The 10 Best Things to Do in Ouray, United States

January 17, 2018 Almeta Stockton

Surrounded on all sides by snow-capped peaks and set at the narrow head of a deep valley, Ouray touts itself as the "Switzerland of America." With no nearby ski area to attract the tourism of other alpine Colorado towns, Ouray has kept much of its authentic turn-of-the-century charm. The whole town is registered as a Historic District and includes many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Its free Ice Park attracts amateur and pro ice climbers from around the world.
Restaurants in Ouray

1. Ouray Alchemist Museum

533 Main Street, Ouray, CO 81427 +1 970-325-4003
Excellent
92%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 212 reviews

Ouray Alchemist Museum

Reviewed By chainofponds - Craftsbury, Vermont

Time traveling with Curtis as my guide was an absolute pleasure! His love for alchemy was evident as soon as I opened the front door and saw the ornate wooden museum entrance, originally from the Aspen Drugstore, circa 1888. What made the tour so unique was the energy that Curtis put into the interconnected history of pharmaceuticals. I learned so much in such a short time. Now that I know the basics, I can't wait to return and learn more!

2. Bear Creek Falls

Hwy 550, Telluride, CO 81427
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 331 reviews

Bear Creek Falls

Scenic waterfalls that tumble down into Telluride's box canyon in the San Juan Mountains.

Reviewed By kielar - Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Easy hike, even in winter with snow packed. Can access from end of South Pine. No need to get on Rt 550.
Gradual climb until the last 1/8 mile then more strenuous. Take trekking poles if snow and you need to stabilize yourself on way down. It can be slightly icy.
Frozen falls are pretty. 1.5 to 2 hour RT.

3. Yankee Boy Basin

CO Route 550 South, Camp Bird Mine, Ouray, CO
Excellent
84%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 368 reviews

Yankee Boy Basin

Surrounded by several mountain peaks (Potosi Peak, Teakettle Mountain, Cirque Mountain, Stony Mountain, and Gilpin Mountain), Yankee Boy Basin is a popular scenic area visited by hikers, photographers, four-wheelers and nature lovers.

Reviewed By Richard A - Kernersville

We had to hike up from lowest pull off. Our AWD rental vehicles did not have enough ground clearance to go further so this added about 2 miles to hike.
It was worth it .
Great hike and climb to the top. Although I prefer backpacking to climbing ,it was a lot of fun and I can say I did a 14er.
Took about 6 hours total from vehicles to top and back

4. Ouray County Museum

420 Sixth Ave, Ouray, CO 81427 +1 970-325-4576
Excellent
79%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 136 reviews

Ouray County Museum

Reviewed By worldadventurer2017 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

This is a great museum if you are interested in the history of Ouray and it's mines. There is also some history of individual people who lived in Ouray in its beginnings. We love the mining history and there are several books about the different families who made it bid in the mining industry. We have been to this museum twice and we love all the pictures and memorabilia they have in the museum. It does not have an elevator and its on 3 stories so not good for wheelchairs or strollers.

5. Box Canyon Waterfall & Park

County Road 361, Ouray, CO 81427-0001 +1 970-325-7080
Excellent
71%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 546 reviews

Box Canyon Waterfall & Park

Waterfalls cascade through canyon walls at this park near Ouray.

Reviewed By Mark B - Erie, Colorado

Quick little hike with some great views. Road and path can get a little icy during winter months so be careful.

6. Ouray Box Canyon Waterfall

Cr 361, Ouray, CO +1 970-325-7080
Excellent
73%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 410 reviews

Ouray Box Canyon Waterfall

Reviewed By AdventureTripping - Denver, Colorado

Take 30 min and have a look. Please don't drive the wrong direction in that one way road. Everything is close by, so It's a short trip for some pictures and food for the eyes. Even good during rainy weather.

7. Animas Forks

Ouray, CO
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 187 reviews

Animas Forks

Reviewed By greenham01 - San Jose, California

We were in 2 minds about driving out to Animas Fork but we stopped by at Silverton and the owner of the restaurant where we ate enthusiastically encouraged us to take a drive out there. So we drove out to check it out!

First off, must say that while it is conceivably possible to try and make it up with a sedan, highly recommended to use a SUV with AWD or 4WD. Definitely not your own sedan, and think again about using your own SUV, unless you are thinking of changing the vehicle shortly after! The journey there from Silverton consists of approximately 1/3 of paved surface streets, 1/3 of dusty unpaved but relatively flat and not too bumpy road, and the last 1/3, uphill and very narrow rocky paths, in some places, be hard for 2 vehicles to pass each other. Anything more than 15mph would probably be too jarring a drive here. And remember, you have to come back through the same "thirds". Total distance is just under 20 miles from Silverton downtown, just under 1 hr?

What is at the end of the journey? Some abandoned "houses" (huts) in a beautiful highland meadow, against a beautiful mountain backdrop. The journey up is an adventure in itself, beautiful scenery and quite rugged. However I would not do this journey after rain/ snow/ earthquake as there are evidences of rockfalls along the narrow road.

So is it worth the hassle to drive up to it? I am glad I did it, once, and would probably not do it again. I liked the journey, the scenery and I guess the "village" was fun if one had the imagination to wonder about the life there in the past. My wife was like "ok, been there, done that - do we have to go through the rocky road back?"...so I guess it depends on what one is looking for!

Oh btw, the restrooms are super clean up here!

8. Perimeter Trail

Main Street, Ouray, CO
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 253 reviews

Perimeter Trail

Reviewed By TotalOfFive - chicago

This hike has lots of ups and downs, some easier than others but nothing that a relatively in shape person can't handle. We did get off track but because there are several trails that go back down to the town we were able to find our way fairly easily. Be sure to bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and your phone. It is the quintessential hike in Ouray.

9. Lower Cascade Trail and Falls

Ouray, CO
Excellent
62%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 202 reviews

Lower Cascade Trail and Falls

Reviewed By Scott O - Hutto, Texas

Fun, easy hike. Good falls. Lots of people as it is easy. Locals run through on trails and the water hits a different spot every drop. Wonderful place to see nature and beauty.

10. Red Mountain Pass

Ouray, CO
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 63 reviews

Red Mountain Pass

Reviewed By JanetPinetop_AZ - Pinetop, AZ

I would suggest taking Red Mountain Pass drive to Silverton then take the Million dollar highway to Durango. Such a beautiful drive. Be sure to bring your camera! Watch for animals, we were fortunate enough to see 3 rams along side the road and a heard of bucks!

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