Ouray Co., the Switzerland of America as some call this tiny mountain town, is situated in a river valley at nearly 8,000 feet, surrounded by the snow-capped San Juan Mountains. You almost expect to hear yodeling echo from these high hills. Established in the late 1870s during gold and silver strikes, Ouray survived those boom-and-bust days because it's such a wonderful place to relax. Natural hot springs feed the rustic town pool, where both locals and visitors come to soak. It's said that Chief Ouray, the Ute Indian after whom the town is named, visited the pool often.
Several crashing waterfalls make for spectacular photos, and a popular activity for visitors is to hike up to Box Canyon Falls, where the water cascades 285 feet from top to basin. The town's falls, in fact, provide the location for one of the most popular winter events, the Ouray Ice Festival, held each January.
Surrounded by aspen trees, the town also becomes a spectacularly colored canvas each autumn, when Jeep Jamboree draws visitors who want a closer look at the brilliant foliage.
Region: Southwest Regional Information
Proximity to other towns: Located 206.3 miles from Colorado Springs, 10.6 miles from Ridgway, 11.5 miles from Telluride, 14.6 miles from Silverton, 24.8 miles from Lake City
Elevation: 7811 feet
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