What to do when visiting what’s known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado.

Ouray Hot Springs
Courtesy of the City of Ouray

Sunset’s Insider Guide series highlights seasonal diversions and secret travel tips from local experts. Follow along as we learn where to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

Robin Gavriel

Robin Gavriel. Photo courtesy of The Western Hotel & Spa.

Meet the Insider: Robin Gavriel, Spa Supervisor, The Western

Location: Ouray, Colorado

Robin Gavriel is a deep well of information when it comes to the charming old Western town of Ouray. Having lived in Ouray for over 10 years, the avid nature enthusiast is passionate about sharing the love for the city, known for its pristine natural beauty and deep heritage. Here, she shares her insights for what to do when visiting what’s known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado.


The Western Hotel Ouray
The Western

Stephan Werk

The recently renovated Western hotel in Ouray built circa 1891 is “contemporary while still having the feel of the Wild West. The Saloon has a pre-Prohibition art nouveau-style back bar” and the in-house restaurant offers “farm-to-table Southwestern-style fare.” You don’t want to miss its “Grotto Spa hot soaking pool, cold plunge, and sauna.” And at “Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings, the former home of the Native Ute tribal leader and town namesake Chief Ouray, they offer relaxing natural mineral spring soaks and a rock vapor cave known for its healing subterranean steam.”


Brickhouse 737
Brick House 737

Courtesy of Brickhouse 737

St. Elmo is home to the subterranean restaurant “Bon Ton, the original residence and boarding house of Mrs. Kittie Heit, who housed and fed the local miners.” Built in 1889, this spot now serves “delicious Northern Italian food—a tribute to the many Northern Italians who were the first miners in Ouray, bringing hardnecked garlic and Italian dandelion, both of which have naturalized to the area.” Maggie’s Kitchen serves “delicious burgers with meat sourced from local ranches, salads, sandwiches, and hand-cut fries.” And at Brick House 737 you’ll find “local farm-to-table dishes and unique cocktails.” And Ouray Brewery makes excellent “hand-crafted beers, soups, sandwiches, and salads.”


The Saloon Ouray
The Saloon at The Western

Stephan Werk

Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing (formerly Ourayle House Brewery) is “conveniently located next to Maggie’s Kitchen for your combined drinking and eating pleasures with great town and mountain views. Sauvage Spectrum Wine Lounge offers local wines by the glass. And Gray Tavern specializes in making its own beer, for a noteworthy drinking experience.”


Humble Mountain has “unique handmade local items—everything from jewelry to furniture.” Columbine Mineral Shop is “a purveyor of rock and gem specimens.” Gator Emporium offers a plethora of handmade gifts, mineral and animal specimens, and beads, and The Shaggy Coo has “unique Colorado-made, Western-style jewelry, clothing, and home decor.”


Basecamp Ouray
Basecamp Ouray

Courtesy of Basecamp Ouray

The Ouray Alchemist Museum “is an essential, with locally sourced alchemy and apothecary items, including medicines from a bygone era.” Visit Ouray Hot Springs or Box Cañon Falls Park & Nature Center, a “hiking trail with a tunnel and amazing waterfall.” Or, check out Basecamp Ouray, which provides guiding services for rock climbing, ice climbing, and Via Ferrata trips.