Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Europe and RVing through Switzerland? Then perhaps motor a fraction of the distance to Ouray, Colorado. The mountain community is at 8,000 feet in the beautiful San Juan Mountains and bills itself as the “Switzerland of America.”
Ouray was once a mining town beginning in the 1870’s and drove the local economy for nearly a century. Today, it’s main industry is tourism with its abundance of activity. The scenic San Juan Mountains are just one of the many reasons to plan a RV adventure here.
For instance, four wheel drive vehicle expeditions into the San Juan Mountains (via your own vehicle, rentals or guided tours) are one of the most popular activities.
There is literally a “jeep” rental/tour outfitter (or two) on every block. Further, hiking opportunities exist right from Ouray or in any of the nearby mountains. One of the easy more popular trails is the dog friendly Perimeter Trail, which circles the town.
Another popular activity is mountain biking. Visitors can choose between the mountainous four wheel drive roads or ride the “RAT” (Ridge Area Trails) that’s are known to be “the holy grail of biking.”
Additionally, waterfall lovers will be in nirvana with the variety of falls in the area. Two that can be seen right from town are Cascade Falls and Box Canyon Falls.
When to go
The super adventurous will want to plan their visit in January during the annual Ouray Ice Festival. This is when the waterfall becomes walls of ice and attracts ice climbers from around the world. For the less adventurous, several museums, art boutiques, and antique shops are also available to enjoy.
Additionally, there’s no shortage of campgrounds in Ouray and the surrounding area either. They range from privately-owned campgrounds to State parks. Of special note, owners of larger RVs will want to inquire about the forest service campgrounds as the access roads can be steep, narrow, and rough.
Traveling with your RV in Switzerland, just another adventure in RVing!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.