Ouray Ice Park
The Best Ice Climbing in Colorado
From mid-December through mid-March Ouray is full of climbing activity and good cheer, with “Have an Ice Day” greeting you from almost every open merchant and lodger’s window. Ice is copius in the San Juan Mountains but Ouray features something extra-special - the Ouray Ice Park. Jim Donini, former president of the American Alpine Club, calls the Ouray Ice Park “the best venue in the world to develop ice-climbing skills,” and it’s easy to see why. The Ice Park is home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15-30 minute walk from downtown Ouray. There are many opportunities to pick up the sport, you can hire an experienced local guide or attend one of the many seasonal clinics that have something for every group from beginner to expert, kid to adult, able-bodied to amputee.
The Ice Park is an engineering marvel, utilizing a gravity-fed plumbing system that routes more than 150,000 gallons of water a night to “farm” and maintain the famous blue ice. The Park is a non-profit supported by memberships; more information is available at the Ouray Ice Park.
The Ouray Ice Park is just south of Ouray off of Camp Bird Road. Rentals and guide services are available locally.
A few facts to tempt your secret inner ice climber:
First, the Ouray Ice Park is free to use. While guided clinics and lessons are recommended for all beginners, the park itself remains a free playground for everyone who climbs there.
Second, the Ouray Ice Park offers beginning to advanced routes, so climbers of all skill levels can spend a full day learning and perfecting their techniques.
Finally, the Ouray Ice Park is actually located inside Ouray city limits. The park is only a 5-10 minute walk from Main Street, which means that you can enjoy a lesson in the morning, pop into town for a hot lunch, head back in the early afternoon for some fun climbing then end your day in one of our local hot springs to soak away the day’s adventure.
Climbing clinics and lessons are offered for every age and climber throughout the season. The Kid’s Climbing College offers free climbing opportunities for youth ages 8-17 on special weekends, Chicks With Picks offers a number of women’s clinics, Paradox Sports offers adaptive programs, and the Ouray Ice Festival in January offers clinics during the event.