June is waterfall season along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway
When the high country snows begin to melt, Nature’s faucets turn on full force in the San Juan Mountains. The craggy folds and steep cliffs are perfect for funneling the spring runoff into spectacular waterfalls. Driving the San Juan Scenic Byway is the perfect route for counting and capturing these early summer beauties.
The San Juan Scenic Byway is a 236-mile loop of highway that travels through Southwest Colorado and includes the cities of Ridgway, Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Dolores and Telluride along the route. Along the Million Dollar Highway (the section of Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton) waterfalls occur around every twist and turn in the road. Of particular note, the new Bear Creek Overlook and Otto Mears Memorial has a spectacular view of the thundering Bear Creek Falls and the Uncompaghre Gorge.
For those who are looking for a short hike to view , take a stop in Ouray and visit Box Cañon Falls Park and Cascade Falls; both are accessible from vehicle parking areas or the longer Ouray Perimeter Trail hike. If you want to search out more wild waterfalls, take the Yankee Boy Basin road to Twin Falls. This area is accessible to four-wheel drive vehicles only after the snows melt. Jeep tour companies also provide comfortable and relaxing tours into the area that give you the added bonus of a great commentary about the natural and mining history in the area.
No matter which road you choose to travel, always leave with a full tank of gas, a picnic and a camera. Your waterfall journey is about to begin!
Exploring the San Juan Mountains
Ouray is proud of its long 4x4 history and designation as the “Jeep Capital of the World.” Since the 1940’s, 4x4 vehicles and Jeep tours have been crisscrossing the San Juan Mountains as adventurers explore the rugged mining trails, ghost towns, and spectacular scenery. Waterfalls, wildflowers, stunning vistas and historic mining structures await those who venture into the mountains.
Summer Events Not to be Missed
When warm temperatures arrive in the mountains, it’s time to head to play outside. Ouray offers so many special events throughout the summer that will enhance your visit to the area. Whether you love live music, arts and culture, history, or live theater, here is a sample of the fun events happening in Ouray this summer! For a complete list of events throughout the summer, click here to visit our online calendar
The Ouray Mountain Air Music Series: Presented by the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, the free concerts are held in Fellin Park every Thursday night in June. This year, a full concert has been added for the 4th of July. Each week, a different headliner and opening band will entertain from 6:00 - 9:00 PM. The bands bring diverse musical styles that will get toes tapping and feet dancing regardless of their age. For a full list of bands, pleasejoin our Facebook page by clicking here.
The Wright Opera House also has a full schedule of live music performances, weekly Wednesday night indie films and the ever popular melodrama, which kicks off at the end of June. For thier full schedule, click here.
There is something truly special about celebrating July 4th in Ouray, Colorado. A treasured tradition for generations of visitors and local residents, this day long patriotic and historic celebration will bring out the joyful child in everyone. From the early morning pancake breakfast and Ourayce 10K, to the spectacular fireworks that boom through the canyon at dark, activities abound all day long. Bring your camera, your patriotic spirit, and your water gun.
At the end of the month, Ouray turns into an artists' enclave with the Artists' Alpine Holidays, one of the longest-running juried art shows in Colorado. Spanning a full week, the event includes a juried exhibition, plein air painting workshops, an art auction and lots of socializing with your creative counterparts.
Ouray has been a special destination of world travelers for more than 100 years. This small intimate community is nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies. Set at the narrow head of a valley at 7,792 feet and surrounded on three sides with 13,000 foot snowcapped peaks - Ouray is home to hundreds of miles of historic Jeep roads, sulfur-free hot springs with stunning views and the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.
Remarkably, two-thirds of Ouray's original Victorian structures, are still occupied, and have been lovingly restored in order to preserve their turn-of-the-century charm.