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Colorado on Film: Ouray and Telluride

Happy holiday season, friends!

I am in disbelief that it is already end of the year! I know it seems as if every year goes by faster and faster, but 2022 seriously flew by. For today’s Colorado on Film, we are going back in time to the end of May when Kevin and I celebrated my 29th birthday with a quick trip to Ouray and Telluride.

Ouray and Telluride are about a 6 hour drive from the Boulder/Denver area. There are a couple different routes you can take to get to Ouray/Telluride. You can go through the Silverthorne/Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction route or take the more southern route along 285 towards Buena Vista/Gunnison. Either way, if you have the time make sure you add Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park as a stop along the way. Give yourself plenty of time at the park, though, because it really is a mesmerizing place (and I’m definitely going back!)

Ouray, Colorado

Welcome to “The Switzerland of America!” We stayed at the Ouray Inn which is close to Main Street. The Inn itself is adequate…kind of old and pricey, but did the job and had a nice breakfast included with the stay. Our first morning in town we headed to Maggies Kitchen on Main Street where I got a great biscuits and gravy.

Box Canyon Falls Park

After breakfast, we decided to visit the mighty 285-foot waterfall. Once you pay the $5 entrance fee, you can choose one of the three trails that lead to the waterfall. We completed the High Bridge Trail and the views did not disappoint. You will enjoy the vast, beautiful views of Ouray, go over a bridge overlooking the gorge, and through a tunnel to finally get to the Box Canyon Falls. You’ll know you’re close once you start hearing the intense pounding of the falls. There’s a reason that the park is typically quite crowded! I do recommend a jacket, even in late May as I was quite chilly by the falls! Oh, and for those that also hike in sandals, this was totally do-able in Chacos. From Box Canyon Falls, you can enter and complete the Ouray Perimeter Trail. This is on the bucket list for our next visit!

Okay, so I didn’t take any film photos of the waterfalls, but we did take some great digital photos of the birds that can be found in this area. And here are two photos taken by Kevin on Iphone (I know, I’m sorry about breaking my vibe).

Cascade Falls Park

After a cold beer at the Imogene Rooftop Bar, (which has fantastic views of town), we visited our second waterfall of the day at Cascade Falls Park. This was a shorter, easier walk and refreshing in the late afternoon air. Plus, it’s free.

Ouray Hot Springs

After all this walking, take a soothing dip in the Hot Springs where temperatures range from around 78 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Entrance costs $21 for adults and (don’t quote me on this), I believe you can leave and re-enter as long as you have your receipt. An hour in the warmth was enough for us though and led us straight to a good nights sleep.

Ridgeway State Park

Our second full day in Ouray was packed! We woke up early and headed to Ridgeway State Park. We were the only people there by the water and enjoyed the solitude and quiet of the park. I would have loved to either camp in this area or just re-visit at night time as the astrophotography opportunities are supposed to be outstanding. You can also hike, paddleboard, or kayak at the park (also for next time!)

Telluride, Colorado

After Ridgeway, we drove an hour to the beautiful town of Telluride. I loved Telluride. I thought it was the perfect balance of quaint, grand, and…stylish? We had no plans for our afternoon in this area so we started by just walking the W Colorado Avenue, popping into some local shops, and casually strolling until we tumbled upon the free gondola. Free! So we of course took it up to Mountain Village. The views from the gondola already make the (free) ride completely worth it, but there are so many trails that you can hike or bike in this area, too. The weather was extremely temperamental and bounced between cold and rainy to absolutely perfect faster than I can say, “I can’t wait to go back!” Good thing I was wearing the Stoic convertible hiking pants that day so I could adjust my comfort for the weather.

After our gondola adventure, we popped into Between the Covers Bookstore for a nice coffee and what did we stumble upon…but us! In the Moon Guides book we’re in! If you missed that story, you can find it here. What made this extra funny is that Kevin was wearing the exact same outfit that he was in the book photo! Ah, hilarious…

We returned to Ouray later that same day and decided to try the local bars. Ranking in last place was the FullTilt Saloon…we did not feel welcome there. We enjoyed Ouray Brewery, but the rooftop was dead due to the weather so we didn’t stay long. The real winner of Ouray for us was Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing Co. Hutch may hate me for writing this, but we loved spending time at his bar. Keep in mind the name if you go, okay? That’s all I’ll say. Oh, and that we are definitely going back!

And alas, the next day was go-home day. I would have loved to spend more time in this area, but know we’ll be back soon.

Film Info:

The Ouray and Rideway photos were taken on a Canon Z115 on the same roll from my Breckenridge ski trip (Kodak Gold 200). The photos from Telluride were taken on my Contax G1 and Fujifilm 200. I didn’t take as many film photos as I would have liked on this trip, but sometimes that’s just how it goes- too busy living in the moment, you know?

Man, all this reminiscing about Ouray and Telluride makes me eager to start planning another trip. For now though, there are other destinations on the horizon. 😉

Until then, friends!

And happy holiday season- cheers!

-Mary A.

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