The town of Ouray (pronounced you-ray) is nestled in a narrow, steep-walled canyon in the shadow of the San Juan Mountains. It was named for the great Southern Ute chief Ouray, labeled a visionary by the U.S. Army and branded a traitor by his people because he attempted to assimilate the Utes into white society. The former mining town is only a few blocks wide, but is filled with lavish old hotels, commercial buildings, and
residences. More than 25 classic edifices are included in the walking-tour brochure issued by the Ouray County Historical Society and available at the town visitor center. Among the points of interest are the grandiose Wright’s Opera House and the Western Hotel. The town’s ultimate glory lies in its surroundings, and it has become an increasingly popular destination for climbers (both the mountain and ice varieties), mountain-bike fanatics, and hikers.