Ice Park Loop
While most Colorado towns claim skiing as their official winter sport, Ouray has created its own niche – ice climbing. With the world-class Ouray Ice Park right in its own backyard, athletes and adventurers come from all over the world to test their skills and,seemingly, defy gravity. The Ouray Ice Park is known as the top ice climbing destination in America – and possibly even the world. The park consists of frozen, man made waterfalls and stretches for more than a mile through the Uncompahgre Gorge. Ice farmers carefully cultivate more than 200 ice climbing routes through these frozen falls – with difficulties ranging from trainee to treacherous. If you’ve got experience on the ice, you can head out on your own to explore (it’s just a short walk from Main Street). But don’t worry, there are plenty of certified guides to assist newbies who want to try this one-of-a-kind, icy adventure. If you plan a trip in January, make sure to check out the Ouray Ice Festival, which includes climbing competitions, educational seminars, and lively nighttime events with music and food. The pinnacle of this festival is to watch in awe as the world’s best ice climbing talent picks its way across jagged rock faces and icicles, suspended at crazy, jaw-dropping angles.