympics

Start Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 10:30 pm
A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money until he must decide between the life he knows and the girl he loves. Ladies, gather your friends and enjoy an evening of fun for a great cause! The movie will be followed by a LIVE bachelor auction. All proceeds will benefit local extreme athlete Heidi Duce to support her training for the 2014 Paralympics. Movie Price is $7.00 per person
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Saturday, December 1, 2012 - Music at the Sherbino: The Milemarkers

mile.markersStart Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 12:00 am 
The Milemarkers deliver high-quality Americana rock! Their skillfully crafted original songs have received praise from music promoters and musicians across the country.
Contact: Brian Scranton
Email: info@sherbinotheater.com
Phone: 970-201-8570


Sunday, December 2, 2012 - Gingerbread Houses- Ridgway

gingerbread.houseStart Time: 1:00 pm End Time: 3:00 pm
Enjoy the holiday tradition of Gingerbread House decorating with Weehawken and our partner, Voyager. Each registered family will receive a gingerbread house to decorate as they wish from a wide variety of candies, frosting and more. A $10/family donation is appreciated but not required to participate.
Contact: Weehawken Arts
Email: questions@weehawkenarts.org
Phone: 970-318-0150

Sunday, December 2, 2012 - Ouray County Chorus Christmas Concert

music noteStart Time: 7:00 pm 
Enjoy an evening of music and cheer at the Ouray County 4-H Center in Ridgway, Colorado. Holiday music to tap your toes to and sing along!
Contact: Loretta Casler
Email: loretta@aldea-art.com
Phone: 970-901-4204

Friday, December 7, through Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Yule Fest Victorian Christmas Weekend

elks.santa.5Start Time: 9:00 am End Time: 10:00 pm 
Ouray welcomes the holiday season with a long weekend of special events, shopping and winter cheer with Yule Fest Town will be aglow in decorated windows, twinkling lights and Santa’s chuckles. The weekend features holiday music various venues, a wine, chocolate and cheese celebration that supports local nonprofits, visits with Santa for the kids and the pets and great shopping opportunities at local small businesses, many of which feature holiday specials and events.
Contact: Ouray Chamber Resort Association
Email: ouray@ouraycolorado.com
Phone: 9703254746

Friday, December 7, 2012 - Movies at the Wright/Step Up To The Plate

step.up.to.the.plateStart Time: 7:30 pm End Time: 9:30 pm
Acclaimed French chef Michel Bras passes the torch (in this case his namesake restaurant) to his son Sébastien in this intimate documentary.
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - Wright Opera House --- Santa Paws, pets' pictures with Santa Claus, benefit for Second Chance Humane Society

Start Time: 1:30 pm End Time: 3:30 pm 
Bring your four legged friends to the Wright Opera House in Ouray this Yule Fest Weekend! Meet Santa, and donate to a great cause!
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - Yule Night visit with Santa/Chili supper

santa and reindeerStart Time: 5:00 pm 
Children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 5:00 PM, followed by chili supper beginning at 5:15. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Chili supper includes chili, cornbread, salad, dessert, beverage for $8/adults, $5 ages 5 - 12. Hot dogs and chips available if kids don't want chili.
Ouray Elks Lodge
421 Main St.
Ouray CO 81427
Contact: Jim Pettengill
Phone: 970-626-4239

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - 4th Annual Wine Chocolate and Cheese Fest

wine and chocolate.2011Start Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 10:00 pm
Join us for an evening of treats and delightful tastings of wine, chocolate, cheese and more! And an opportunity to buy the things you try! Dress in your best impression of Winter Wonderland and enter to win the most festively dressed. Vendors will be coming as far as Fort Collins! Music provided by Alternate Route. This event a benefits a different local non-profit each year. Deck the halls in Ouray on Dec. 8th 7 pm- 10 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 a the door.
Contact: Faith Parry
Email: coloradowinefest@gmail.com
Phone: 970-325-4913

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - Tony Rosario Band

tony rosarioStart Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 11:00 pm
The Sherbino Theatre in Ridgway is excited to present the talented musical stylings of Tony Rosario! Head on out to Ridgway for a night of Music and dancing.
Contact: Brian Scranton
Email: info@sherbinotheater.com
Phone: 970-201-8570

