It’s common knowledge that Colorado’s most colorful season is fall, and those looking to go leaf peeping this year should travel a little bit off the beaten path to Ouray in southern Colorado.

Last year, the road between Silverton and Ouray was damaged due to a rock slide that closed the road for four months. This fall, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is being preemptive by scheduling rock mitigation for a duration of five months beginning Sept. 8. The construction will be intensive, and the road between Silverton and Ouray will be closed to traffic for eight hours each weekday and will have one lane alternating traffic on the weekends for at least a month. This construction is occurring during Ouray’s peak season, and despite the road delays, Ouray will still have the magnificent fall colors that are definitely worth the drive.

Beautiful fall colors in Ouray. Photo courtesy Nature's Finest Images

Beautiful fall colors in Ouray.
Photo courtesy Nature’s Finest Images, Photographer Tony Litschewski

The historical town of Ouray offers travelers a variety of activities, whether it’s stopping by for a couple hours, or staying a couple days in town. Locally made candy, jerky, chocolate and beer are just a small slice of what makes this town so special. If Ouray is not your final destination, make sure to stop and take a break and get some of the snacks mentioned above, and take a peek in the gear, jewelry, art and other specialty shops that line the streets of downtown.

For those travelers who have more time to spare, Ouray is home to some of the most unique outdoor activities in the state. If you’re looking for a hike, Ouray has a selection of hikes ranging from the Ouray Perimeter Trail where hikers can see Cascade Falls, Box Canyon and Potato Patch. Longer, more extensive hikes include the Chief Ouray Mine Trail, Old Horsethief Trail and Twin Peaks Trail. After a long day of hiking and exploring, rest your tired legs in the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa or Orvis Hot Springs in the neighboring town Ridgway.

Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Photo courtesy Ouray Hotsprings Pool

Ouray Hot Springs Pool.
Photo courtesy Ouray Hotsprings Pool

No road trip would be complete without learning a little bit of history along the way, so stop in the Ouray County Historical Museum or the Ouray Alchemist Pharmaceutical Museum to learn more about Colorado’s history.

Don’t let the construction stop you from spending a little—or a lot—of time in Ouray because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not about the destination, but the journey to get there.