Want to know what to do for two days in Ouray during winter? Here are a few ideas for the top things to do in Ouray.
WHERE TO STAY:
Stay at The China Clipper Inn. I scored a room for $100/night just a month before this busy weekend. This spectacular Bed & Breakfast is located in town just one block off Main Street. The China Clipper Inn is wonderfully decorated. It’s living room includes a fireplace which is very nice to enjoy during the winter months. It’s breakfast is great. It includes warm items like eggs, quiche, potatoes, ham and bacon, as well as mouth watering muffins and a lovely fruit salad. Of course it also includes coffee, tea ,juice, cereals and breads too. My room had its own fireplace! It is a really great, quaint place nearby everything.
TOP THINGS TO DO:
1. Visit the ice park. If you are an ice climber then go climb at the Ouray Ice Park. During the Ouray Ice Festival it is best to take a clinic as the park is crowded and it is hard to find a rope if a clinic isn’t arranged. If you are not a climber, go watch the festival and visit the free climbing demo area. The festival boasts climbers from around the world and several exhibitors. An small ice climbing area is set up for visitors who want to try the sport.
2. Go for a hike/snowshoe: While it has been cold all over the USA this year, Colorado has been unseasonably warm. As such, snowshoes weren’t necessary for most of the hike I took to Portland Mine. The trailhead can be found at the Ampitheater Campground just above the ice park. The roundtrip hike, approximately six miles, not counting the quarter mile climb up the road leads the hiker through an evergreen forest, past a few aspen stands, to a nice view point, across a creek, and finally to historic ruins of the Portland Mine. It is a nice hike and can be turned into a variety of loops as well.
3. Visit Ironton Park: Just five miles outside of town is a ghost town called Ironton. Many nordic trails both groomed and ungroomed surround the townsite. We followed a simple two-mile loop with minimal elevation gain/loss and explored the town beneath the falling snow. Fortunately, it wasn’t windy, and we enjoyed an excellent morning at the park.
4. Check out a show at the Wright Opera House: The Wright Opera House puts on movies, lectures, music shows and theater. While we were in town, we went to see a Bluegrass Band called Rapidgrass. We quickly coined the lead man, young Willie Nelson, as he sported a headband and braids. Sure enough, about five songs into the band’s set, they were playing Willie!
5. Stroll Main Street: The Main Street of Ouray is designated a National Historic District. The town of 800 people was established in the late 1800’s by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains. It is a picturesque town.
6. Visit the Hot Springs: I’m not a big hot springs person, but for those that are, the hot springs are just on the edge of town.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:
Brickhouse 737: This is an upscale restaurant serving American food. Definitely make a reservation during busy weekends. The brussel sprouts are some of the best I’ve had. While my hangar steak wasn’t cooked to my desired temperature, everyone’s meals were quite flavorful. I think the mushroom ravioli that Scott ordered might have been the best!
Buen Tiempo: Being a Texan, I was somewhat opposed to go to a Mexican food restaurant in a Colorado mountain town. Much to my surprise the margaritas were excellent! The chips, fortunately fresh and crispy, could use a little salt, but the salsa was decent. I ordered fajitas which were good, and it seemed everyone else enjoyed their meal. It is a little pricey for lunch, but in a mountain town with a limited amount of restaurants, it didn’t break the bank.
Coachlight: This restaurant is off Main Street which gives those who didn’t plan ahead with a reservation during a busy weekend a chance to have a meal at reasonable time and price. My French Dip was great and the salads looked great!
Ourayle House Brewery: AKA Mr. Grumpy Pants is an eclectic bar. I’m not a beer connoisseur, but I felt like the smoked brown was tasty. I loved the atmosphere as well. Sarcastic signs peppered the walls which were entertaining to read. Sit by the cozy fire and take in the atmosphere or try your hand at a homemade “catapult” game for lack of a better word. Apparently, it is hard to shoot the ball into the hole, but I managed on my first try, much to the amazement of some guys at the bar.
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