Saturday, December 8, 2012 - LIVE MUSIC-North Fork Flyers

north fork flyersStart Time: 9:00 pm End Time: 12:00 am 
O'Briens Pub is starting the season out right with one of the most popular musical groups in Southwest Colorado performing live thei Yule Fest weekend!
O'Brien's Pub & Grill
726 Main
Ouray CO 81427 USA

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Dolce Voce -- Holiday Voices

christmas tree box canyonStart Time: 2:00 pm End Time: 4:00 pm
Montrose based a capella choral group will entertain and delight us with a great assortment of holiday music from all ages. This will be a highlight of our season in Ouray County! Adults $10, Students $5
Contact: Sue Hillhouse
Email: ocpaginfo@gmail.com
Phone: 970-626-2970

Friday, December 14, 2012 - Movie at the Wright "The Flat"

Start Time: 7:30 pm End Time: 9:30 pm
When Arnon Goldfinger's grandmother died at 98, he was charged with cleaning out her Tel Aviv apartment, where he made a shocking discovery. The filmmaker plays detective as he sorts through decades of the Holocaust survivor's letters and photos.
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - Target Opening Day of Ouray Ice Park - Weather Permitting

The Ouray Ice Park (the Park) is a manmade ice climbing venue operated in a spectacular natural gorge just outside the town of Ouray, CO. It is home to more than 200 named ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15-minute walk of the Park entrance. Whether you are a seasoned climber, or new to the sport, the Ouray Ice Park is the premiere place to climb!

Email: info@ourayicepark.com
Phone: 970.325.4288

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - Christmas in the Park - Ridgway

Start Time: 11:00 am End Time: 3:00 pm 
Come visit Santa from noon til 2:00 pm with complimentary photo and gift bag. Kids crafts, face painting, holiday treats and Christmas Caroling.
Contact: Susan Leverenz
Email: susanleverenz@alpinebank.com
Phone: 970-369-5406

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - Movies at The Wright Opera House/Ballet in Cinema: The Bolshoi Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

nutcrackerStart Time: 2:00 pm 
Discover one of childhood's most celebrated tales in this beloved holiday ballet, brought to life by acclaimed dancers Vladimir Vasiliev, Yekaterina Maximova, Vyacheslav Gordeyev and Nadia Pavlova (with music by Peter Tchaikovsky). Watch Herr Drosselmeyer unwrap his magical gifts for Clara and Fritz, as well as the dance confections that emerge in Clara's dreams.
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Saturday, December 15, 2012 - The Sherbino Theater Presents: JOINT POINT!!!

sherbinoStart Time: 7:00 pm End Time: 12:00 am 
Joint Point is quickly becoming a coveted commodity for the hungry Colorado music scene. Catch the Point at the Sherbino!
Contact: Brian Scranton
Email: info@sherbinotheater.com
Phone: 970-201-8570

Friday, December 21, 2012 - Santa Delivers Stocking Stuffer Potluck

santa listStart Time: 6:00 pm 
Help stuff stockings for Santa Delivers (on Christmas Eve). Bring a dish to share. Everyone welcome. A Ouray tradition!
Contact: Jim Pettengill
Phone: 970-626-4239

Friday, December 21, 2012 - Suzanne Paris plays till the end at Trail Town Still

Start Time: 9:00 pm
Susanne Paris will play her awesome blues as we come to the "End of the World As We
Know It Party" on Dec 21st from 9pm-12am. Time to buy a new Mayan calendar (It seems I only just got the last one).
Trail Town Still is located at 240 Palomino Trail (behind the Conoco) in Ridgway and makes fine spirits from local ingredients. Yes, we have gift baskets!
Contact: Joe Alaimo
Email: still@trailtownstill.com
Phone: (970)626-3060

Monday, December 24, 2012- CHRISTMAS EVE

santa eveSanta and his elves are on the move!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012- CHRISTMAS DAY

christmas morningEnjoy Christmas at The Box Canyon! Wake to the serene beauty of a small Colorado Town, Share the spirit as you enjoy a cup of coffee in the soothing mineral hot springs, then enjoy a scenic drive before a decadent dinner at one of our fine dining establishments!

