- The Ouray town site is surrounded on the eastern, western and southern sides by 12,000 and 13,000 foot peaks. These mountains are part of the Uncompahgre National Forest. These hills contain the mines that spurred the growth of this community in the nineteenth century, and provide an interesting network of old roads and trails. After a day in the mountain air most tourists, whether touring historic sites or ice climbing, enjoy the hot springs, which pervade the community and are open year-round.
Recreation - If the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains doesn't attract you to this town, the recreation opportunities will. Ouray is a haven for recreationists of all ability levels and interests. The abandoned mining roads provide ample four-wheel driving terrain. Red Mountain Pass and the Million Dollar Highway support scenic driving and hiking during the Summer months, and cross-country and backcountry skiing during the Winter. Anglers will enjoy the waters of the Uncompahgre River that lead north out of town. When the waterfalls descending from Red Mountain Pass freeze in Winter the ice climbers arrive in Ouray. If you cant find a venue for your favorite sport among these options the national forest that surrounds the town site of Ouray provides opportunities for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, camping and fishing.
Climate - Ouray, like Telluride, watches the sun set early during the winter months. All visitors should be prepared for long, cold nights with warm clothing. The sun feels warm as it reflects from the snow during winter days. Layers are the best solution to enjoying Winter days in the mountains. The elevation of Ouray 7,800 feet, so even summer days without sun can feel cool. A very warm day can change quickly to cold and raining (or snowing) during any season in the high country. Being prepared for the worst weather is the best way to enjoy the mountain towns of the San Juans.
The small community of Ouray (population 700) exists among the dramatic peaks of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The town site lies in a box canyon and may be entered, with little risk involved, from the north on Highway 550. Red Mountain Pass enters the village from the south, but can be very treacherous (sometimes deadly) during the Winter months.