Family Activities: Things to do with kids in Ouray Colorado

Family adventure on horseback

Family adventure on horseback

Family activities abound in Ouray. The following list of kid-recommended and kid-tested activities comes from personal experience or the personal experience of our guests. We hope you will find it useful. Feel free to add a comment on our website or Facebook page if you know of any other family-friendly places to go or things to do.

Year around Family Activities

Ouray Hot Springs Pool

Ouray’s sulfer-free natural hot springs pool complex has a water slide for family friendly fun (closed in the winter), a shallow pool for families with younger children, soaking pools as hot as 106 degrees as well as a diving area and game area for water volleyball. It’s a great place to spend the day or to unwind after a busy day.  Bring your own pool towels or rent them at the front desk.

The Hot Springs Pool is open year around, although is does close for 2 weeks a year, one week in April and one in the fall for cleaning. Check our calendar for those dates.

Parks and playgrounds

All the parks in town are great places for family activities. The major parks include:

Walk to the bottom of the falls, then climb to the top and take the short hike through the tunnel back (in summer only) to town. Be sure to look for the interpretive signs for information on the unique geology of the canyon. Stop for a picnic overlooking the river.

  • Cascade Falls

The easiest place to get to for waterfall viewing. At times, you can explore the backside  of the falls.  Park has picnic tables and a marked trail with interpretive signs.

This is the largest of the city’s parks.  Play equipment, open areas, access to the Hot Springs Pool, and picnic area make this a great afternoon destination. Be sure to check out the Koi pond and the Miners Memorial at the northeast corner of Fellin Park.

  • Weehawken Children’s Garden Project

A garden for children and the young at heart. As it grows, the garden will feature several individual theme areas that will delight people of all ages.  The garden is located at 1900 Main Street, adjacent to the Ouray Riverwalk.

 

Summer and Fall Family Activities

Museums

Ouray Historical Museum The Smithsonian Institution calls this one of the best little museums in the West! This a great place to learn about the mining and Native American history of the area. There are lots of other exhibits as well, including ones covering local geology and Victorian times.

Ridgway train museum  This is an easily reached museum 10 miles north of Ouray in Ridgway Colorado which is  dedicated to the preservation of the history of railroading in Ouray County and surrounding areas.

Ouray County Ranch Museum   The museum features exhibits on ranching life. Included are tools, furniture, cooking and homemaking items, linens, photographs, books, and western art. The collection is impressive. An interactive children’s exhibit keeps the kids busy while parents browse.

Hiking and Biking

Ouray has miles of trails both easy and challenging, which can provide just the right level of activity whatever your age and ability. Hike or bike the Ouray Riverwalk near the Hot Springs pool with its interpretive signs and close access to the Uncompahgre River or take a longer hike or bike ride on an a country road (CR17) which follows the old Denver-Rio Grand rail line to Ridgway.

Many other hiking trails are especially suited to family hikes: the Ouray Perimeter trail that circles the town, Cascade Falls trail up to the Cascade Falls, Baby Bathtubs in the Amphitheater and many more.

Off Roading with four wheelers

Jeeping and ATV trails abound in and around Ouray. These roads take you through Aspen forests, to spectacular overlooks of the San Juan Mountains and back past abandoned mines and ghost towns. These roads were the original “highways” connecting Ouray with other Colorado mining towns like Lake City, Silverton, and Telluride. Jeeps and ATVscan be rented in town.   If you have small kids, we recommend Owl Creek or Last Dollar Road trails that are relatively gentle roads and easy terrain.

Horseback Riding

Consider seeing the back country around Ouray on horseback, the original mode of transportation. Several livery companies offer 1-hour to 4-hour rides through the back country on routes geared to your level of experience. In general, no riding experience is needed.