Saturday, December 29, 2012 - Concert - The Intervention Jazz Band

interventionband buyStart Time: 7:30 pm
Jazz Concert in the Wrighteous Jazz Series sponsored by Friends of the Wright Opera House and Ouray County Performing Arts Guild.
Email: linncolo@yahoo.com
Phone: 970-316-0028

Monday, December 31, 2012 - NEW YEARS EVE

fireworks in ouray coCelebrate New Years Eve in one of the most beautiful places in the country! Join your fellow revellers at one of the parties or dinners in the county, then "Ooh" and "Ahh" to the spectacular fireworks display at midnight in Ouray! Definately an experience not to be missed.

Local shops in Ouray and Ridgway offer a variety of original gift ideas for everyone! Wander the streets of these little villages and enjoy a different perspective on holiday shopping. Here are not the bulging aisles and frenzied crowds of a department store, angry florescent lights flickering overhead. Let the crisp mountain air usher you up and down Main Street, with the friendly smiles of shopkeepers as they assist you and your fellow guests in a leisurely quest for the perfect gift. 


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Tags: things to do in ouray colorado, things to do in ridgway, ouray music, southwest colorado, colorado, things to do in winter, san juan mountains, ouray event, ridgway event

Top Three Scenic Drives in Ouray, Colorado for Passenger Vehicles

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Thu, Sep 06, 2012 @09:47 PM

Take the back roads in Ouray County and see more in just a short drive!

Often referred to as the Jeeping Capital of the World, Ouray and the surrounding area boast over 500 miles of four wheel drive roads. Each trail is filled with spectacular scenery; a journey into the colorful past that is the Western Slope of Colorado. Abandoned mines, wildflowers, mountain lakes and waterfalls are just a few of the sights awaiting you on any given trail.

scenic drives in a sedan campbird mine road
Although many of these roads require the higher clearance of a four wheel drive, and are more fun if you take a jeep or a tour, there are several county roads off the beaten track that can be travelled in a regular passenger car. These are three of my favorite short drives which are easily accessed and won't damage your vehicle:

River Road (County Road 17) from Ouray to Ridgway

oak street county road 17Drive time: ½ hour to an hour

Ever wonder how people get to the houses you see on the west side of Highway 550 north of Ouray? This road starts in Ouray as Oak Street, and is best to begin at the southwest corner of town near the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. Travel up over Oak Street and the view of the town below is a spectacular way to begin the journey to Ridgway. Travel along the river for a short distance, the
road curves toward highway 550. At this junction, take the left curve which will take you back and up past the Black Lakes Subdivision, look down on Idlewild and finally into the open ranchland surrounding Ridgway. When you get to the base of the hill, you can either turn right, back to highway 550, or continue the back road all the way into Ridgway, exiting onto Highway 62. The majority of this drive is past private property, but the views are amazing and well worth the drive.

county road 1 ourayCounty Road 1 from Ridgway to Colona

Drive Time: 1 to 2 hours

County Road 1 is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in Ouray County. Accessible by several routes in and around Ridgway Colorado, this road takes you up past the Divide Golf Course, meadows and ranchland, displaying the true diversity of landscape Colorado is famous for. 

Perfect for viewing Fall Foliage, try driving County Road 24 first, then just follow the signs to Divide Golf Course. Instead of turning in at the clubhouse, just continue on the main road which will eventually exit onto Highway 550 at Colona. Turn right to head back to Ouray.

chimney rock county road 10Owl Creek Pass to Silver Jack Reservoir (County Road 10) 

Drive time: non-stop, about 2 hours, but easily a half day drive

Definitely a favorite for all of the history connected to this road, not to mention the fantastic scenery, County Road 10 can be accessed either off of Highway 550 about 2 miles north of Ridgway, or for the more adventurous, take County road 12 just south of the town of Ridgway's only traffic light, and circle up 12A which exits out onto county road 10. Take a right, and continue your adventure.

Beyond ranches as the road begins to climb, the entire valley is spread before you, it just gets better and better on this drive with the first glimpse of Chimney Rock. Entering the more forested portion of this drive, you can't miss Deb's Meadow, the scene of the famous shootout in the original "True Grit" movie. The road continues on to picnic spots by the river, and Silver Jack reservoir, a beautiful mountain lake. This road actually continues beyond this point, but gets a little rougher, and may not be as much fun in a passenger car.



