Ridgeway State Park has 2 campgrounds, we stayed at the higher (and better in my opinion) campground of Elk Ridge. Our site had a peekaboo view of the lake through the trees with hiking trails wandering straight out of our campsite.
Down the hill at the visitor center we picked up our fishing license and spent a day on the Uncompahgre River river (still have no idea how to say that) doing a little casting. The water was rushing and honestly, my fly fishing skills need lots of work. But its always a good day on the river!
The next day we went into town and met up with friends Jase and Lauri of Wanderwasi for food (pizza and beer) of course in Ridgeway. Ridgeway is the location of filming for the John Wayne movie True Grit. The town not only embraces the movie heritage (and you can still see many of the original settings from the movie including the hanging tree) but it has a reputation for a great food. Something we spent a few evenings verifying. The tacos at Taco Del Gnarr are worthy of the great reputation.
We managed to squeeze in a lazy afternoon paddle around the lake before running into town to meet up with friends again and listen to a free band. Town is about 5 miles from the campground and there is a nice paved path for running or biking. The uphill back to the campground makes me wish we had an electric bike! We enjoyed laying around on the grass at the local park with Jase, Lauri (Wanderwasi) and Kurt (The Kuhl Odyssey) who had driven over from Telluride.
Hiking was next up and we decided on a close in hike into the box canyons that Ouray is known for. We did the perimeter hike and I felt the elevation – breathless to say the least. It was beautiful to see the waterfalls, the ice park area and the beauty of the area. Ouray is a cute town, but too full of tourists for my taste.
4Wheeling is big business in this area of Colorado and many of the roads are cleared of snow to make way for the tourist dollars. Thankfully we have a jeep and a great friend who loves to off road. So we drove over to Telluride and met up with Kurt to spend a day doing a few of the passes that were open. I wanted to see some ghost towns and the boys wanted to flex their muscles in the dirt.
The best ghost town was Animas Forks over near Silverton. Amazing place to walk around and imagine the families that lived there through such rough winters! We made it through Ophir Pass and finished up top in 15 foot snow banks. From there we made it through Cork Screw – with some pretty challenging moments on the switch backs. We wanted to fly a drone to film the descent, as pictures just don’t do it justice. But the winds kicked up and we had to focus on just getting down. After crossing a few tiny rivers and we found ourselves back in Ridgeway and grilling up dinner.
Too quickly our stay was wrapped up and it was time to move on. We will definitely be back to the area to do more hiking and exploring. While I could never fathom a winter here (regular below freezing winter temperatures) the area is beautiful and my only regret is that you cant stay closer to town with the RV.