Fall in Ouray
It's Gold Season!
After an amazing summer, we are happy to welcome back the cool nights, blue skies and golden hillsides of fall. Peak leaf season will be happening in Ouray and along the San Juan Skyway Scenic & Historic Byway until mid-October. Fall provides so many amazing things to do but let's start off with some of our favorite photo stops for fall color:
Some of our favorite photo stops along the way are:
- along the Ironton Valley for the iconic Red Mountains and historic mining structures
- at the summit of Molas Pass for views into the Weminuche Wilnderness
- near the summit of Lizard Head Pass for endless meadows backed by 14,000-foot peaks like Mt. Wilson.
- ...and the Dallas Divide between Ridgway and Telluride for an iconic view of Mt. Sneffels
Touch the Mountains
Ouray’s mountains are right at your front door, so if you crave adventures that take you away from the pavement, here are some unique ways to fill your days in the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado. All of these adventures are family-friendly, so don’t forget to bring the kids along! Regardless of what your adventures might be, at the end of each day Ouray’s charming and historic downtown will be waiting for you with delicious food, delightful shopping and a relaxing soak in our sulfur-free hot springs. Stay a few days and explore everything the San Juan Mountains have in store for you.
Here are five unique ways you can celebrate fall.
1. Soak in the Views: Nothing beats a hot springs soak to start or end a day of adventures. We invite you to experience the Ouray Hot Springs Pool with beautiful views of Mt. Abram, the Sandias and the Amphitheater. While you're here, explore all five of our and private Ouray County hot springs. If you need even more heat, extend your Colorado stay, and travel the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop.
2. Break out your trail shoes & camera: If you're looking a great fall color hike (and you've already ticked-off the must-do Ouray Perimeter Trail) try out the gentle Mears Trail near the historic Ironton Townside and Crystal Lake just 7 miles south of Ouray. Don't forget to take lots of pictures and learn how we Leave No Trace in Colorado so that we can preserve the beautiful landscape and historical buildings for generations to come.
3. Crag Hop in Town: While Ouray is probably best known for its ice climbing, the mountains surrounding Ouray are home to some incredible alpine mountaineering and rock climbing routes, with many of them right in town! Fall is a perfect time to bask in the warm sunshine in town. Try sport climbing at Rotary Park, in the Sandias or on the Pool Wall and challenge yourself on multi-pitch climbs in the Uncompahgre Gorge. There are areas for beginners and families and an ever growing number of high quality routes for more advanced climbers. Be sure to check in with one of our local guide services or take a bouldering break at Basecamp Ouray in town to learn the basics safely. Always wear a helmet, and check out our bookstore and outdoor shop for the latest edition of local guidebooks. (Don’t forget to come back in winter, when the Ouray Ice Park offers endless blue ice to climb.)
4. Celebrate Oktoberfest: Every first Saturday in October, Ouray welcomes fall with a family-friendly celebration. This year, we're celebration on Saturday, October 5, 2019, 5-9 PM at the Ouray Community Center. Break out your dirndls and lederhosen and join us at the Ouray Community Center for polka fun and sing-alongs with the Austrian Connection, authentic German brats, potato salad & sauerkraut, door prizes, kids' activities, costume and Stein hoisting competitions.
5. Celebrate the Spooky Season: Ouray's Victorian downtown is filled with original historic buildings, hotels, homes, and the ghost stories that go with them. Tales circulate about mysterious sounds, activities and sightings at the Ouray County Courthouse, the Ouray Historical Society Museum, the Beaumont Hotel, the Historic Western Hotel, just to name a few. Although the building is new, the Ouray Alchemist offers a unique collection of pharmaceutical artifacts that include leech bowls and other frightening tools and “cures” of frontier medicine. Visit one of the San Juan Mountains’ many ghost towns and experience the haunting beauty of these abandoned buildings and mine sites under crystal blue skies and the fading golden leaves of autumn. This time of year you have the added spooky advantage of having many of them all to yourself.
At the end of each day, come home to Ouray for delicious food, craft beer, spirits, coffee and chocolates, delightful shopping and, of course, relaxing soak. Stay a few days and explore everything the San Juan Mountains have in store for you!
Bonus: Live like a local
Ouray County may just hold the title for most craft brewers per capita in Colorado, and it’s a distinction we’ll gladly claim. With 3 breweries, 2 distilleries, 3 coffee roasters and 2 chocolatiers to our 4,500 locals, we definitely like our craft beverages and sweets! Tempt your beer taste buds and sweet tooth more after the link!
Ouray has been a special destination of world travelers for more than 100 years. This small intimate community is nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies. Set at the narrow head of a valley at 7,792 feet and surrounded on three sides with 13,000 foot snowcapped peaks - Ouray is home to hundreds of miles of historic hiking trails and Jeep roads, sulfur-free hot springs with stunning views and the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.
Remarkably, two-thirds of Ouray's original Victorian structures, are still occupied, and have been lovingly restored in order to preserve their turn-of-the-century charm.