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Tags: fall foliage, scenic drives, colorado, box canyon lodge & hot springs colorado, day trips from Ouray, san juan mountains, fishing

39th Annual Imogene Pass Run from Ouray to Telluride

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 @01:34 PM

September 8, 2012, Athletes from Across the Country Continue a Years Old Tradition in Southwest Colorado.

ricktrujilloIn 1974, Rick Trujillo, a local working at the Campbird Mine, decided to finish his day off with a quick run over to Telluride. He was training for the Pikes Peak Marathon, and thought this would be a great run. The competitive nature of Southwest Colorado miners took over, and less than a month later, six men participated in the first annual "Imogene Pass Mountain Marathon".

Imogene Pass Run is a 17.1 mile course beginning in the center of Ouray, and travelling over a mountain pass which most people these days will only travel by four-wheel drive vehicles about three or four months out of the year. It is impossible to not admire the hardiness of the athletes who decide to run each year, averaging a time of two to three hours to run a trail that peaks at an elevation of 13,120 ft, an altitude most people find difficult to breath at just walking! Of course, this is also one of the most scenic races in Colorado. As racers traverse the steep terrain, they cannot help but take in the absolute majesty of the San Juan Mountain Range, climbing above timberline, and confronted with the sense of being on top of the world, surrounded by blue skies and mountain peaks as far as the eye can see.

imogene pass runSeptember is an interesting time in the high country of the Rocky Mountains. You never know exactly what the weather is going to do - and often it will change numerous times as you travel higher. Regardless of whether it is a beautiful sunny day down here at 7800 ft, runners may experience every type of change as they climb the rugged peaks, and descend down into Telluride, a mere 8820 ft. It is not unheard of for the race to be cancelled due to snow (granted this doesn't happen often), and people have been treated for hypothermia (not since 2002 though). Because of the safety issues when runners are not properly prepared, the rules have been changed a bit since that first little race to accommodate the approximate 1500 runners who now compete in this demanding run.

imogene pass run volunteersThe race of course is not only made up of runners. Every year, volunteers organize to provide food and water to competitors as they traverse the mountains. Six aid stations are scattered along the trail, and generous people bundle up against whatever the weather may offer, waiting to ensure a safe and exciting run.

The Box Canyon Lodge is an active supporter for the Imogene Pass Run, and is a perfect location for athletes participating in the race. Centrally located to some of the best trails in town, and convenient to the starting point of the Imogen Run, the Box Canyon also boasts four natural mineral hot spring tubs, a great place for runners to recover after the race.
Buses transport runners back to Ouray from Telluride for free until 2:30 on the day of the race, and registration began on June 1, 2012. For more information on how you can participate, go to: http://www.imogenerun.com/volunteer.htm

imogene pass run logo

See you there!


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Tags: southwest colorado, ouray, colorado, san juan mountains, ouray event

Ridgway Colorado: Loghill Lungbuster Challenge - Bicycling Event

Posted by Karen Avery on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 @11:24 AM

Bicycle Time Trial in Ouray County Colorado

Calling all Bicyclists!

Bicyclists of all ages, sizes and tire preferences should start training now for the first-ever Log Hill Lungbuster Challenge, a time trial and fund raiser for the Ouray County Historical Society.

loghill lungbuster logoThe event is slated for Sunday, September 16.  This is a new kind of fundraiser for OCHS, one that capitalizes on the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts who both live and visit Southwest Colorado. The Ouray County Historical Society has long worked to uphold its Mission Statement: "Dedicated to preserve, protect, procure, exhibit, and interpret whatever relates to the natural, social, and cultural history of Ouray County and the adjacent San Juan Mountain Region of Colorado." The Lungbuster Challenge is yet another step in history, as locals are more and more involved in outdoor recreation. It is the hope of OCHS to make this an annual event, bringing people to Ouray County to compete year after year.

loghill lungbuster mapThe competition route starts at the Old Schoolhouse Emporium on West Sherman Street in Ridgway, then follows a 15 mile course west out of town on Highway 62 and CR 24A.  At CR 1, bikers will follow the road's steep serpentine ascent up Log Hill escarpment, ride around the various subdivisions of Log Hill, and finish at the Divide Ranch and Country Club.

Both mountain biking (fat tires) and road cycling (skinny tires) are popular in the area so they will both be welcome.

