Summertime in the San Juan Mountains
Enjoy Ouray's Watery Wonders this Summer
June is waterfall season in the San Juan Mountains. When the high country snows begin to melt, Nature’s faucets turn on full force in the San Juan Mountains. The craggy folds and steep cliffs are perfect for funneling the spring runoff into spectacular waterfalls. Don’t miss the quick hikes to Cascade Falls, the Box Cañon Waterfall and Park and the Baby Bathtubs cascades right in town. If that just whet your appetite, take a trip along the San Juan Skyway Historic and Scenic Byway, where waterfalls appear at almost every turn, or a Jeep Tour up into Yankee Boy Basin where you not only see waterfalls like the scenic Twin Falls but you’re likely to drive under one, too!
Our famous sulfur-free Ouray Hot Springs Pool is fully open after a complete renovation. Plan a trip to just soak in the new pools or disappear into one of our five local springs after a big day of adventures.
Rafting – Get your perfect whitewater fix by taking advantage of our local whitewater at the right time.
June - Experience Class III-IV whitewater and miss the crowds. Run-off is at its peak and fewer vacationers are out on the water. Join a regional guide service for the best experience.
June-September - Get out with the whole family and enjoy splashy whitewater on a Class II-III half-day Uncompahgre River trip and still have time for other adventures like a horseback trail ride. Or plan a full day of adventure and explore our peaceful desert canyons in an inflatable kayak or Stand Up Paddle Board.
July-September - When river flows drop, the river tubing season starts on the Uncompahgre River! Enjoy a fun splashy day with the whole family on a relaxing stretch of river.
…and don’t forget the world class fishing on our local rivers, reservoirs and high alpine lakes!
SUP (Stand Up Paddle-Boarding) - One of the hottest trends in outdoor water sports is Stand Up Paddle-Boarding, and the scenic reservoir at Ridgway State Park is the perfect location to try it for the first time. Our local outfitters in Ridgway offer rentals and lessons.
Equipment & Boat rentals - Plan a day on the reservoir at Ridgway State Park and get the whole family out on the water. Rentals are available for a variety of watercraft, from motor boats to kayaks.
Canyoning: Canyoning is a unique Ouray and San Juan Mountain Adventure that describes the sport of descending steep alpine canyons filled with water: plummeting over cliffs, cascading down tight rapids, and swirling around deep, cold turquoise pools.
A summer of trails
Four-Wheeling: Ouray is proud of its long 4x4 history and designation as the “Jeeping Capital of the World.” Since the 1940’s, 4x4 vehicles and Jeep tours have been crisscrossing the San Juan Mountains as adventurers explore the rugged mining trails, ghost towns, and spectacular scenery. Waterfalls, wildflowers, stunning vistas and historic mining structures await those who venture into the mountains. The trails are just getting going, so be sure to keep up on the openings here.
Don’t forget – you can win a Jeep in Ouray, too! The 54th Annual Jeep Raffle is live with a lovely silver Jeep Wrangler as the prize. Get your tickets and more details here.
Summer Hikes: With miles of hiking trails accessible right from town, Ouray is a hiker’s paradise. Here’s a sneak peak of one of our favorite waterfall hikes for June and early July. The Sutton Mine Trail is a moderate five mile out-and-back hike that starts just up from the Ouray Perimeter Trail along Camp Bird Road (CR 361). On the steep ½-mile up to the Ouray Overlook, keep an eye out for blooming cactus and strawberries. Rests for trail snacks are always allowed! Once you gain the high bench, you’ll cross two creeks – look up for the cascades – and then get a breathtaking overlook of Bear Creek Falls along Highway 550. Beyond the overlook, you’ll find the Neosho Mine and its historic outbuildings. Return the way you came and enjoy the views in reverse!
Horsing Around: Enjoy the San Juan Mountains on horseback with everything from a 1-hour starter trip to overnight pack trips into the wilderness.
History & Heritage
Don’t miss out on amazing mining, ranching, Native American and railroad history in Ouray County this summer. From the incredible geology of Box Cañon Falls Waterfall and Park, to the layers of local history at the Ouray County Historical Society, to two mine tours that take you deep into the mountain, to countless Ghost Towns and museums of Railroad and Ranching history, we have your summer learning covered. Some other fun history treats: The True Grit Film History Tour in Ridgway on Fridays, and the Evenings of History on Tuesday evenings in the summer at the Wright Opera House.
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 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.