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San Juan Mountains Ouray, Colorado

Teresa Castro

One of my most memorable trips was a mini trip into the San Juan mountains in the breathtaking town of Ouray, Colorado for a long weekend.  We packed the car and hit the road for a 5½ hour trip (which actually took 8 hours because we kept stopping to take pictures). We went southwest of Denver into the heart of the San Juan mountains, which is also known as the “Switzerland of America.”  My first trip there was simply unique, priceless, and memorable.

This little mountain town sits at 7792 feet above sea level, surrounded by alpine mountain landscapes.  I genuinely believe that is why it is named the “Switzerland of America.” There aren’t enough words to describe the beauty of this small mountain town. In just three days, we hiked to 2 different waterfalls: Box Canyon Falls and Cascade Falls, even though there are so many more. Ouray has impressive natural beauty – mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, and hiking trails.  Ouray is famous for its ice climbing in the winter, cross country skiing and so much more.  Downtown Ouray has cute little shops and restaurants with fantastic-tasting foods.  We stayed in a cozy cabin, with a lovely river just outside of it.  Aside from the ocean waves and crashing shorelines in Hawaii, the sound of this beautiful river was one of the most serene and calming sounds I’ve ever heard in my life. On our last day, we drove to another little mountain town – Telluride, CO – which was also gorgeous.  We took pictures of the town, as well as another beautiful site: Bridal Falls. 

This experience was one of the most memorable mini trips of my life because of the breathtaking views and the hiking adventures we experienced.  While this trip wasn’t in a far-away land overseas, I love the fact that this kind of magic is in my gorgeous and breathtaking home state of Colorado.  For me, whether it’s near or far from home, the most priceless part of any travel experience is to be in the moment, soak everything in, and feel nothing but love and appreciation for what our world has to offer.