The Ridgway Lungbuster Challenge will be in the form of a time trial, in which contestants start at intervals of about one minute apart. Then each rider races against the clock.  Best time awards will be given in both fat tire and skinny tire divisions and there will be subcategories for gender and ages.

loghill lungbuster posterParticipants will receive a custom pair of wicking bicycling socks as well as a very colorful  t-shirt with the Lungbuster logo on the front.  This is in addition to the energy drinks, water and nourishment offered at the one supported "rest stop" at mile 6 as well as the fun and festivities at the finish line near the Divide Ranch and Club on Loghill Mesa.

While you are in Ouray County, be sure to check out some of the many other activities, shops and restaurants the area has to offer! From driving the Million Dollar Highway, to taking a tour of the sets of the original John Wayne film 'True Grit', hiking, jeeping, mountain biking, and long soothing soaks in the mineral hot springs scattered throughout the county, the list of fun goes on and on.

The race's $40 registration fee will benefit the Ouray County Historical Society.  For further information and to register for the event, contact the Historical Society at (970) 325-4576 or visit their website at http://www.loghilllungbusterchallenge.com


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Tags: southwest colorado, ouray, colorado, ridgway event

Annual Rodeo and Fair Returns to Ouray County!

Posted by Maria Ziemba on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 @10:11 AM

Recapture a feel for the Old West in Southwest Colorado this year at the Ouray County 4-H Fair & Rodeo!

This year, the Ouray County Fair theme is "Living the Dream, the Ouray County Way", and that is just what participants are going to do this year!

classic apple pieWhether you are a full blown city dweller, or a complete outdoor enthusiast, most likely you played "Cowboys and Indians" at least once in your childhood. Something about a rodeo seems to recapture the excitement and innocence of a new country beginning to stand on its own two feet, something as American as Baseball and apple pie, which reminds me, don't miss the Pie Baking competition!

ouraycountyfairshowKids from all over Ouray County bring animals from rabbits and chickens to pigs and steers, which they have raised and trained themselves, for judging and ultimately to sell at a livestock auction held on the last day. Having participated myself in 4-H, it is fun to see the club still running strong and teaching kids the importance of responsibility and hard work. At the end of the competitions, there is a Livestock Sale, which can be quite fun to watch, as the auctioneer entices the audience to bid higher. There are several classes of livestock to be judged, from market animals, to breeders, to horsemanship. There is also a dog show at 8:00am on Saturday, August 4, 2012.

ridgway.rodeoThere is a lot of debate as to where the first rodeo was held in the United States. Cities from Pecos, Texas to Deer Trail, Colorado vie for the distinction of home to the Rodeo. Regardless of where the event was first held, Rodeos across the country can all take pride in upholding the tradition and history of the American West. Ridgway does not try to pretend it was the first, only that it is one of the longest running and most famous. For decades, cowboys have travelled from all over the country to compete in this world class event.

hotdogsandbeerouraycountyBooths offering everything from hot dogs and beer to that special piece of memorabilia to commemorate a great weekend are scattered about the fair grounds, as well as fun activities for the kids, and animals every where! Watch the bull riding event, and enjoy the antics of the Rodeo Clowns as they work to keep competitors safe, and the crowds cheering.

The final schedule of events for this years rodeo has not yet been released, however it should be similar if not identical to the 2011 schedule. Keep checking in for an update, but for reference, 2011 events are below.

Aug. 31: Booth Set-Up, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sept. 1: Booth Set-Up, 10 a.m. to 12 noon., Horse Show, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fair Entries Open Class, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Judging Begins at Exhibit Hall, 1 p.m. Tractor Pull, 6 p.m.

Sept. 2: Exhibit Hall Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Livestock Entries and Weigh-in, 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Poultry and Rabbit Judging, 12:30 p.m. Goats, Yaks and Bucket Calf Judging, 2 p.m. Swine Show, 5 p.m. Sheep Lead, 6 p.m. Livestock Carcass Contest Measuring, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Carcass Educational Seminar, 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 3: Exhibit Hall Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sheep and Beef Judging Begins, 9 a.m. Round Robin Showmanship and Best Fitted, 1:30 p.m. Parade of Champions, 3:15 p.m.

Livestock Sale (terms: cash), 3:30 p.m.

Contact: Susan Long
Email: slong@ouraycountyco.gov
Phone: 970-626-3306

Location Details

4-H Event Center
22739 Hwy 550
Ridgway Colorado 81432 Ouray


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Tags: things to do in ridgway, things to do in southwest colorado, things to do with kids, ouray, colorado, ouray event, things to do in ouray, ridgway event