Ouray Ice Park

Ouray Ice Park
The Ouray Ice Festival draws climbers from around the world. | Photo by citizenswaine / flickr

Staff writer

The Ouray Ice Park is a free, outdoor park for ice climbing on the sheer walls of the Uncompahgre Gorge just south of town.

The ice is created by drawing water from the city reservoir, piping it to the end of the gorge’s cliffs, and then spraying it through 300-plus spigots.

The rest is an ice wall more than a mile wide with routes ranging in difficulty from beginner to world-class and a few dozen feet to 90-140 feet for intermediate and advanced climbers. The routes bear names such as “Pick o’ the Vic,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Chinese Water Torture,” and “Cartman’s Mom.”

The park is on private land leased to the city, and it is run by volunteers from the nonprofit Ouray Ice Park. The park began operation in 1994.

The Ouray Ice Festival, held each January, brings together ice climbers, gear manufacturers and spectators for a weekend of competition. The festival was launched in 1996 and is regarded as the top event of its kind in the world.

Ouray is ranked as one of the world’s most popular locations for ice climbing, with numerous other ice-climbing routes in the mountains beyond the Ice Park.

The park is open from mid-December until early April, weather permitting. It is located just off U.S. 550 on Camp Bird Mine Road, a 10-minute walk from Ouray. Park right before the bridge that crosses the gorge.

Ouray Ice Park
U.S. 550 and State Highway 361
Ouray, CO 81427
(970) 325-4288
Website