Ouray, Colorado was first established as a mining town in the late 1800s, when silver and gold were discovered in the area, and miners from around the US flocked to Colorado. Today, the economy of Ouray is primarily based on tourism.
Ouray has earned the title of the “Switzerland of America”, due to its high alpine climate, incredible scenery, and the many nearby ski resorts in the area. Transportation is car-based, and US Highway 550 is the only paved road into – or out of – Ouray.
The permanent population of Ouray was 1,000, as of the 2010 census, consisting of 457 households. Median income was $36,094 for a household, and 8.1% of people live below the poverty line.
Located at the narrow head of a valley, and enclosed by steep mountains, tourism is the primary economic driver of Ouray, with mountain climbing, hiking, off-roading, mountain biking, 4WD expeditions, and more being some of the most popular recreational activities.
Ice climbing is particularly popular, and Ouray is known as the winter ice-climbing capital of the US, with the world’s first natural ice climbing park located along the nearby Uncompahgre Gorge, and the yearly Ice Festival drawing tourists from far and wide.
The area is also a popular destination for motorcyclists, as it is at the head of the “Million Dollar Highway”, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful roads in all of Colorado, and leads to Silverton and Durango, the nearest neighbors to Ouray.
Schooling is provided by the Ouray School District, which provides residents with K-12 education.
Helpful Links And Local Resources
Ouray is a beautiful place to explore and to live, so take a look at some local resources about the area now, and see if it’s right for you.