With gorgeous icefalls draping the box canyon and soothing hot springs dotting the valley floor, Ouray (you-ray) is privileged, even for Colorado. For ice climbers it’s a world-class destination, but hikers and 4WD fans can also appreciate its rugged and sometimes stunning charms. The town is a well-preserved quarter-mile mining village sandwiched between imposing peaks.
Ouray is named after the legendary Ute chief who maintained peace between the white settlers and the crush of miners who descended on the San Juan Mountains in the early 1870s. Ouray relinquished the Ute tribal lands, preventing the slaughter of his people.