The main summertime outdoor activity here is exploring the spectacularly beautiful mountains and forests by foot, mountain bike, horse, or four-wheel-drive vehicle. Call Switzerland of America, 226 Seventh Ave. ([tel] 866/990-5337 or 970/325-4484; www.soajeep.com), which rents Jeeps for about $160 per day. The company leads jeep tours into the high country (about $70 adult for a half-day, $13o for a full day) and arranges horseback rides, raft rides, and balloon rides.
At the southwest corner of Ouray, at Oak Street above Third Avenue, the Box Canyon Falls & Park ([tel] 970/325-4464; www.ci.ouray.co.us) features some of the most impressive waterfalls in the Rockies. The Uncompahgre River tumbles 285 feet through—not over, through—a cliff: It’s easy to get a feeling of vertigo as you study the spectacle. The trail to the bottom of the falls is easy; to the top it is moderate to strenuous. Admission to the area is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors 62 and older, and $2 for children 6 to 12 (younger kids are free). From June to October, it’s open daily 8am to 8pm or dark, whichever comes first (9am–5pm in May).
If you have 3 or 4 hours and some energy, the moderately difficult Perimeter Trail circumnavigates town and provides viewing opportunities of Box Canyon Falls and Cascade Falls, as well as great views of the San Juans and Ouray. The trail is moderately difficult and about 4.2 miles long. Pick up a map at the Ouray Visitor Center; the stairs across the street are the beginning of the trail.
Ouray’s main claim to wintertime fame is the Ouray Ice Park, located in the southwest corner of town off U.S. 550 ([tel] 970/325-4288; www.ourayicepark.com). Climbing is free in the park, and it’s open daily in winter. Ice-climbing guiding and instruction is offered by San Juan Mountain Guides ([tel] 800/642-5389; www.ourayclimbing.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.