If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous vacation destination, look no further than Ouray Colorado. This beautiful mountain town in Southwest Colorado is home to some of the country’s best hiking, climbing, and skiing.
Ouray sits at just under 7,800 feet in the San Juan Mountains. You can expect stunning views of alpine peaks and valleys. Ouray is also known for its hot springs, which are the perfect way to relax after a day of exploring.
Ouray is known as the “outdoor recreation capital of Colorado.” This blog post will closely examine some of the area’s best outdoor activities. So pack your bags and get ready for all the fun things to do in Ouray, Colorado.
#1 Box Canyon Falls
Box Canyon and Box Canyon Falls are popular tourist destinations for the ferocious waterfall and incredible views.
The waterfall is formed by Canyon Creek as it flows through a narrow canyon. The rushing water has carved out a deep pool at the base of the falls, surrounded by towering cliffs.
There are several hiking trails at Box Canyon.
The bottom of the waterfall is very accessible via a sturdy metal walkway (Falls Trail) that takes visitors to the bottom of the canyon. Just make sure you watch your head as the walkway is built into the side of the canyon, and low overhanging rocks can be tough on your head.
The High Bridge Trail is another story. This trail takes you 200 feet up a steep climb to the top of the canyon. There you will find insane views of the canyon and the waterfall. The climb to the top is not for everyone. At this elevation, it’s easy to get winded quickly.
Box Canyon is a beautiful and popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and photography.
#2 Ouray Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend a day, Ouray Hot Springs is the perfect spot. The crown jewel of Ouray, the natural hot springs are nestled in a beautiful mountain setting…like it’s stunning.
There are five hot springs pools of different temperatures, waterslides, and an inflatable obstacle course. The waterslides are fun for kids and adults, and the obstacle course requires balance and fancy footwork.
The hot springs are open year-round, and you can often see rock climbers dangling from the nearby cliffs. The springs are a great family-friendly way to spend some time.
Prices vary, but it’s currently $21 for adults, and kids under 4 are free.
#2 Visit Downtown Ouray
If you’re looking for a charming mountain town to explore, Ouray is worth a visit. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Ouray is often referred to as the “Switzerland of America” – and it’s easy to see why.
Ouray is surrounded by towering peaks and picturesque valleys and is packed with independent shops and restaurants. Downtown Ouray is particularly quaint, with its old-fashioned (and old-west) storefronts and lovely mountain views.
The town comes alive with tourists and locals enjoying the many independent shops and restaurants downtown. Stop by the local souvenir shop for unique t-shirts, sweatshirts, or other gear.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee. The coffee is delicious, and the chocolates are to die for!
There are also several art galleries downtown showcasing the work of local artists. Check out the Wright Opera House in town – it’s a historical landmark and home to live theater and music performances.
#3 Explore the San Juan Mountains
The San Juan Mountains are a breathtaking sight. They surround Ouray and provide endless outdoor adventure opportunities, including hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and climbing.
The mountains are a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. In the spring and summer, the hiking trails are alive with wildflowers, and the air is crisp and clean no matter the time of year.
The fall brings beautiful colors to the leaves, and the winter transforms the landscape into a wintry wonderland of snow and ice. Yet, the San Juan Mountains offer something special at any time of year.
#4 Ice Climbing at Ouray Ice Park
If you want unique things to do in Ouray, add ice climbing to your list.
The Ouray Ice Park is a one-of-a-kind destination for ice climbing enthusiasts. Ice climbing is a challenging and exhilarating sport that draws climbers worldwide.
The Ouray Ice Festival brings the world’s top ice climbers together for one amazing event.
The park has 150 routes of varying difficulty, making it a popular destination for both beginner and experienced climbers. In addition to the challenges of the climb itself, climbers must also be mindful of the ever-changing conditions.
As a result, ice climbing is both mentally and physically demanding, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Ouray Ice Park is a great spot to test your limits for those looking for an adventure.
#5 Jeep Tours
Jeep tours are a popular activity in Ouray, Colorado. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray is a picturesque town with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Jeep tours offer a unique way to explore the area, and several companies offer tours of different lengths and difficulty levels. In addition, many tours are customizable depending on your interests and budget, so you can make sure to see the sights most important to you.
There are plenty of 4×4 trails to explore, depending on your time and where your budget sits.
Jeep tours are a great way to see the area’s incredible scenery and are perfect for families or groups of friends. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting lost – your knowledgeable tour guide will ensure you stay on track.
Taking a jeep tour is a fantastic and unique thing to do in Ouray and is an experience you won’t soon forget.
#6 Beaumont Hotel
The Beaumont Hotel in Ouray, Colorado, is a historic hotel built in 1886. The hotel has been renovated over the years but retains its original charm.
The Beaumont is located in the heart of Ouray and is just a short walk from many of the town’s attractions.
Since its construction, the hotel has hosted presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries from all over, including Theodore Roosevelt and Oprah Winfrey.
Today, the Beaumont remains one of the most sought-after destination hotels in the Rocky Mountain region, thanks to its beautiful setting, luxurious accommodations, and outstanding service.
From its Victorian-style architecture to its world-class amenities, the Beaumont is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. For visitors looking for a taste of history and luxury in the Rocky Mountains, there is no better choice than the Beaumont Hotel.
#7 Rock Climbing
Looking for a great place to go rock climbing? Ouray, Colorado, is an excellent option for beginners and advanced climbers. The area is recognized as one of the best places to climb in the Four Corners area, and there are plenty of options for both easy and challenging routes.
If you’re new to rock climbing, Ouray is a great place to start – there are instructors happy to take you on beginner-friendly climbs. However, if you’re looking for a challenge, there are also plenty of advanced routes to test your skills.
#8 San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country. It winds through the stunning San Juan National Forest, with towering peaks and pristine valleys.
Ouray makes an excellent basecamp for exploring the Skyway, as it’s centrally located and has plenty of lodging and dining options. The “million dollar highway” from the town of Silverton to Ouray is especially impressive, with its dramatic switchbacks and breathtaking views.
Red Mountain Pass on the way to Durango is another drive highlight, with its towering cliffs and unique geology.
This scenic route winds through the stunning San Juan National Forest, offering jaw-dropping views at every turn. Seriously I found my mouth wide open many times along the drive.
#9 Skiing and Snowboarding At Local Ski Resorts
If you’re looking for great skiing or snowboarding near Ouray, you’ve got plenty of excellent ski resorts. Telluride, Silverton Mountain Ski Area, and Lee’s Ski Hill are all nearby, and each has something unique.
Telluride is a world-class resort with state-of-the-art facilities and a wide range of trails to suit all ability levels. Silverton Mountain Ski Area is a haven for powder hounds, with lift-served access to some of the deepest snow in the state (not for the faint of heart).
Lee’s Ski Hill is a local favorite, with affordable lift tickets and a family-friendly atmosphere.
No matter your interests, you’ll find something to do in Ouray, Colorado. This charming small town is nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains and offers many outdoor activities and historical attractions.
From rock climbing to skiing and snowboarding, there’s something for everyone in Ouray. So if you’re looking for an adventure-filled vacation or a relaxing weekend away, check out this unique mountain town.
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.