Winter Adventures in the Land of Ice & Steam
Photo credit: Taylor Franta
With a blanket of snow and the ethereal blue glow of the famous Ouray Ice Park, Ouray has officially bundled up for a fantastic winter season. Most of our visitors enjoy the gorgeous summer days and cool nights, but our town doesn’t close for the winter. Learn more about our amazing, uncrowded winter adventures. What better way to start off the new year than a getaway to Ouray?
Come for a mid-week break and see why USA Today just put us at number 8 in their Top 10 Winter Wonderlands! It's never been easier getting here, with direct flights into Montrose during the winter season from major hubs all around the country, including Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Charlotte and Salt Lake City. For all flights over to the Colorado Flights Alliance schedule page.
Have a (N)Ice Adventure
Cold temperatures and expert “farming” combine each year to make the ice conditions in the Uncompahgre River Gorge superb for the fast-growing sport of ice climbing. Most of the photos you see of Ouray’s official winter sport can be a little intimidating. Granted, world class athletes do come to Ouray and can be seen hanging at crazy angles from their ice axes, traversing impossibly thin rock faces and icicles with their almost supernatural skills. But what you may not realize when you look at these pictures is that Ouray is actually the perfect place to try out ice climbing for the first time, or to improve your skills with the help of our local guides. It’s even better when you invite a whole group of friends to join you. The Park is open and waiting for you, so give yourself the gift of a new adventure this year! Here are a few more facts to temp your secret inner ice climber.
Ski without the crowds
Nothing can compare to the solitude of a cross-country ski 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. The Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton also offers access to incredible backcountry skiing terrain, with accessible day-trip access to untouched powdery runs right off the highway. To really get away from it all, pack up your backpack and set out on an overnight hut or yurt trip. From mountain rustic to European chic, our regional huts can be reserved for your ski party. Explore our on-the-snow adventures here.
Soak in the Wintry Views
The Ute Indians who once inhabited southwestern Colorado came to the beautiful Ouray area to enjoy its natural hot springs. Today, visitors and locals of all ages continue to enjoy the unique mountain setting and soothing waters found here.
In the winter months, after an exhilarating day high in the mountains, soaking in the hot springs is a perfect way to come back down to earth. In the winter, fluffy snowflakes fall through the steamy air to land on delighted soakers, creating a magical and romantic setting. The main pool may be closed for renovations but you still have three great public options to explore. Pick your favorite among our local hot springs and learn more about the exciting Ouray Hot Springs Pool Renovation.
A Snowshoe Tour Through History
If you’re not feeling wild enough to try ice climbing, or are looking for something to do on an off day, why not explore the Wild West lore of Ouray County? One of the best ways to experience our local history is by grabbing a pair of snowshoes and exploring one of the many ghost towns that stand witness to the past with their weathered headframes and leaning bunkhouses deep in backcountry of the San Juan Mountains.
Explore the town of Ironton and the Red Mountain Mining District, which are easily reached off the Million Dollar Highway (US 550) just 7-10 miles south of Ouray. Pack a lunch, a camera and your inspiration and prepare to step back in time, imagining what it was like to live in this extreme and spectacular landscape year-round. Learn more about our local ghost towns here.
WinterFest – Ouray’s cheery answer to the winter blues!
Let Ouray be your relaxing and friendly getaway from cabin fever and the winter blues. Every weekend during our WinterFest season, there's another great excuse to get outdoors and celebrate the joys of winter with your entire family! Upcoming events include Human Hungry Hippos, Ice Slingshots and Broomball at the PARC WinterFest games, great adventure talks and the annual Ouray Ice Festival. Here's your full list of WinterFest events.
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!
A One-of-a-Kind Main Street
Do you need just a little more inspiration to come visit? Check out our version of a "year-in-review" along Ouray's historic Main Street. We welcome visitors of all kinds in all seasons! (Video will open in new window)