The fall is 285 foot high. Thousands of gallons a minute are dropped into this boxed canyon. A quite dramatic scene.
Stairs are going down into the canyon, to a dark little beach under the rock, where you get sprayed by the water (very welcome and cooling down in Summer).
Caution! The path leading you above the falls is narrow and slippery when it rains (see pictures in my travelogue).
The area makes part of a nature preserve or something close to that.
It's also an important bird area and we saw curious and hungry ,nervous little chipmunks everywhere.
Funny and important detail (at least for us, Europeans): the garbage can at the parking lot was closed with a strong karabiner. For the bears!
Made us think at Yoghi bear begging the tourists for food.
This is what we came to Colorado for...taking RedRover on these mountain 4wd trails. And it doesn't disappoint. The Alpine Loop Back Country Byway is a series of 65 miles of trails that wind up the side of the mountain peaks, past old mines, down into lush valleys and past waterfalls. The trails vary in difficulty, so choose your poison. If you get the the beginning of the trail early enough, be sure to grab one of the brochures by the Alpine Loop sign. It's the best rendering of the trails that are out there. The staging area for the trail offers enough room for a handle of vehicles to air down.
The trails are open to registered vehicles, ATVs and unlicensed motorcycles (motorcross). The beginning of the trail had washed out a bit from recent rains, making it all that more exciting. The trails we chose for this day took us over Engineer's Pass and down through Animas Forks.
We chose these trails because they were rated as a difficulty of 4 on a scale of 10...but it was rated as one of the more scenic. As it was, we were on trails that climbed up the side of the mountain...and climbed and climbed and climbed...past 14,500 feet!
One tip - Make sure you understand how to do proper engine braking -
The indians that frequented this area, knew of the therapeutic benefits of these hot springs long before the miners came and claimed the area. Actually, the towns original name, “Uncompahgre”, the Ute word for “hot water springs”. In 1927 the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, a 250’ x 150’ pool, was created and is still a top attraction here. The pool contains over one million gallons of sulphur-free mineral water, at temperatures between 96-106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter hours at the Hot Springs Pool are Monday-Friday 12-8:45 , Sat & Sun 11-8:45.
See the website for closure dates.
Daily rates for use of the pool are $10 for adults, $8 for both students (ages 7-12) and seniors (62+) and $5 for children (ages 3-6).
Since this is the "Jeeping Capital of the World" if you drive off-road...you gotta visit Ouray. And having been there, agree. There are so many trails that wind through different types of terrains, all accessible within a short distance from Ouray. These old minig roads offer photo opporunities galore...and an adrenaline rush you can only get in these majestic mountains...I took around 6,000 shots on our trip...
So...you can tow your rig out there to enjoy your toy...and test it's limits on harder trails (or not). Or...you can rent a Jeep! Yeah. Rent a Jeep for the day and explore out on the trails. It is an experience you will never forget...
Ice Climbing is a blast! The Ouray Ice Park is the Ideal place to try ice climbing. The Ice Park is free! But if you are new to the sport it is a good idea to get a lesson from San Juan Mountain Guides aka "The Local Experts". They will set you up with gear and everything.
Contrary to the Telluride museum, which is located in the old hospital, the Ouray museum was a great experience.
We still keep good memories at the hour we spent at this place.
The museum is kept by the ladies of the Ouray County Historical Society. We were welcomed by one of them who recited a text by heart. She told us very friendly about the history of the museum, what we could expect, how we had to visit the museum and that we could donate at the end of the visit.
Honestly, this museum is really worth it!
The old hospital has been divided in several themed rooms, such as an Indian room, a railroad room, even a mine in the cellar, a kitchen in the basement, a shop and a café...
Interactive activities here and there animate the visit.
We remember with pleasure the stuffed bear (I think it's name was Jim) of the doctor in the hospital room.
It's so simple to assemble all this old stuff, but the way they did it here... hats off!
The visit ended in an old café, where hot coffee was waiting for the guests. Self catering. Great!
Of course people donate at the end of the visit! And with pleasure!
Oh yes, Outside the hospital there are a few original cabins used in the time Ouray was still a miners' town.
The movie True Grit was filmed on the 11,000 foot pass. The road passes aspen lined meadows and offers views of Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock..
Although the road leads to a pretty high mountain summit, there are no sharp drop offs to either side. Its a pretty easy ride compared to some of Colorado's more trecherous mountain passes.
Box Canyon is a narrow slot canyon and home to Box Canyon Falls and State Park. There is a short trail leading from the entrance of the park to the Box Canyon Falls overlook. The falls themselves are impressive as the narrow canyon condenses the flow of water and causes a rapid overflow into the Canyon.
The falls are the creation of Canyon Creek, which narrows at the entrance to Box Canyon, spilling water at the impressive rate of thousands of gallons per minute.There is a short, but steep hike, from the Box Canyon Visitor Center to the Falls. A walkway leads to the suspension bridge which provides a closer view of the quite impressive stream of water.
Red Mountain Pass begins just south of town and leads to Silverton. The pass reaches a height of 11,018 feet and passes through the Uncompagre River Canyon. The highway is part of the San Juan Skyway and Scenic Byway and has incredible views of the valley and adjacent mountains. It is also steep and has no guard rails to protect against the steep drop offs, so drive carefully.
Ouray has more than 300 hot springs. The pool, located on the north side of town, is 250 X 150 feet and holds a million gallons of water. It is even open at night.
Located just south of town, Box Canyon Falls is known for its winter ice climbing, There is also a short trail which leads to a suspension bridge where the falls plunge 285 feet down.