Canyons, Rocks & Peaks

Write Your Own Cliffhanger

Although Ouray is known for ice-climbing in the winter, the warmer months offer many uncrowded rocky adventures in the San Juan Mountains. The mountains surrounding Ouray are home to some of the finest alpine mountaineering and rock climbing routes in all of Colorado, some of it right in town! The San Juans also boast the highest concentration of 14ers (14,000-foot peaks) in the state of Colorado, and many of our 13,000-foot peaks are equally spectacular. A summit photo from the top of Mount Sneffels, Uncompahgre or Vestal Peak is a treasured souvenir and reminder of the adventure, good company and incredible beauty of our mountains.

If you’ve never thought a climbing adventure is for you, we hope that you reconsider. Check in with one of our local guide services and let them teach you the ropes and advise you on the best conditions. If you’ve already caught the climbing bug and need more resources, check in with our bookstore and outdoor shops for the latest editions of the local maps and guidebooks.

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rock climbing ouray coloradoPhoto courtesy of San Juan Mountain Guides

Ouray’s newest claim to fame is the abundance of steep, watery, alpine canyons that cut through our landscape. Over the past few years Ouray has become a world-renowned destination for canyoning, which is basically descending canyons using climbing techniques like rappelling, down-climbing, scrambling, and the added thrill of swimming through rapids and sliding into pools. What makes Ouray's canyons so unique is that they all involve water, and many exit right downtown! This a perfect year to try canonying for the first time with the Rendezvous International of Canyoning coming to Ouray in August.

Ouray continues to build on its reputation for having some of the best rock climbing around. There are great areas for beginners and families in town and an ever growing number of high quality routes for more advanced climbers. If you’re not a climber, you can watch them on the “Pool Wall” to the east of Ouray from the comfort of the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. An added bonus is easy access to the world-class climbing in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the spectacular via ferrata in Telluride.

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