Ridgway On The Rails: 1-Day Itinerary
A full day journey back into local railroad history
As the birthplace and early headquarters of the famed Rio Grande Southern Railroad, the town of Ridgway is a center point for discovering the West’s rail history. Located on the northern edge of the rugged San Juan Mountains, the town and the surrounding area relied on trains including the Denver & Rio Grande and Silverton Railroads for the development of mining, ranching and agriculture. Local historians and train enthusiasts have preserved this important heritage, and invite visitors to travel back into our rich past.
In & Around Ridgway
Open everyday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fresh, healthy cuisine with heart and soul. Voted Best Breakfast & Lunch. Summer outdoor dining.
615 W. Clinton St., Ridgway; 970-626-9800, www.katesplaceridgway.com
Ridgway Railroad Museum & Ridgway Railroad Depot
Check out the Ouray County Ranch History Museum in the historic Railroad Depot. Visitors can see the interior and exterior of the depot, built in 1890 by the Rio Grande Southern railroad, and featured in the 1961 movie, "How the West Was Won".
Step out back of the museum to the pasture where you can explore several historic train cars including the famous Galloping Goose, one of seven motor railcars made by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad for small passenger and cargo loads. Groups can schedule guided tours and ride the Galloping Goose (Motor Car 1) on a half-mile loop of demonstration rail (weather permitting) almost anytime of year by appointment.
- Locations: Ouray County Ranch History Museum, 321 Sherman St., Ridgway, CO 81432 (park in the lot at the SW corner of Sherman and Railroad Streets, next to Hartwell Park, and walk across Railroad St. to the museum).
- More information: https://www.ridgwayrailroadmuseum.org/, 970-626-5181
True Grit Cafe
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. ''Where Comfort Food Meets True West''. Serving locals and visitors for over 30 years. Known for our local beef and pork!
123 North Lena St., Ridgway; 970-626-8739; www.truegritcafe.com
Hike or Bike
...along the historic railroad bed of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad corridor. This well-maintained concrete trail is 5.1 miles one way so will be a 10.2 mile round trip (about 3.5 hours by foot or 70 minutes by bike). You will cross over a picturesque, restored railroad trestle (bridge), follow the scenic Uncompahgre River through typical high desert landscape with sagebrush, juniper and pinon trees, and cross through Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, 60 acres of permanent wildlife preserve with a picnic area and sculptures. North of the park, the route is open sagebrush with a stunning mountain backdrop along U.S Highway 550 and ends in Ridgway State Park's Dallas Creek area with more trails, the Ridgway Reservoir, picnic areas and prime fishing spots.
- Route: You can leave your car at the Hartwell Park parking lot on Railroad Street and start your hike going north on the sidewalk, going over the crosswork towards the river after Charles Street, and entering the start of the river trail near the San Miguel Power Association yard. Or, you can drive your car north on Railroad Street to the dead end next to San Miguel Power, park there and start the trail at that point. If you are want a shorter hike (28 minutes, 1.4 miles one way), you can turn around at Dennis Weaver Park at River Sage Drive.
- More information: Map of trail: https://goo.gl/maps/3jA84FsLJhz; https://www.traillink.com/trail/uncompahgre-riverway-trail/; https://dennisweaverpark.com/
Evenings at the Sherbino are always fun and interesting, from musicals and plays to concerts, documentaries and even game night, you’ll be entertained and inspired.
- Location: Sherbino Theater, 604 Clinton St, Ridgway, CO 81432
- More information: https://sherbino.org/, 970-318-0892
Boutique Hotel Suites offer luxurious mountain contemporary lodging with full kitchens for couples and families. Only hotel-style accommodations in the historic district.
Contact: 630 Sherman St./Hwy. 62, Ridgway; 970-729-2366; www.ridgwaylofts.com
Scenic Drive Back into Train History
Afternoon Activity Option 2: Relaxing Drive
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But, wait, there's more!