You may wonder if there will be ice when you visit Ouray Ice Park. Well, thanks to generous donations from several supporters, the park as a source of constant water. The plumbing keeps the rock face sheeted in ice throughout the season. Of course, in the summer, the ice wall is allowed to melt, but the weather is not a problem during the winter. Ice climbers will always find ice to challenge their skills.
Each year, the Ouray Ice Park hosts the Ouray Ice Festival in January. The Ouray Ice Festival is a competition among the top ice climbers from around the world. Spectators also come to enjoy the spectacle. One of the best things about the Ouray Ice Festival is that all of the proceeds go to fund the Ouray Ice Park. The income funds operations and maintenance.
Not only does the Ice Festival host competitions each year, but it also provides new ice climbers with the chance to learn the sport. It is held on the weekend that commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Manufacturers of ice climbing gear parade their wares, and clinics are held throughout the weekend. Participate in gear auctions, film presentations and even a Kids Climbing Wall when visiting Ouray Ice Park during the festival.
The Ouray Ice Park opens each year in December. If you are not up to climbing yourself, you can come to the park and enjoy many of the observation areas, watching the more daring people attack the ice wall.
When done with your visit to Ouray Ice Park, take some time to explore the town of Ouray. It is nestled in a river valley in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Ouray is sometimes called the Switzerland of America. It was begun as a mining town, and now draws visitors each year due to the stunning majesty of the surrounding peaks, waterfalls, hot springs, and more! It is also considered the Jeep Capital of the world. If you are visiting Ouray in the summer, spring, or fall, plan on going on a Jeep tour. You will be enthralled by the back roads and trails you can see from the comfort of your rugged Jeep.
When visiting Ouray in the warm season, pack your hiking boots! There are more than sixty-five hiking trails in the area and they provide some of the most beautiful views of the Rockies in all of Colorado. Or if history is your thing, take the time to explore the many ghost tows throughout the area. The mining industry came and went in this part of America years ago, and left its mark through the many abandoned towns left behind. Some of the towns can only be reached by Jeep or another four-wheel-drive vehicle.
But, of course, Ouray Ice Park is the major draw to the area. The park has a mile of farmed ice for your enjoyment, and has areas for most levels of ability. There are many outfitters in Ouray, so do not worry about bringing equipment, if you want to pack light.