The towns of Ouray, Telluride, and Durango are steeped in history and there is arguably no better scenery in the country. Spring is a great time of year to watch the flora and fauna come to life again after a long winter, making April a great month to road trip through the area.
For those looking to camp, though, you may find many of the campgrounds in the area do not open until May 2nd, but there are two campgrounds close to Ouray that are open year round. One is Weber RV Park and Campground. This campground accepts short term visitors, but it caters to the longer term set and even has monthly rates for camping and RVing. Ridgway State Park is the other option near Ouray. This park is open year round and has so much to do right in the park. Visitors can take part in fishing, boating, windsurfing, waterskiing, biking, hiking, or enjoy the swim beach while staying in the park. It’s a great option for those looking to spend some beautiful starry nights outdoors.
You will find plenty of affordable lodging along your route in the area of these three great towns, however, so there is no need to worry. In Ouray, also known as the Switzerland of America, because it is at the base of the San Juan Mountains, you can treat yourself to a stay at the Timber Ridge Lodge which is touted as the “Best budget lodging option in Ouray”. It is only 3 block from the hot springs pool, which is a great place to relax after a long day of sight seeing.
In Telluride, you can get a room at the Mountainside Inn for less than $100 per night. The Cimarron Lodge and Ghostriders are also popular budget options. You will find Ghostriders is only a short walk from the free gondola that will bring you to Mountain Village Town Park and you are sure to enjoy the amazing scenery on the way.
Durango has budget hotel options as well, with several chains such as the Hampton Inn and Super 8. However, for about the same money, visitors would be remiss to not spend at least one night in the Strater Hotel. This hotel will transport you directly back into the “old west” with its décor and ambiance. Even the servers in the pub are in period-correct dress. The views from the higher floors can be quite amazing, too.
There is no shortage of attractions and sites to see with the San Juan Mountains all around you. Hiking opportunities abound and you wills surely enjoy the scenery, no matter what you do. In Ouray, you could treat yourself to an historic mine tour, or view one of the several falls in the area. Telluride offers daily hot air balloon rides when the weather permits, or you can soar through the sky with Glider Bob who give daily glider rides in the area. In Durango you will find stables such as the Rapp Corral, where even the most novice horse rider can enjoy a tour through the mountains. Or, take the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to the old mining town of Silverton. This is a day-long trip with a stop for lunch, but it’s a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the San Juan Mountains.
You will also find no shortage of great pubs and eateries on your trip through the area. Telluride even has two different food tours for visitors. These tours are a great way to experience the history and culture of the area while hearing great stories from local chefs ad artisans. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and learn a lot about what is available in the area in the way of culinary goodies as well as to learn about the historic mining town itself.
You will find all sorts of food in all kinds of cafes, pubs, and restaurants. In Ouray, O’Brien’s Pub serves Guinness on tap as well as a wide variety of Irish American foods. Or you can spend an evening in the Outlaw Restaurant to get the feel of being in the old west. Cavallo’s offers New Orleans jazz as well as authentic Creole food, and the Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery has artisan pizza as well as hand-crafted ales and wines.
If it’s hand-crafted beers you’re looking for, Durango is a must-stop. There are many different pubs to choose from, all of which craft their own libations. From the Durango Brewing Co., on of the oldest breweries in Durango to Ska Brewing Company, a newer option, you are sure to find palate pleasing creations as well as some great food.
This is a great time of year for a little road trip, so why not get out and enjoy Ouray, Telluride, and Durango Colorado while spring is in the air. The area’s history and scenic beauty are sure to have you coming back again and again.