Ridgway Colorado History & Heritage

History & Heritage

A collection of cultural and economic artifacts and sites awaits your exploration

Ridgway On The Rails: 1-Day Itinerary

A full day journey back into local railroad history

As the birthplace and early headquarters of the famed Rio Grande Southern Railroad, the town of Ridgway is a center point for discovering the West’s rail history. Located on the northern edge of the rugged San Juan Mountains, the town and the surrounding area relied on trains including the Denver & Rio Grande and Silverton Railroads for the development of mining, ranching and agriculture. Local historians and train enthusiasts have preserved this important heritage, and invite visitors to travel back into our rich past.

Colorado Creative Corridor

  • What?

    1-day Itinerary

    Exploring historical points of interest related to Ridgway's railroad heritage
  • When?

    Anytime

    Enjoy the "sites" in any season, but especially late spring through early fall!
  • Where?

    In & Around Ridgway

    Museums, Restaurants, Trails, and More...
Kate's Place in Ridgway Colorado
Breakfast

Kate's Place

Open everyday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fresh, healthy cuisine with heart and soul. Voted Best Breakfast & Lunch. Summer outdoor dining. 

615 W. Clinton St., Ridgway; 970-626-9800, www.katesplaceridgway.com

Ridgway is full of great restaurants
Morning Activity

Ridgway Railroad Museum & Ridgway Railroad Depot

Check out the Ouray County Ranch History Museum in the historic Railroad Depot. Visitors can see the interior and exterior of the depot, built in 1890 by the Rio Grande Southern railroad, and featured in the 1961 movie, "How the West Was Won". 

Step out back of the museum to the pasture where you can explore several historic train cars including the famous Galloping Goose, one of seven motor railcars made by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad for small passenger and cargo loads. Groups can schedule guided tours and ride the Galloping Goose (Motor Car 1) on a half-mile loop of demonstration rail (weather permitting) almost anytime of year by appointment.

  • Locations: Ouray County Ranch History Museum, 321 Sherman St., Ridgway, CO 81432 (park in the lot at the SW corner of Sherman and Railroad Streets, next to Hartwell Park, and walk across Railroad St. to the museum).
  • More information: https://www.ridgwayrailroadmuseum.org/, 970-626-5181
Hartwell Park RIdgway Colorado
Lunch

True Grit Cafe

Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. ''Where Comfort Food Meets True West''. Serving locals and visitors for over 30 years. Known for our local beef and pork!

123 North Lena St., Ridgway; 970-626-8739; www.truegritcafe.com

Afternoon Activity Option 1: Active

Hike or Bike

...along the historic railroad bed of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad corridor. This well-maintained concrete trail is 5.1 miles one way so will be a 10.2 mile round trip (about 3.5 hours by foot or 70 minutes by bike). You will cross over a picturesque, restored railroad trestle (bridge), follow the scenic Uncompahgre River through typical high desert landscape with sagebrush, juniper and pinon trees, and cross through Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, 60 acres of permanent wildlife preserve with a picnic area and sculptures. North of the park, the route is open sagebrush with a stunning mountain backdrop along U.S Highway 550 and ends in Ridgway State Park's Dallas Creek area with more trails, the Ridgway Reservoir, picnic areas and prime fishing spots.

  • Route: You can leave your car at the Hartwell Park parking lot on Railroad Street and start your hike going north on the sidewalk, going over the crosswork towards the river after Charles Street, and entering the start of the river trail near the San Miguel Power Association yard. Or, you can drive your car north on Railroad Street to the dead end next to San Miguel Power, park there and start the trail at that point. If you are want a shorter hike (28 minutes, 1.4 miles one way), you can turn around at Dennis Weaver Park at River Sage Drive.
  • More information: Map of trail: https://goo.gl/maps/3jA84FsLJhz; https://www.traillink.com/trail/uncompahgre-riverway-trail/; https://dennisweaverpark.com/
Dinner

Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery

Local crafted ales, wine, salads and artisan pizzas. Growlers and kegs to go.
602 Clinton St., Ridgway; 970-626-5333; www.coloradoboy.com

Sherbino Theater in Ridgway Colorado
Evening Activity

Sherbino Theater

Evenings at the Sherbino are always fun and interesting, from musicals and plays to concerts, documentaries and even game night, you’ll be entertained and inspired.

  • Location: Sherbino Theater, 604 Clinton St, Ridgway, CO 81432
  • More information: https://sherbino.org/, 970-318-0892
Kates Place Ridgway Colorado
Overnight Accommodations

Ridgway Lofts

Boutique Hotel Suites offer luxurious mountain contemporary lodging with full kitchens for couples and families. Only hotel-style accommodations in the historic district.

Contact: 630 Sherman St./Hwy. 62, Ridgway; 970-729-2366; www.ridgwaylofts.com 


Scenic Drive Back into Train History

Afternoon Activity Option 2: Relaxing Drive

  • What to see:

    See several landmarks from the late 1800s and early 1900s when trains transported people and cargo around the San Juan Mountains. 

  • What to do:

    Visit another one of the Galloping Geese in Telluride, and travel along several roads that paralleled the defunct Rio Grande Southern Railroad tracks, though rail ties and other remnants are long gone. 

  • Points of interest:
    • Galloping Goose rail car
    • historic coal chutes used to load the trains
    • a preserved water tower
    • one of the few remaining railroad trestles in the area 
  • But, wait, there's more!

    Many opportunities for great photos of high alpine scenery and possibly even some wildlife such as deer, elk, eagles, hawks, and more.

  • Route:

    From Ridgway, you will take a 39 minute (51-mile) drive to Telluride to see the Galloping Goose downtown next to the San Miguel County Courthouse. Then, head back out of town and drive toward Telluride Mountain Village, passing the turnoff and continuing to Trout Lake, where you can see the road where the old railroad bed ran with the old water tower still standing on the edge. A short, 1.5-mile drive on the dirt road also leads to the railroad trestle. Then, you can return to Ridgway for the evening. The whole trip is a 2.5-hour drive (106 miles) but will take longer with your stops at each landmark.

  • Related links:

More things to do in Ridgway...

  • Photography all year round!
  • Fishing in lakes & rivers
  • Rafting & Kayaking
  • Fly Fishing
  • Playing in the river at Rollans Park
  • Windsurfing & Sailing
  • Windsurfing & Sailing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camping & Backpacking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Motorcycle Touring
  • Skateboarding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife viewing & Birding
  • Sledding & Snowmobiling
  • Skiing and Snowboarding
  • XCountry Skiing & Snowshoeing

Visitors Center & Ridgway Area Chamber

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The chamber operates the Visitors Center, which is currently closed until further notice due to COVID-19, and is located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62).

P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432

800.220.4959
970.626.5181

See you in Ridgway

Adventure, night life and all around easy living await you in Ridgway Colorado, gateway to the San Juan Mountains.

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