I was right in the middle of my 7 day road trip, and I had just finished up in Arches National Park and drove from Utah to Colorado. It was in the middle of June so most of the snow on the Colorado mountains had all melted and filled up all the rivers and streams, and what a sight to see! I was coming into Ridgway Colorado and could see what I believed was the Telluride Mountains in the distance from the road I was on.
Rounding the corner of Ridgway, I started heading south. Before I knew it I started rolling into Ouray. What an awesome little town! One of my favorites that I had the pleasure of visiting on this road trip. I checked out some of the shops, and ate at a small taco place near the Ouray hot springs.
I’m not sure if the taco shop is there anymore, but it was called Tacos and Taps. I enjoyed a few good beers while eating there and getting tips from the local bartender about what to check out in and around the city. She said you should check out the Box Canyon Falls, and then if you continue up the road you can pull off to find a nice campground.
The Box Canyon Falls are in a tight canyon so when the water falls through it, it makes a loud roar off the narrow canyon walls. Also on the walking trail to the falls you have a great overlook of the Ouray valley below. What an amazing place. I thought to myself, this trip just keeps getting better and better! Everywhere I went on this trip I had good luck, it seemed that nothing could go wrong.
After checking out the falls it was getting kind of late in the day and I needed to find a place to camp out. I pulled off the road a little further and found a camp ground called Thistledown Campground. As I drove around I noticed all the campsites were reserved already. I was kind of bummed, but decided I would find the campground host.
I told him I was on a big road trip and just needed to sleep for the night, was there anywhere I could just pull off of the road and sleep in my car, and that I would be gone by sunrise? He said “Hey buddy it’s your lucky day! I had a group that was coming tonight but they cancelled and will be here tomorrow. You can have their site for the night.” I was ecstatic, this is probably my favorite campsite that I have stayed in, well definitely top 5!
I talked with the camp host and told him that I did not have any firewood but I had some cash and I would buy some of his if he was willing to sell it. He said I could just take a bit and not to worry about it. I offered him my help with anything to repay him and he said it wasn’t necessary, all he asked was that I leave the site clean, and share my road trip with him thus far. So I did!
That night the temperatures were in the 60’s and it felt amazing in my tent. I left the rain fly off so I could look at the stars. They were much brighter there than home in the city. I drifted off to sleep quickly from such a long day of driving and exploring, as well as the sound of a rushing creek of snowmelt which was quite soothing.
The next day I woke up to the sun rising over the mountains and the rushing water nearby. I made breakfast which was just a mountain house dry meal of eggs and bacon, and a cup of coffee I made with my jetboil. I sat and listened to the birds and animals in the distance while I ate and drank my coffee.
I packed up and was out of there, and back on the road in no time headed for Silverton, Colorado. That is one night and one campsite that I will never forget and will remember every detail forever! Ouray was good to me!
“Switzerland of America” – Unknown