Tours & Sightseeing

Jeep Tours

 Jeep tours are an easy and fun way for the entire family to see the back country.  If you are a newcomer to off-roading in the San Juans, this is the best way to see the back country; every one gets to see the sights without the stress of driving the rough back country roads. Even if you are an experienced driver, it is sometimes fun to sit back and let someone else drive. If you have small kids, we recommend Owl Creek or Last Dollar Road.

Mine Tours

Mine tours take you back in to Ouray’s roots as a mining town. See what it was like to be a hard rock miner. Do not forget to leave some time to pan for gold at the end of the tour.

Silverton-Durango train

A perennial favorite. The train takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of the San Juan mountains. We recommend taking the train one way and the bus back. It makes for a shorter day.

Telluride Gondola

If you are heading over towards Telluride, be sure to take the free gondola ride between Mountain Village and Telluride for a great view of the area.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National park – Boat Tour

About 1 ½ hour north of Ouray is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. One of the most kid-friendly attractions is 1 ½ hour ranger guided boat tour of the Morrow Point Reservoir. You will travel into the famous Black Canyon of the Gunnison, learning about geology, wildlife, early inhabitants, the narrow-gauge railroad, dams, and reservoirs.

Beach and Water Sports

Ouray Hot Springs Pool

Ouray’s sulfer-free natural hot springs pool complex has a water slide for family friendly fun (closed in the winter), a shallow pool for families with younger children, soaking pools as hot as 106 degrees as well as a diving area and game area for water volleyball. It’s a great place to spend the day or to unwind after a busy day.  Bring your own pool towels or rent them at the front desk.

The Hot Springs Pool is open year around, although is does close for 2 weeks a year, one week in April and one in the fall for cleaning. Check our calendar for those dates.

Beach at Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park has a sand beach and playground that is very kid-friendly and easily accessible from Ouray. The beach is located in the Dutch Charlie section of the park just off the highway north of Ouray,

River Rafting

In the Spring the Uncompahgre River is a great place for rafting. Rigs in Ridgway has family-friendly rafting experiences all summer.Take a half day or full day tour through Class II and III rapids and the most incredible scenery of the San Juan Mountains.

Festivals and Events

Throughout the year, festivals and concerts in Ouray and surrounding communities provide lots of family-friendly entertainment. Annual events include  the Ouray Ice Fest, our Old-fashioned Fourth of July complete with parades and fireworks, Chillin’ and Grilling, and the Taste of Ouray.  Art shows, concerts, and food festivals are fun for the entire family.  Check our calendar of a complete list of activities.

 Winter Activities

 Sledding Hill

Bring your sleds or use one of the sleds available to guests of the Victorian Inn.  In town, a children’s sledding hill runs from Fifth Street to Sixth street east of Main Street. It is open whenever there is sufficient snow to slide on. Outside of town, there are many places to enjoy a good run as well.

Downhill skiing in Ouray

The small ski hill in town is a great place for children to learn to ski or to just spend an inexpensive afternoon skiing. The hill, with its free tow rope, is open most winter weekends and after school. Bring your own skis.

Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is the primary winter sport of Ouray.  Each year, a series of four free clinics called “Kids Climbing College” is offered by the Ouray Ice Park in conjunction with San Juan Mountain Guide. These free classes teach kids, between 8 and 17, the basics of ice climbing. Check our calendar for specific dates and times.

Ice Skating

The town skating rink is located at Rotary Park about 1 mile north of the Hot Springs Pool. It is open all winter weather conditions permitting. Skates can be rented at the Hot Springs Pool.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Groomed and ungroomed trails are widely available in and around Ouray. Some of most popular family destinations are the Riverwalk, the Amphitheater and Miller Mesa Road in Ridgway.  Skis can be rented in town. Details of the many trails are posted by the Ouray Nordic Council website.

Snowmobiling

The best snowmobiling is around Molas Pass near Silverton. 1-, 2-, or 4-hour guided tours are available. Kids can ride solo or as a passenger depending on age. Check our specials page for details on our winter package.

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