Ouray — Fun, Food, and Fantastic Shopping

[July 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]
Story by Samantha Tisdel Wright
Photos by Debra Lueck

IF YOU’RE A SUCKER FOR PRETTY, UNPRETENTIOUS, MOUNTAIN TOWNS with plenty of fun stuff to do and great places to eat and shop, Ouray is the place for you.

Surrounded by exquisite alpine scenery, Ouray’s summer adventure possibilities are as tantalizing as its mountains, from hiking and mountain biking, to canyoning and fly-fishing, to Jeeping, historic mine tours and peaceful soaks in the hot springs pool.

Proudly proclaiming itself to be the Jeep Capital of the World, Ouray is linked to Silverton, Lake City, Telluride, and Creede by a 500-mile network of some of the country’s best four-wheel drive roads, including Imogene Pass and the popular Alpine Loop.

The hardest question hikers face in Ouray is “Which way shall we go?” The comprehensive trail map, “Hiking Trails of Ouray County,” may help you decide. For something quick and easy, try a portion of the Ouray Perimeter Trail, taking in popular attractions such as Cascade Falls, the Ouray Ice Park, and Box Canyon Falls, Ouray’s own wonder of the world.

If you are feeling more daring, a number of guiding services in Ouray can help you to organize adventures big and small, from canyoning to rock climbing to mountaineering expeditions.

There is no better way to wrap up a day spent in the fresh mountain air than easing your weary bones into the steamy liquefaction of the recently renovated Ouray Hot Springs Pool.

And in the evening, the summer lineup at the Wright Opera House beckons with entertaining options, from Tuesday night history lectures to Wednesday night movies, to melodramas, Shakespearean plays, and world-class chamber music concerts.

Shopping in Ouray is a form of entertainment in itself. Are you looking for eclectic girly gifts, or a Himalayan rock salt lantern? Books or beads? T-shirts or tutus? Hand-blown glass creations or rare mineral specimens? In Ouray, you’ll find a store just for you. Take time to explore them all.

And when you’ve worked up an appetite from all that running around, Ouray will delight your inner foodie with a delectable array of cafes, gastropubs, and restaurants. Munch a margherita pizza, a Bombie burrito, or a Maggie burger. Slurp some drunken noodles. Try a microbrew. Tuck into a juicy steak. Or pick up picnic food at historic fourth-generation Duckett’s Market.

Once you get a taste of Ouray’s refreshing mountain-town charm, you’ll be hungry for more.