For totally tantalizing outdoor experience, the Ouray Ice Park in Uncompahgre Gorge is not to be missed.  Whether you’re a novice climber or an old pro, it doesn’t matter — the Ouray Ice Park is bound to impress.

ouray-ice-parkBuilt in 1995, this manmade park is dedicated solely to the sport of ice climbing. With over 3 miles of vertical, ice laden rock face, the park boasts over 200 possible climbs over 14 different designated areas. The skill levels for the climbing routes vary from easy to expert, so there’s something for climbers of every ability to enjoy.  Newer climbers will benefit from simpler routes in the Schoolroom section of the mountain, while more advanced climbers will find plenty of challenging routes along the Gazebo wall in the inner canyon. There’s even a kids’ climbing area dedicated to the youngest enthusiasts of the sport.

You don’t have to be an adventure traveler or an adrenaline junkie to enjoy Ouray Ice Park. It’s perfect for those who choose to remain on solid ground, too. Due to its location in the Uncompahgre Gorge, the park offers stunning views of the surrounding San Juan mountain range. The multitudes of viewing and observation points make for tons of opportunities to enjoy the scenery. With most of the climbing taking place less than a 15-minute walk from the parking area, plenty of park visitors come just to watch the impressive skills of those scaling the massive walls of ice. And for those who feel like they may just want to try their hand at this one of a kind experience, there are plenty of local guides that offer lessons for new climbers.

For those visiting in January, the Ouray Ice Festival is a truly unforgettable experience. For the last 17 years, the festival has brought together climbers, gear manufacturers, and locals for three action-packed days of climbing clinics, competitions, and exhibitions. Other festival events include silent auctions, beer gardens, film screenings, and presentations by some of the most renowned names in the sport. Expect an international gathering filled with food, music, and a whole lot of ice climbing-themed fun.

ouray-ice-park-festivalPerhaps the best part of visiting Ouray Ice Park is the cost. This is one travel destination that won’t break the bank: visiting, touring, and climbing at the park are totally free. Ouray was originally built by a workforce of passionate volunteers, and is today owned by the City of Ouray and the nonprofit Ouray Ice Park. The park is largely funded by donations and by the annual Ouray Ice Festival, but it remains a costly endeavor to maintain. If you enjoy your visit, you can contribute to the longevity of the park by becoming a member – -not only will you be giving back to one of the greatest attractions in America, but you’ll also land discounts of up to 20% at local shops and restaurants.

But don’t strap on those crampons just yet. The typical climbing season at Ouray Ice Park is from mid-December to the end of March, so make sure that you plan your trip accordingly. For more information, visit the official Ouray Ice Park webpage or call (970)325-4288.

Ouray Ice Park, Country Road 361, Ouray, CO 81427.

Phone: (970)325-4288