Visitors can enjoy Ridgway’s small-town hospitality, while accessing world-class skiing and snowboarding at the nearby resorts in Telluride, Silverton, and Durango. For solitude and pristine powder, nothing beats the backcountry slopes and meadows of the San Juan Mountains around Ridgway. Alpine skiing and snowboarding as well as Nordic (cross-country) skiing, snowshoeing, and other snow sports are available throughout the winter plus for a few weeks before the resort lifts open and after they close.
Winter is a great time for adaptive sports, and our area is a popular home and destination for athletes with limited sight, hearing, and mobility seeking outdoor recreation. As a hub of established adaptive sports programs, several sports are available to youth, veterans, and family members with various athletic abilities.
The Ouray County Rodeo Association hosts an annual skijoring event at the Ouray County Fairgrounds in mid-January, where novice to advanced competitors race down a specially designed track behind a galloping horse. Skijoring requires skill, strength, and courage, and it's an impressive spectacle to watch.
But skijoring isn't just for the pros. Visitors to Ridgway can try their hand at skijoring at the nearby Top of the Pines recreation area. Top of the Pines offers groomed skijoring trails for all levels, as well as clinics and lessons for those new to the sport. You can bring your own horse or rent one from a local outfitter.
Skijoring is a great way to experience the winter landscape of Ridgway, with stunning mountain views and fresh powder snow. It's also a fun way to connect with the local ranching heritage and experience a unique winter sport.
Whether you're a spectator or a participant, skijoring in Ridgway is a thrilling and unforgettable winter experience. Don't miss the annual skijoring event at the Ouray County Fairgrounds, or head to Top of the Pines for a day of skijoring on the trails.
One popular snowshoeing spot is the Ridgway State Park, which offers over 10 miles of groomed trails through a variety of landscapes, from grasslands to wooded areas. The park's trails are suitable for all levels of snowshoers, from beginners to experts, and offer stunning views of the San Juan Mountains.
Another great snowshoeing destination is the Dallas Divide area, which features a range of trails through the snow-covered forests and mountains. This area is known for its wildlife sightings, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, elk, and other animals as you make your way through the snow.
For those looking for a more challenging snowshoeing experience, the Owl Creek Pass area offers plenty of opportunities to explore the backcountry. This area features a network of trails that wind through some of the most beautiful and remote parts of Ridgway, offering a true wilderness experience.
No matter where you choose to go snowshoeing in Ridgway, be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing, water, and snacks, as well as a map and compass. And don't forget your camera, as the snowy landscapes of Ridgway are truly breathtaking. So, strap on your snowshoes and get ready to explore the winter wonderland of Ridgway, Colorado.
World-Class Ice Climbing
Jim Donini, former president of the American Alpine Club, calls the Ouray Ice Park “the best venue in the world to develop ice-climbing skills,” and it’s easy to see why. The Ice Park is home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15 to 30 minute walk from downtown Ouray.
There are many opportunities to pick up the sport; Peak Mountain Guides offers instructional courses and private climbing. You might also attend one of the many seasonal clinics that have something for every group from beginner to expert, kid to adult, able-bodied to amputee.
The Ice Park is an engineering marvel, utilizing a gravity-fed plumbing system that routes more than 150,000 gallons of water a night to “farm” and maintain the famous blue ice. The park has been supported by memberships and the city of Ouray; more information is available on their website.
The man-made ice climbing venue is operated in a spectacular natural gorge in Ouray, just 10 miles south of Ridgway. Each winter, the park hosts the Ouray Ice Festival to celebrate the Park and raise funds for its operation. Despite the high cost of maintenance, the park has been free and open for public use. In nearly 20 years of operation, it has become one of the premier ice climbing venues in the world.
The range’s steep relief and deep gorges provide a superb venue for climbing. Roads carved into the sides of mountains throughout Ouray’s rich mining history provide stunning access to that terrain today. Classic ice climbs, such as Bird Brain Boulevard, Stairway to Heaven, and the Ames Ice Hose, along with natural waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls and extensive alpine terrain, make the San Juans a hub for world-class climbing.
Know Before You Go: Local outfitters rent winter equipment such as alpine touring skis, fat bikes and snowshoes. In the backcountry, safety gear is a must, including helmets, avalanche transceivers, shovels, and probes. Outfitters also offer avalanche safety courses and guided excursions.