Ouray is another former Colorado mining town surrounded by mountains, very similar to Telluride. Unfortunately there are not many options for camping nearby. We had our sights set on Amphitheater Campground, a forest service campground just a mile south of town, but without reservations and only a handful of sites suitable for RVs, we weren’t too hopeful.
We decided not to tow the car based on the altitude and climbs along our 60 mile route, so when we got to Amphitheater I went first in the car and radioed Jim and Debbie not to follow me. It was too late at that point with nowhere to turn around, so they had no choice but to try and get through the curvy narrow road lined with shrubs and trees with low hanging branches. We made it out with just a few scratches but there was only one empty site that might have been long enough. This is an old campground really best suited for tents, pop-ups, vans or small trailers, in our opinion. The website shows a maximum length of 35’ but that is really stretching it.
So on to plan B, which was 4J+1+1 RV Park, right downtown on the Uncompahgre River. Again with no reservations we could only get electric only sites for a couple days for $32/night, so we decided to bite the bullet and stay for 2 nights. Not our kind of place, but the location is great, just a block off Main Street within walking distance to town, the hot springs, and hiking trails.
Some sites actually back up to the river, but they are very close together.
After setting up, we drove a few miles to the other 2 forest service campgrounds nearby, but although the dirt road leading to them was good, one of the campgrounds is tent only, and required a high clearance 4WD vehicle, and the other had a couple sites long enough but not at all level.
Frustrated with trying to come up with a last minute plan, we decided to take a hike on the Perimeter Trail, which circles Ouray for about 4 miles. The trail begins across from the visitor center in town, and climbs up to lovely vistas and waterfalls.
A warning to anyone who hikes this trail. It is not well marked, (or we are not good at following trail maps) and on our second leg of the hike yesterday we apparently took a wrong turn somewhere and got lost. When we finally came out on Hwy 550 we were a mile away from the trail we thought we were on, and ended up calling Debbie to come get us. Luckily she didn’t come on the hike with us, or we would have all gotten caught in an afternoon thunderstorm.
In spite of getting off on the wrong trail, we were in awe of the scenery along the entire hike.
And thanks to the power of the internet and the kindness of strangers, we are moving today to a fantastic boondocking spot. We’re really looking forward to exploring more of this area.