Why You Should Visit Ouray, Colorado this Winter

There’s big news in Ouray. The 80-year-old hot springs pool is getting a major facelift and this is incredibly exciting. Unfortunately, this means the pool is closed this winter and it’s a big draw to Ouray at any time of year.

Why Visit Ouray, Colorado this Winter. Downtown Ouray in December. HeidiTown.com

However, the pool closure is no reason to postpone or cancel a trip to Ouray. No way! Not only are there other places to soak, there is so much to do and see in this charming mountain village. Here are just a few suggestions from someone who has been to Ouray multiple times during the winter months – me.

Ouray Ice Park

Even if you don’t ice climb, the Ouray Ice Park is worth visiting. It’s surreal in its beauty and if you happen to be lucky enough to watch someone climbing there, it’s impressive.

Courtesy of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and Michael G. Seamans
Courtesy of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and Michael G. Seamans

It’s easy to give ice climbing a try in Ouray, especially during several winter events. The Ouray Ice Festival, which occurs January 19-22, is an excellent way to become acquainted with the sport. This festival isn’t just for experts. There are presentations and clinics for every level, live music and more. It’s a party with ice climbing as the highlight.

For women interested in ice climbing, check out the Chicks with Picks programs that occur mostly in Ouray. One of the owners of Chicks with Picks (and a guide) is Dawn Glanc, the professional ice climber who took me climbing at the Ouray Ice Park in 2013. She’s an amazing instructor and even more amazing climber.

If you in need  of a climbing guide for Ouray Ice Park, San Juan Mountain Guides is the place to go.

Shopping ’til you drop

If you missed my post last week you missed out on reading about my Holiday Shopping Extravaganza in Ouray. I hadn’t intended to do a lot of shopping during our visit earlier this month, but I made a serious dent in my Christmas list.

Why You Should Visit Ouray, Colorado this Winter. The Powder Room at Hotel Ouray. HeidiTown.com
The Powder Room at Hotel Ouray.

The town has great little shops offering unique wares. There’s everything from a killer toy store to some incredible, handmade jewelry shops.

Booze, booze, booze

For years now, Ouray has been home to two very good breweries. Since our last visit, Ouray Brewery has added barbeque to their menu, which also features very good hamburgers. We always enjoy stopping here for a beer, a bite and a swing on the brewery bar swings.

Why You Should Visit Ouray, Colorado this Winter. Ouray Brewery, HeidiTown.com

Just down the street, Ourayle House Brewery, Home of Mr. Grumpy Pants, is a must-stop for beer lovers in Ouray. Some believe that Mr. Grumpy Pants makes some of the best beer in Colorado. Stop in this winter and judge for yourself.

In addition to the two breweries, Ouray now boasts its very own distillery. KJ Wood Distillers, formerly in Berthoud, Colorado, has built a beautiful new distillery on Main Street complete with a bright and airy tasting room on the second floor. Stop in and try John’s Jinn Gin, it’s one of my top two Colorado gins, the other is made by Golden Moon Distillery.  

Hot Springs in Ouray & beyond

With the hot springs pool closed for renovations many of you seem to be under the impression that there’s nowhere to soak in Ouray, but that’s just not true.

On our recent trip we stayed at the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging, not only do they have a beautiful hot springs fed pool, but they have their own vapor cave. And you do not need to be a guest here to use the pool or cave; you can purchase a day pass.

Why You Should Visit Ouray this Winter. Wiesbaden, HeidiTown.com
Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging

Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is another place where visitors to Ouray can soak. Box Canyon has four redwood tubs available to guest of the hotel only.

Just 13 minutes out of Ouray, Orvis Hot Springs offers a unique hot springs experience. This clothing-optional facility is a peaceful escape from the world. I’ve written about our visit to Orvis here.

So there you have it. Some very good reasons to visit Ouray this winter and I’ve only scratched the surface. I hadn’t talked about the new restaurants in town or the great snowshoe trails or back country skiing, but I’m all out of time. Hurray for Ouray in the winter!

Our latest visit to Ouray was sponsored in part by the Ouray Chamber Resort Association.

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