A Colorado Springs to Ouray road trip only requires a little more than five hours of driving, but it includes so many excellent parks and destinations that you’ll have plenty of opportunities for recreation and exploration. Numerous national and state parks await you on your journey as you travel through a beautiful stretch of America. Most of the cities you’ll pass through aren’t large in size, but they’re definitely large in character and full of fun attractions to visit. If you’re ready to see some of the best scenery the mountains of Colorado have to offer, then it’s time to begin your road trip from Colorado Springs to Ouray.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is only two and a half hours from Colorado Springs, so you can’t visit this part of the country without taking in this incredible national park. More than 300 miles of trails take you all over this lovely portion of the Rocky Mountains.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
If you travel an hour and a half south of Poncha Springs, you’ll arrive at Great Sand Dunes National Park. Many people would expect to find North America’s tallest sand dunes in a more traditional desert environment, but they're actually on display in the southern part of Colorado. At this park, you can both summit a mountain and explore sand dunes, so it definitely makes for a nice addition to your road trip itinerary from Colorado Springs to Ouray.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The entrance to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is less than 10 minutes off your route, so you’ll want to visit this park before you reach Montrose. This park has plenty of opportunities for adventure and is a favorite among backpackers, hikers, rafters and rock climbers. You’ll get to see some of North America’s oldest exposed rocks by day and a stunning starlit sky at night.
Mesa Verde National Park
Why end your Colorado Springs to Ouray RV road trip just because you’ve reached your destination? If you keep going south on Highway 550 until you hit Durango and then head west on Highway 160, you’ll reach Mesa Verde National Park in about two and a half hours. This park is home to some of America’s most stunning Ancestral Puebloan ruins. Those in search of more information about the history of this park and its long-ago inhabitants may want to take a guided tour. There are plenty of trails you can explore on your own as well; you'll get to see cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and more.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is nearly four and a half hours west of Ouray, but the extra drive is well worth it when it affords the opportunity to visit this wonderful national park. If you want to see some of the stunning red sandstone rock formations for which the Southwest is known, Arches is a great place to do so. The park has over 2,000 natural sandstone arches as well as various canyons, crevasses, plateaus, mesas and more.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Cheyenne Mountain State Park is just outside of Colorado Springs, so you should definitely stop by on your road trip from Colorado Springs to Ouray. At this park, you’ll get to experience the transition of the environment from the peaks of Cheyenne Mountain to the plains that characterize the eastern portion of Colorado. There are 27 miles of trails here, so you’ll have plenty of ways to explore this lovely park.
Mueller State Park
You can reach Mueller State Park by traveling west from Colorado Springs for 45 minutes. If you’d rather visit this beautiful park later in your Colorado Springs to Ouray RV road trip, then you can get there in a little over an hour from Canon City. No matter how you arrive, you’ll enjoy exploring more than 5,000 acres of the foothills of the Rockies. Hikers, bikers and horseback riders love traversing the more than 50 miles of trails here.
Lake Pueblo State Park
Before you head west on Highway 50 from Penrose, you should go east instead and stop by Lake Pueblo State Park. Lake Pueblo is large and popular, and it’s a great place to fish, swim and boat thanks to the full-service marinas and boat ramps that make getting on the water easy. Multiple trails provide great hiking and biking options full of great views of Pikes Peak and the Wet and Greenhorn mountains.
San Luis State Park
San Luis State Park is right outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park, so it’s a convenient stop to add to your road trip itinerary from Colorado Springs to Ouray. You’ll be able to explore nearly 600 acres of land centered around the lake. Fishing, swimming and boating are favored pastimes here; birding, hiking and wildlife viewing are also popular.
Ridgway State Park
About 20 minutes before you reach Ouray, you’ll go right past Ridgway State Park. Ridgway Reservoir is perfect for boating, paddling and fishing. More than 140 species of birds live in this area, so it’s a great place for bird-watching. If you’ve forgotten your fishing pole or life jacket, you might be able to borrow one from the visitor center on the premises.
Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
East of Lake Pueblo State Park is the lovely town of Pueblo, which is home to the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk. You can explore this mile-long channel by walking alongside it or riding on an excursion boat. There are also some great restaurants, shops and pieces of art along this riverside path.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
About a dozen miles south of your route, you’ll have the chance to visit Royal Gorge Bridge & Park near Canon City. One popular attraction here is the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is a suspension bridge that lets visitors walk nearly a thousand feet above the Arkansas River far below. You can also explore this gorgeous gorge via aerial gondolas, zip lines and a sky coaster.
Wilderness Aware Rafting
Wilderness Aware Rafting is less than 30 minutes from Poncha Springs, so why not add an awesome rafting adventure to your Colorado Springs to Ouray RV road trip? Whether you’re a novice or a professional, the skilled, passionate guides of Wilderness Aware Rafting have an exciting rafting trip for you. Tours range in length from half a day to five days, so you truly can choose your own adventure.
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Visiting the Curecanti National Recreation Area gives you yet another opportunity to explore the Gunnison River and its stunning gorge. Salmon and trout fishing are huge here as are hiking, boating and camping. You can also take a 1.5-hour boat tour through the Black Canyon with a park ranger.
Museum of the Mountain West
Before you go into Montrose itself, you’ll pass by the fascinating Museum of the Mountain West. This living history museum includes multiple Old West replica buildings full of authentic artifacts and memorabilia. You’ll be able to visit interesting places like Furman’s Drug Store, the Miner’s Delight Saloon and the Stott Hotel here.
There are plenty of dump stations and campgrounds in Colorado, but you’ll have to travel a bit off your route to find them. Many of the state and national parks can accommodate RVs, so you may want to check their sites for more information.
About an hour into your road trip from Colorado Springs to Ouray, you’ll reach Canon City. In addition to visiting the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, you should also stop by Skyline Drive and the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.
A little over two hours into your journey, you’ll roll into Salida. This is a great place to go rafting or visit a winery, brewery or distillery. You can also visit Monarch Mountain and ride the Monarch Scenic Tram.
Two hours before you reach Ouray, you’ll have the chance to stop in and explore Gunnison. Built close to where Tomichi Creek merges with the Gunnison River, this town presents numerous opportunities for lovely views and fun activities. Nearby attractions include the Curecanti National Recreation Area and Gunnison National Forest.
Montrose marks the end of your journey on Highway 50 and the beginning of your southward journey on Highway 550. Be sure to check out the Ute Indian Museum, the Museum of the Mountain West and the Montrose Botanic Gardens.
Ridgway is only 16 minutes from Ouray, and extending your Colorado Springs to Ouray road trip for a stop there is well worth it. Great places to visit include Ridgway State Park and Last Dollar Road.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Colorado Springs to Ouray, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Colorado Springs or Ouray.
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