Welcome Home to Ouray
If what you're seeking is a small town sense of community, a fabulous place to raise a family, a transition of the mind and heart and spectacular mountain living, then Ouray may be the ideal place to call home. There's a reason we're known as both the Switzerland of America and the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado.
Ouray is located at an elevation of 7,760 feet nestled in the San Juan mountain range of southwest Colorado on State Hwy 550. Located between Grand Junction (90 miles to the north) and Durango (75 miles to the south), Ouray is well-connected to larger transportation corridors (especially Interstate-70 to the north) and is within a six-hour drive of major metropolitan centers like Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT and Albuquerque, NM. Excellent air service is provided by regional airports in Montrose (MTJ), Telluride (TEX), Gunnison (GUC), Grand Junction (GJT) and Durango (DRO) with larger international hubs in Denver (DEN), Salt Lake City and Albuquerque (ABQ).
Ouray is a self-sufficient community with both city and county government services located within the City limits, a free public library, historical museum, public parks, four local hot springs, including the community-oriented Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Fitness Center, financial institutions, a number of churches, grocery, liquor, and supply stores, service stations, a theater, book stores and gift shops, a wide variety of lodging and dining options and a strong local craft beverage presence. It's a walkable city, with the historic downtown core only 12 blocks long and six blocks wide, so locals are able walk to most amenities.
Local news and communication sources include the Ouray County Plaindealer, KURA Radio, MountainChill Radio, CenturyLink telephone service, Ouraynet & CenturyLink internet service, U.S. Post Office, UPS, Federal Express, and excellent satellite television reception.
Ouray County has 542 square miles of land area with 7 people per square mile and a high percentage of federal and state park lands and recreational systems, including the Ouray, RAT, Ouray Nordic, Top of the Pines and San Juan Huts trails systems, the Bear Creek National Recreation Trail, the Ouray Ice Park, Rotary Park & Ice Rink, Box Canyon Waterfall & Park, Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, the Uncompahgre National Forest and the Mount Sneffels and Uncompahgre Wilderness Areas. The San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway, the off-road Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway and the Great Parks and Western Express bicycle routes also cross through Ouray County.
In 2013, the estimated population for the City of Ouray was 1,013. The most recent population estimates (2013) for Ouray County and Ridgway were 4,557 and 932, respectively. For the most-recent employment, real estate and community statistics, please review the most recent US Census data here. (Since the City of Ouray has a population less than 5,000, census data only extends to Ouray County. The Colorado State Demographer's Office also provides an excellent regional socioeconomic profile here.)
Ouray averages 22.7 inches of annual precipitation a year. Typically this includes around 150 inches of annual snowfall. With an average of 285 days of sunshine, most days are sunny and bright. Summer highs are rarely above 85 and lows are in the 50's. Winter highs are in the 40's with lows in the high-teens. The air is dry with low humidity.
Ouray County is home to a number of skilled health care providers, highly-trained volunteer emergency medical technicians, and volunteer fire department and mountain rescue teams. There are two medical centers and a pharmacy in nearby Ridgway, 9 miles north of Ouray. Ouray County Public Health office offers immunizations, well-child checks, education, WIC, and emergency preparedness coordination. Call 970.325.4670 for more information.
For more advanced health care, Montrose Memorial Hospital is located in Montrose, 35 miles north of Ouray. Additional hospitals and larger medical facilities are located in Delta and Grand Junction to the north and in Durango to the south.
Employment & Entrepreneurship
Ouray's largest employers are the government, education, and tourism sectors. With the widespread availability of wireless and wired internet (as well as in-progress broadband upgrades), Ouray is also an excellent place for the telecommuting professional. It's a city where an incredible quality of life pairs with global connectivity.
Ouray is part of a whole southwestern Colorado region that is known for connected and creative entrepreneurs. Region 10, our six-county economic development COG, is a great resource for entrepreneurs looking to relocate in our area, with free business assistance through the Small Business Development Center and a Small Business Loan Fund. Award-winning Proximity co-working spaces exists in Ridgway and Montrose and a new co-working/living space for creatives is in the plans for Ridgway.
Ouray offers an outstanding Preschool and K-12 education. High academic performance ratings and state distinctions reflect the emphasis that our school places on educational standards. The administration and staff are dedicated to providing a safe learning environment for the students and small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios allow for individual student attention. Graduation rates are 95% to 100% and accountability rates are high. For more information regarding the Ouray Schools, click here, and for a comparison with other state school districts search the state school district dashboard here.