Ouray County Community Links
City of Ouray : 970.325.7211
City of Ridgway : 970.626.5308
Ouray Chamber of Commerce : 800.228.1876
Ridgway Chamber of Commerce : 970.626.5181
Ouray School District : 970.325.4505
Ridgway School District : 970.626.4320
Ouray/Ridgway Newspaper, The Plaindealer : 970.626.5100
Voyager Youth Program: 970.626.4279
Ouray Ice Park : 970.325.4288
San Juan Hut System : 970.626.3033
Weehawken Creative Arts : 970.325.4505
San Miguel County Community Links
Telluride Community Links
Town of Telluride : 970.728.2140
Town of Mountain Village : 970.728.8000
Telluride Chamber of Commerce : 970.728.3041
Telluride Tourism Board : 888.605.2578
Telluride School District : 970.728.4377
The Watch Newspaper : 970.728.4496
Telluride Daily Planet Newspaper: 970.728.4496
Telluride Ski Resort : 970.728.6900
Telluride Ski and Snowboard School : 970.728.7507
Telluride Golf Club : 970.728.6900
Helitrax : 800.435.4754
Beauty beyond compare is perhaps the best way to describe Ridgway and the surrounding Ouray County. Home to the San Juan Mountains—the most photographed mountain range in the entire United States—and the Cimarron Mountains, Ouray County boasts majestic views and a stunning environment. Surprising many is the fact that Ridgway, Colorado, offers more sunny days per year than even Hawaii!
Ridgway is centrally located just 37 miles from Telluride skiing, 9 miles from the Ouray hot springs, and 2 miles from the Ridgway State Park and Reservoir. This enchanted playground is well protected: 48 percent of our contiguous lands are cared for by the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest. It is paradise found!
Ouray County, with a year-round population of about 4,200, is one of the few areas left in America where you can still feel a “touch of the ‘Ole West.” The county includes the beautiful Uncompahgre Valley in the heart of the famous San Juan Mountains of Western Colorado. The county was named for the celebrated Ute Indian Chief, Chief Ouray, and the Utes called this beautiful rugged section of the Rocky Mountains “home.”
Whether you’re looking for a 35-acre parcel, a contemporary log home, or a historic mining-era house, buying in Ouray County allows you to take advantage of lower-priced housing with no transfer tax, while enjoying the benefits of proximity to the Montrose Regional Airport and the Telluride resort amenities. Relax on the beach at Ridgway State Park, soak in one of the area’s natural hot springs, or, if you’re up to the task, climb Mt. Sneffels, Ridgway’s own 14,000-foot peak (known to climbers as a “14er”).
The Town of Ridgway
Ridgway, with an elevation of 6,998 feet, lies 10 miles to the north of Ouray on U.S. Highway 550. Ridgway is in the center of the Uncompahgre Valley and is surrounded by majestic views of such peaks as Mt. Sneffels, Courthouse, and Chimney Rock, as well as the Dallas and Cimarron Ranges of the San Juan Mountains.
Having celebrated its centennial in 1991, Ridgway was born out of a need for a railroad terminal to supply the gold and silver mines in the Placerville and Telluride areas and to ship cattle and sheep from surrounding ranches. The original settlement (dating to 1879) was located two miles north to the current town and was named Dallas after then–Vice President George N. Dallas. At that time, freight was hauled by wagon, horses, and mules. After the introduction of the railroad, more space was needed so the town was moved upstream two miles to its current location.
By 1890, Ridgway, which was named after the superintendent of railroad construction (explaining why Ridgway does not have an “e” in it, as most folks think), was a bustling little town. A town park was established in the center of town, which still exists today. The last train ran to Ridgway in the 1970s, but today Ridgway is experiencing a burst of growth thanks to its location and outdoor recreation possibilities.
Ridgway definitely has the best location of any small town on the Western Slope of Colorado. Lying in the Uncompahgre Valley at the foot of the San Juan Mountains, Ridgway was the shooting location of the movies True Grit (starring John Wayne) and How the West Was Won. Ridgway is only 37 miles from the popular ski area of Telluride, 10 miles from Ouray and its famous hot springs pool and ice climbing park, and 25 miles from the city of Montrose, which offers the retail stores and services of a larger city. Only eight miles to the north is the Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, which offers boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and waterskiing plus a beautiful swimming beach. The larger metropolis of Grand Junction is 90 miles to the north and the capital city of Denver is a scenic five to six hour drive to the northeast. Within easy driving distance of Ridgway is Lake Powell, Blue Mesa Reservoir, the Canyonlands, Arches National Monument, and many other points of interest.
Ridgway and Ouray are located at the northern entrance of the scenic San Juan Skyway, which serves as a crossroads for commerce, transportation, history, and scenery. The Skyway, one of only six All-American Roads in the U.S., winds through unmatched scenery.
