Ridgway is one of the famous mountain towns that make up the San Juan Skyway. If you are arriving at the Skyway from the north, Ridgway will undoubtedly be the first of the towns you will pass through and for this reason it is referred to as the ‘Gateway to the San Juan’s.’
Nestled in the Uncompahgre Valley at an elevation of about 7000′ this mountain town with a population of about 1500 is the quintessential Rocky Mountain town. From it’s valley floor you can look up to see the mountains of the Sneffels Range that hover above Ridgway and its surrounding areas at heights of 13 to 14 thousand feet. Being snowcapped for most of the year these mountains make a dramatic backdrop for this peaceful community as the Uncompahgre river winds its way through the town below.
Over the years Ridgway has become known as an artists’ community and there are plenty of artsy sculptures and visual presentations represented throughout the town. There are also a number of shops you could visit where artists will show off their wares and there are also a number of niche restaurants and pubs. One of the more notable restaurants is the ‘True Grit’ which is located at the very spot that was central to the movie of the same name starring John Wayne in 1969. Yet another addition to the artistic community is the Sherbino Theater which is a great spot for live entertainment, poetry readings, lectures, cult movies and live theater.
Don’t be deluded into thinking that Ridgway is just about all things artistic, because it is located at or near some of the most exciting outdoor sports areas in Colorado. You can ride your kayak down the river through town and through the famous wildlife preserve of Dennis Weaver Park, you can hike the surrounding hills on dozens of trails, you can mountain bike down one of the most famous mountain biking regions in Colorado called the RAT Trails, you can fish at a number of quality fishing spots just outside of town, you can ‘ice climb’ during the winter at a spot just 15 minutes away, one of the most famous ski resorts in the country, Telluride, is just a 45 minute drive away, the reservoir is just 4 miles away and provides a great place for swimming, boating, kayaking and waterskiing and birding and nature walks are all located within a few minutes.