For those who enjoy an easy bicycle ride, the mountains in Ouray can prove challenging. Although the mostly paved bicycle trail from Ridgway Colorado into the Ridgway State Park is far from flat, it beckons many riders, young and old with its beautiful scenery and its easy pace. The uphills are fairly short and mostly forgiving. For the family with young cyclists, the Ridgway State Park offers some safe cycling on a paved trail, through grassy meadows, along the river and just as it turns into the Reservoir there is a small foot bridge leading to the other side for those who might appreciate time to stretch their legs. There is a wonderful picnic area for Day Use that offers a nice water station, restrooms, tables, grills and parking. Opportunities for hiking, birding, fishing and wildlife viewing abound in the park and cyclists can follow the path. Partially paved, partially covered with gravel, it is a pleasant ride near the river and the lake.
History buffs will enjoy the numerous markers complete with stories of bygone eras such as that of the town of Dallas (not a trace left except for photographs) or the old railroad bridge across the Uncompaghre that was rehabilitated by an AmeriCorp crew in 1995.
Watchable wildlife includes prairie dogs, chipmunks, deer, coyotes, bears, mountain lions and the very occasional non-poisonous snake or lizard. The Ridgway State Park maintains their Birding Checklist and it is filled with over 140 species of birds and waterfowl that have been spotted throughout the year.
The fully accessible picnic pavillion on the south side of Ridgway State Park is very inviting. Restrooms, a water station, charcoal grills and shelters dot the landscape and make a great place for a rest with children. Lock up your bikes and take a short hike across the foot bridge to the other side of the river, just before the river ends and the lake begins. Anglers would also find this a nice spot to test their skills.
The bicycle trail can be accessed from the town of Ridgway. The trail starts at Hartwell Park in the center of town and heads north about 4 miles until the first section of gravel starts. Inside the park, there are another 3-4 miles of trails alternating between pavement and gravel.
Our Ouray Hotel has more information on bicycle riding in Ouray as well as a list of things to do with kids in Ouray County on our website and we enjoy answering questions and assisting wtih trip planning.