I've wanted to go to Ouray for years, but ironically, only after I've moved away from Colorado. They say Ouray is America's little Switzerland, a picturesque sleepy town nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Finally I have a chance to visit.
Switzerland of America
Ouray prides itself as the Ice Climbing Capital of the world. There are several "ice parks" in Ouray including one at the popular Box Canyon. There's a waterfall a short hike from the park's entrance, in the heart of the deep, narrow canyon.
Box Canyon Falls Park
I can only imagine how spectacular this place must look in the winter & spring time. Instead of descending down into the canyon, one can also hike the trails above, then view the stream below from a small suspension bridge.
Suspension Bridge above Box Canyon Falls
Ouray was incorporated in 1884 and was originally a booming silver mining town. In its heyday, the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray was one of the finest in the state. However, the Panic of 1893 saw the value of silver plummet, and the town's economy was on the brink of collapse. As luck would have it, within three years a very large gold deposit was discovered nearby and Ouray was spared from disaster. Today, tourism forms the bulk of Ouray's economy.
The historic Beaumont Hotel was abandoned for 30 years before restored in 2003
Walking around Main St., to my surprise they have a pretty decent Mexican restaurant there. I was fascinated by all the dollar bills stuck to its ceiling. Turns out they do it for as a fund raiser -- if you donate $1 they will show you how they stick the bill way up on the ceiling. Eventually all the bills are collected and donated to charity.
Thousands of dollar bills line up the ceiling at Buen Tiempo
The super-twisty section of Hwy 550 connecting Ouray southbound to Silverton is known as the "Million Dollar Highway" and needless to say, the view along the ride was spectacular.
Portion of Hwy 550 between Ouray and Silverton
(I actually have helmet-cam video of this section but due to its size, I can't upload it from where I'm now, so I will update the post later).
Scenic View from Red Mountain Pass