Tucked into a valley surrounded by multiple national forests and jagged, snowcapped peaks, Ridgway stands out for its eclectic mix of rustic charm and railroad and ranching history.
Located northeast of Telluride and south of Montrose, Ridgway is also a cinematic hot spot of sorts. It’s where “True Grit,” “How the West Was Won” and “Tribute to a Bad Man” were filmed. Follow this guide to exploring Ridgway like a native.
Things to See & Do
After journeying to Ridgway, you’re going to want a massage. Spoil yourself with one at Chipeta Solar Springs Resort. You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy their southwestern stone treatment, dry cedar-wood sauna, steam room or Zen garden. Down the road, Orvis Hot Springs offers stunning San Juan Mountain views, and the pools have pebble bottoms where the springs bubble to the surface. Plus, they offer Watsu (blending water and shiatsu) massages, lodging and camping. Aren’t you relaxed just thinking about it?
Attend a live show at The Sherbino, affectionately called “The Sherb” by locals. This year-round, more-than-a-century-old venue is much loved by residents and visitors alike. The intimate theater boasts a busy calendar of live music, films, theater performances and lectures. Get there early and have your bartender duck as you snap a photo of the “S” stained-glass windows that are mounted behind the wooden bar.
Need some tips on what to do around Ridgway? Pop into shops along Sherman, Cora or Clinton streets and ask for activity ideas from local shop owners. The Ridgway Creative District is full of entrepreneurs who chose to set up here because of their love for local activities and scenery. Keep an eye out for the Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Ridgway brochure for listings on eateries, artisans, museums and visitor-focused services. Also, check out alpenglowarts.com for a calendar of artsy events.
Start your culinary journey with Crumb Bakery and Cafe, which serves up a delicious mix of vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as baked goods from a giant glass case. It’s your quintessential small-town bakery with a few Ridgway twists, where people shop for loaves of freshly baked bread or eat an early-morning bagel. You also can’t go wrong with a fluffy omelet or fresh salad. As the sign on the wall says, sit down — then stay for a spell while you eat your weight in cinnamon buns.
Located next to the Uncompahgre River, Land & Ocean — with its butter-yellow walls — is as inviting as your grandma’s kitchen. You’ll delight in the Costa Rican cuisine that chef Luis Bolanos cooks up. It’s all based on dishes he consumed growing up in his native country. Your meal should begin with Luis’ famous guacamole, made with an entire avocado, followed by ceviche pura vida (succulent shrimp doused in citrus juices). Once you’ve said goodbye to the chef, proceed outside to Rollans Park for a brisk walk.
In Ridgway proper, the cozy Eatery 66 is dishing up local meats and produce from their cozy location with their silver-bullet-esque Airstream trailer, where the business started, out on the large patio. Indulge in the Korean pork belly BLT smothered in sriracha mayo under one of the colorful patio shades. Or snag a seat on the green couch inside during winter with a cup of the French onion soup. It’s covered in the most magical layer of gooey cheese you’ll ever see. Wash it all down with Mermaid Water, made with tequila, lime and topped with Topo Chico. Talk about refreshing!
OK, your stomach is now satisfied from all your foodie-pleasing stops around town. It’s time to breathe in some of that crisp Colorado air. Head into the Cimarron and San Juan mountains for an invigorating hike to get your heart rate up. You can take a leisurely stroll — or cruiser ride — through a magical landscape on a concrete path starting at Dallas Creek Bridge on CR 24 that leads into Ridgway State Park. The park, with Ridgway Reservoir at its heart, offers yurts for camping, and plenty of water-based activities. Windsurfing, anyone?
If you want panoramic views of the San Juan peaks, which will still be dusted in snow even in summer, hike or mountain bike along trails through Top of the Pines up CR 5. But if you’re looking to challenge yourself, a strenuous but extremely satisfying hike on lush forest routes to Blue Lakes or Blaine Basin at the end of CR 7 is where it’s at.
That’s not all though. Ridgway is also home to RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service. You can holler your way down rapids on their whitewater-rafting trips or let out a deep sigh as you cast your line on a guided fly-fishing excursion. Looking to balance the beauty of your surroundings and your actual body? Their stand-up paddleboarding junkets might do the trick.