The City of Ouray
Ouray, with an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, lies 10 miles to the south of Ridgway on U.S. Highway 550. The quiet western town of Ouray is now a world-renowned destination for its challenging (and breathtaking) cliff ice climbing. Boasting the nation’s first park dedicated to the sport, Ouray hosts the annual North America Ice Climbing Festival every January, which draws crowds from around the globe. Throughout the year, residents and visitors alike can access dozens of biking and hiking trails from within the city limits. Its natural hot springs, easy-going atmosphere, and abundance of casual dining establishments make Ouray the perfect location to escape to for recreational enjoyment and relaxation—or to live year-round.
The area offers something for everyone. It is easy to see why we are known as the “Jewel of the San Juans.”
San Miguel County
From the river’s edge down-valley in the red rock canyon to beautiful mesas creeping up toward 14,000-foot peaks to quiet subdivisions to authentic Colorado ranches, the diversity of homes, lots, and acreage offered in the region cannot be found in one county in many other places in America. The region offers numerous options that give its residents quick and easy access to Telluride and Mountain Village, while expanding their choices beyond the resort area.
The region covers the remainder of San Miguel County, the heart of the western San Juan mountains. Because of its large differences in elevation, the San Juan range includes almost every temperate zone found in America, from arid, desert climates to high-mountain tundra usually found only in the arctic. The sun plays a dramatic part in this climate—a south-facing slope will have completely different temperatures and vegetation than a north-facing slope.
The Telluride region is unique in that there are no other major destination ski resorts where single-family 35-acre parcels can still be purchased within 5 minutes of skiing and other resort amenities. Little future development will be available because of San Miguel County’s land-use restrictions and the abundance of National Forest. These large home sites and ranches are going quickly.
Local and State Resources
Colorado State Information
To vote in the state of Colorado, you must (1) live in a precinct 32 days before election day, (2) be 18 years of age by election day, and (3) be a citizen of the United States. The deadline for registration is 32 days before a general or primary election in September. To qualify as a resident for state university residency requirements, you must have lived in the state one year.
Anyone residing in Colorado continuously for 90 days must have a Colorado driver’s license. A written test is required.
Colorado residents and Colorado employees have 30 days to get Colorado license plates. You will need the engine number of your car certified at a licensed service station or by a law officer. To register an out-of-state vehicle, bring the verification form, as well as your current registration or title to the County Clerk’s office. You must surrender your out-of-state title to receive a Colorado title. Fees vary depending on vehicle weight, while ownership tax deals with the factory price and year of car.
Motor Vehicle Laws
Colorado license plates must be obtained within 30 days after residency has been established. For motor vehicle registration and driver’s license purposes, you are considered a resident if you are employed in Colorado, own or operate a business in Colorado, or have rented or purchased an apartment or home. A booklet explaining Colorado traffic regulations may be obtained at the Driver’s License Department in Montrose at 86 Rose Lane (970.249.5426).
Personal Income Tax: The Colorado income tax law adopts almost all provisions of the Federal Internal Revenue Code in the definition of gross income, deductions, and criteria to determine allowable exemptions. Federal income tax liability may be taken as an additional deduction. For more information, contact the Department of Revenue, 1375 Sherman Street, Denver, CO 80261 (303.534.1209).
The State of Colorado imposes a 3 percent sales tax on gross receipts from retail sales and a 3 percent use tax on tangible personal property upon which a sales tax has not been paid. Certain manufacturing equipment and machinery are exempt from sales/use tax. The Town of Ridgway imposes a 3 percent sales tax and the County of Ouray a 1 percent sales tax.
Residential property in Colorado is assessed at the rate of 9.74 percent of its market value. The mill levy is the tax rate on each dollar of assessed valuation. Commercial, industrial, and vacant land is assed at approximately 29 percent of market value and homes at approximately 9 percent of value. The properties in Colorado are reassessed every two years for current market value.
The climate of the area is mild, sunny, and semi-arid, which helps make temperature fluctuations comfortable and beautiful. Average rainfall is 21 inches, average snowfall is 148 inches, and the annual mean temperature is 44.5 degrees with highs in the upper-80s and lows of 0 to 20 below.
The City of Ouray often has warmer temperatures than Ridgway, because it is protected by the surrounding mountains. Ridgway is prone to wind and cold air moving downhill with the river. Ridgway. however, has longer days and more sun exposure than Ouray, because Ouray sits at the bottom of a canyon. It’s not uncommon for the two towns to have completely different weather.
January Temperature Range: -20 to 38 degrees F
July Temperature Range: 51 to 80 degrees F
Average Annual Rainfall: -21.42 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 148 inches
Number of Sunshine Days: 285 days
Average Growing Season: 90 days
City of Ridgway Population: 820 in town
Log Hill Mesa (just outside of Ridgway): 2500
City of Ouray Population: 914 (in 2007)
Ouray County Population: 4260 (in 2005)