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Colorado

Ouray

Ouray , "the Switzerland of America" in southwestern Colorado on US Highway 550 is located in the heart of some of the most spectacular scenery and exciting recreational opportunities anywhere in the nation. Year-round events and activities mean that you'll always have something exciting to do when you visit Ouray.

The portion of Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton, 24 miles to the south, has been named The Million Dollar Highway and is part of the San Juan Skyway, one of the most scenic and spectacular mountain drives in North America.

Ouray was founded in 1876. The first non-Indians in the valley were looking for gold and silver. They found it and settled here. Within ten years, Ouray had more than 1,200 inhabitants. The town had a school, several churches, a hospital, a four-star hotel, several restaurants, dozens of saloons and brothels, and the usual array of hardware, clothing, and mining supply stores. Most of Ouray's more permanent buildings were built between 1880 and 1900, and virtually all of them are still standing. Today Ouray looks like it did 100 years ago.

Some local attractions:

Box Canyon Falls: Located on the south end of town. During the winter, the 285-foot waterfall freezes into beautiful blue-white stalactites and stalagmites. But in the summer, a crescendo of white, foaming water thunders over the gray-black cliff onto rocks in a cave. Then it tumbles through a crack in the floor of the canyon below, playfully tossing up mist to onlookers above. After viewing the falls from below, take the stairs up to a covered lookout where you can soak in vistas of majestic mountains.

Ridgway State Park: A short 12 miles north of Ouray is a 1,000 acre reservoir stocked annually with over 40,000 Rainbows, 10,000 Kokanee Salmon and 10,000 fingerling Cutthroats. Shore fishing, Ice fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, boat rentals, picnic areas and beaches all with breathtaking vistas of the San Juan Mountain Range.

Cascade Falls: Another cascading waterfall within the city limits of Ouray. Drive or walk up to the end of 9th Street, then pick up the easy trail for a short distance to view the most spectacular section of this seven tiered beauty. You can catch other parts of the falls from trails beginning in the Amphitheater campground.

4-Wheel Trails: Over 500 miles of trails to explore in the area. From Class 1 to class 4/5 difficulty ratings. Drive your own, rent, or take a guided tour over our exciting, breathtaking, high mountain passes.

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Document Information
Source: Ouray Chamber Resort Assoc.; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070428
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