Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

Endless Trails and Views

Nothing can compare to the solitude of a cross-country ski or snowshoe under a full moon along miles of groomed and ungroomed Nordic trails in Ironton Park, just south of Ouray. Top of the Pines, set on a high mesa meadow near Ridgway, also offers miles of trails groomed for skate skiing. You can also rent a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and explore the trails and roads of the Amphitheater right from town or pack up your backpack and set out on an overnight hut or yurt trip.

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snowshoeingPhoto Courtesy of Box Canyon Blog

Cross-country Ski areas near Ouray

Beginner - conditions vary
Ouray Uncompahgre River Park Trail- North Ouray
Ridgway State Park

Beginner to intermediate - Marked & groomed trails
Ironton Park- Hwy 550 South of Ouray

Beginner to intermediate - Unmarked trails
Miller Mesa -Cnty Rd.5, Ridgway

Intermediate to expert - Unmarked trails
Ouray Amphitheatre- Hwy 550 South of Ouray

Ouray County Nordic Council

The Ouray County Nordic Council is a division of the Ouray Trails Group, a local community-based, non-profit organization composed of skiing and hiking enthusiasts. The organization is dedicated to encouraging safe, enjoyable hiking and other low-impact outdoor recreational activities in the San Juan Mountains and helping to protect the beauty and other resource values of this area. Please visit the Ouray County Nordic Council for more information.

cross country skiingPhoto Courtesy of Top of the Pines

Avalanche Hazards

The San Juan Mountains are noted for their often unstable snow conditions which, when combined with their steep slopes, makes for extremely hazardous avalanche areas. Avalanches may occur on almost any slope if loaded with snow, so no terrain is completely risk free. Even small hillocks or roadside grades can pose as much of a hazard to the hiker or skier as the larger, more easily recognized avalanche chutes. Therefore, if venturing off the relatively safe groomed trails, you should learn to recognize and avoid potential avalanche slopes and terrain traps, carry and know how to use avalanche beacons, probes and a shovel, and of course, never ski or snowshoe alone. Before setting off on any outing, check out the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) in Durango for current mountain weather, snow and avalanche conditions in this area.

If you don't have the proper equipment, both cross-country can be purchased or rented at Ouray Mountain Sports on Main Street. If you wish to call ahead of time, you can contact them at 970.325.4284.

Remember that venturing into the winter backcountry is inherently hazardous and you are traveling at your own risk, even on groomed trails. Prepare yourself accordingly and don't exceed the capability of the least experienced in your party.

Purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card, available from local merchants for $3 per year, which helps reimburse the local Search And Rescue for rescue costs. Respect private property and historic structures. And, above all, enjoy yourself and our beautiful San Juan Mountains. 

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