Scenic USA - Colorado

Switzerland of America

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City of Ouray - Ouray County, Colorado

Photo by Roger Gillette

   The Uncompahgre Wilderness Area, comprised of nearly 103,000 acres of rugged mountain territory, borders on the town of Ouray and its gold and silver deposits made up a large part of the town's history. Not only holding a wealth of mineral deposits, these rugged peaks of the northern San Juan Mountains also create the dramatic skyline around this Colorado town. Founded by prospectors in the 1870s, today's visitors come to Ouray to hunt, hike and soak in the beauty of the high country above town. The lofty peaks surround a long U-shaped valley where autumn's golden aspen forests draw visitors from around the world. This view offers a rare fall scene, as the town lies dusted with an early snowfall.
   Ouray's Chamber of Commerce promotes their town as the Switzerland of America, proud of the area's fantastic mountain scenery. Some of the favorite pastimes have tourists renting Jeeps and booking alpine scenic tours. With a dozen ghost towns in the area, exploring these relics from the past is another way to take in the grand scenery of the San Juans. Whether your likes include soaking in a hot spring, wilderness hiking, snow skiing, four-wheeling, or good old-fashioned sightseeing, Ouray offers plenty of lodging choices and local eateries to compliment your stay.
   Ouray, Chief of the Ute Mountain Indians, is immortalized by this Colorado city. His name is also remembered in name by a mountain, parks, and memorial gardens. In death, Ouray found the peace he sought to achieve in life.

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