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Ouray: Colorado’s Quirkiest Town

While Colorado has many unique and worthwhile cities, the one of the quirkiest is Ouray. If traveling through the state, a stop here is highly recommended.

For those who make the journey, here are some interesting activities to enjoy during your stay.

Wear John Wayne’s Hat At The Outlaw

You can’t explore Colorado without trying on John Wayne’s hat!

Walk into The Outlaw restaurant and bar on Main Street, and you’ll instantly be transported back to the Old West. A dimly-lit room with a piano player, cowboy hats and rustic wood walls and furniture create the ambiance, while the juicy steaks and strong cocktails keep the regulars coming.

The most unique aspect of the place is the fact you can wear a hat owned and worn by John Wayne. It’s located behind the bar, and if you ask the staff, they’ll gladly let you try it on.

The story of how it came to reside in The Outlaw is the owner’s wife once received a call from John Wayne himself placing an order for pickup. The woman didn’t believe it was him, and promptly hung up.

Wayne was instantly enamored, and the two became close friends during the three months he was in town, ordering his food from The Outlaw every day.

Swing While Drinking A Beer At Ouray Brewery

At the Ouray Brewery, you’ll not only get local brews, you’ll also get to sip them while swinging in an old ski lift chair at the bar. The unique seats are a lot of fun and really embody the adventurous and quirky spirit of the town.

Eat Chocolate Scraps At Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee

Mouse’s Chocolate & Coffee offers a unique dessert loved by locals and visitors: The Scrap Cookie. After making their chocolates for the day, they take the scraps and add it to their family-recipe cookie dough. You won’t know what you’re getting until you take a bite, as nuts, truffle, caramel and toffee are all possibilities.

Relax In Natural Hot Springs At Box Canyon Lodge

What’s really great about the hot springs in these old-west style barrels at Box Canyon Lodge is they don’t smell like sulfur, while still being therapeutic. Walk up the stairs to find different barrels with varying temperatures.

Repel Down An 80-Foot Waterfall At Portland Creek

Ouray is full of mountains, canyons and crevices, so instead of hiking them why not repel down them? Better yet, why not shimmy yourself down a slot canyon while being pelted in the face with a waterfall? I recommend San Juan Mountain Guides, as they’re experienced, knowledgeable and, best of all, extremely funny.

Get Heckled At Ourayle House

Also known as the “Mr.Grumpy Pants Brewing Company,” the best way to describe Ourayle House is bizarre. Much of the space, which is the owner’s garage, is made of scrap wood, and snarky signs line the walls. Hutch, the owner, loves heckling his customers, writing rude but funny comments on people’s business cards. Snide beer comments made by patron’s go on the board, days without a beer madonna “I only drink IPAs and Coors Light”. The beer here is good, with rotating drafts all made on the premises. However, the real reason to come here is to be part of the weird atmosphere.

Sleep In A Christmas-Themed B&B

While B&Bs are usually charming, the Christmas House Bed & Breakfast Inn in Ouray takes it to another level. The holiday-themed accommodation features Christmas trees, ornaments, wreaths and cozy fireplaces in every corner. Along with quirky decor, guests can enjoy in-room saunas and spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains.

Off Road The Highway To Heaven

Take a jeep tour with San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours, the oldest company in town since 1946. You’ll see some of the oldest rock visible on planet Earth, molded by lava and tilted back on a slant to make unusual mountain formations. Moreover, you’ll get to drive down part of the Million Dollar Highway, as well as the whole Highway To Heaven and an old ghost town. The landscape is colorful and unique, dotted with waterfalls, lakes and old mines.

Bonus Colorado Adventure Resources:

Conquering Colorado On A Downhill Mountain Biking Adventure

Epic Adventures In Colorado’s Grand County

5 Ways To Experience Aspen Beyond Skiing

These Photos Will Make You Want To Hike Vail Mountain Right Now

20 Best Road Trips From Denver (Epic!)

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

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