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Ouray,COOuray has been called the Switzerland of America. It is nestled in the San Juan Mountains at 7760 ft. but is surrounded by scores of peaks rising above 13,000 ft. Ouray is an old silver mining town and old mining roads wander through the mountains, dotted with abandoned mining operations and ghost towns.Ouray Opera House Many of the buildings in downtown Ouray were built between 1880 and 1900 and the entire town is designated a national historic district.

We visited Ouray in mid July, 2005 during an RV rally in nearby Montrose. There we were fortunate to meet a couple, Charlotte and Roger Duckett, who live in Ouray and who offered to take us four-wheeling on some of the very scenic jeep roads that are found around Ouray.Duckett's Jeep on Trail Roger was born and raised in Ouray and served as a wonderful guide, pointing out scenic landmarks and giving us an appreciation for the mining history of the area. View from trailThe scenery on our day-long jeep ride was spectacular - I think we hit the wildflower blooms at their peak. And Charlotte had brought along a guide to wildflowers book so we were able to identify the great variety of species in the area.

. This was our first adventure off-roading and I think we have been spoiled, having the best one as our first. Summer runoffWe wound our way up the mountains on narrow dirt roads, even fording some streams. At one point we were unable to proceed as there was still snow blocking the trail. But it made for some magnificent scenery. TurnaroundFred filled two photo cards with pictures! You can see more of these by clicking on the Photos button. If you are ever near Ouray, we highly recommend renting a jeep or taking one of the many jeep tours that are available in town. There are over 500 miles of jeep trails in the area. Is it any wonder Ouray is called the jeep capital of Colorado?



Old MinesIn addition to jeep touring, Ouray is famous for its hot springs pool and park. The hot springs pool offers 3 soaking sections with temperatures ranging from 96 to 106 degrees. And the water is free from the strong smell of sulfur, typical of many hot springs.

Box Canyon FallsWe took the short hike out to Box Canon Falls where Canyon Creek narrows and drops thousands of gallons of water a minute into a boxed canyon. The very dramatic site can be seen from above and below the falls by following iron-railed walkways that have been built into the canyon.



While visiting Ouray, we stayed in Ridgway State Park, the largest state park in Colorado. There are three campground sections.The RV sites in the Elk Ridge section are all pull thrus with electric hookups in a beautiful pinyon-juniper forest up on the ridge.Ridgeway Reservoir There is a large 1000 acre reservoir for boating, fishing and swimming.Fred catches his limit Fred had great luck fishing from the shore, catching his limit in trout in about 15 minutes. He said it was almost too easy!





23 miles south of Ouray is another mining town, Silverton. To drive there you must go over Red Mountain Pass. This incredible road has been called the Million Dollar Highway. Million Dollar HwySome say it's because it cost a million dollars to build, others because of the million dollar views. It was built in the 1880's as a toll road. I'm glad we didn't drive our motorhome over it - though it can be done. The road is narrow and winding, with sheer drop offs (and no railings) on one side and rocky mountain craigs on the other. To see our visit to Silverton, go to Silverton Description or Silverton Photos.

From Ouray, we also drove over the San Juan Skyway to the town of Telluride (also an old mining town and now famous ski area). and then down to Durango. This road has been designated one of the most scenic drives in America (and not as scary as the Million Dollar Highway.) We have separate descriptions and photo galleries of Telluride and Durango.



To view more photos from this area click here: Ouray Photo Gallery




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