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Self-Guided History Tours

Ridgway offers something for every history buff, from easy access to ghost towns to scenic ranches and world-class museums.
A couple participating in the True Grit Tour in Ridgway, Colorado.
Image provided by Eve Becker Doyle
The Galloping Goose in Railroad Museum in Ridgway, Colorado.
Image by Tara Christman

While programming is somewhat limited in these winter months, you can explore Ridgway’s rich heritage with a number of self-guided tours, museum visits by appointment, and day-trip adventures. 

Kids of all ages will love investigating the train collection at the Ridgway Railroad Museum, either by appointment or on your own schedule.

Traveling with film buffs? The captivating beauty of Ridgway, Ouray and surrounding areas has attracted a number of production companies making movies, documentaries and commercials. More than 100 films have been made in southwestern Colorado. The Ridgway area has served as settings for several classic western movies and many film sites, buildings, props and embellishments can still be seen in and around our town.

One of the most famous movies filmed in and around Ridgway is the John Wayne classic, True Grit. Although the weekly summer True Grit walking tour does not occur year round, parties of four or more may email Eve Becker-Doyle to arrange a tour at any time during the year. Or you can find these sites on your own with this map. 

You can also head out on a day trip to find some of the famous movie sites as well as the state’s most photographed mountain scenery. Ten miles west of Ridgway on Last Dollar Road are the remains of the ranch of matriarch Mattie Ross (performed by Kim Darby in the movie), where John Wayne jumped his horse over the fence at the end of the film. And to the east, on the way to Owl Creek Pass, sits the aspen-lined valley of Katie’s Meadow – one of the most memorable scenes from True Grit. 

Back in town, be sure to visit the John Wayne-themed True Grit Cafe, on the west side of the park in downtown Ridgway. Don’t miss the actor and movie memorabilia and a sign painted for the film set, which reads “Chamber’s Staple & Fancy Groceries – Fruits & vegetables”. This was an exterior wall that was preserved when the restaurant was built around it!

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