Tucked away in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado is the historic town of Ouray, a place where travelers hunker down to get away and enjoy outdoor activities. Just off main street (Highway 550) is the affordable and family friendly Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, nestled in a “box canyon” at the base of the San Juans. The lodge is well-maintained, both inside and out, and during our summer visit, the property popped with colorful mountain flowers.
Located near the Four Corners, where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado converge, Ouray is a road trippers haven. The San Juan Scenic and Historic Byway are one of America’s most beautiful skyways, and the highway cuts is this mountain town’s main street. Portions of this byway, south of Ouray are known as the Million Dollar Highway, and the surrounding mountains with its spectacular scenery are often called the “Switzerland of America.”
We had overnighted in Montrose, less than an hour drive through Ridgway to the north, to arrive in Ouray, a Victorian town designated as a National Historic District. Prior to continuing on and riding the memorable and scenic Million Dollar Highway, the stretch between Ouray and Silverton, a large sign on Main Street directed us to the hotel.
The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is retro-like motel, reminiscent of the days of intimate
family-owned motels back in the 1960-1970s (sans neon sign). Stretching a half block, this Colorado hot springs hotel is a lodge like structure with wrap-around decks providing the entrance to the 39-rooms. The centerpiece is the reception area, with living room type seating, fireplace and check-in desk. We were greeted quickly and pointed to our rooms. Parking is complimentary.
Our room was on the second floor, accessed by sturdy stained wood stairs. The deck was wide between the rooms and the rails and wooden benches were interspersed throughout for those wanting to the outdoors. The next morning our “neighbor” enjoyed her complimentary coffee and checked her email (strong WiFi!) while seated on the bench.
The rooms had recently been refreshed. Although not luxurious by any means, our room was spacious, very clean and bright with what appeared to be newer more modern bedding. A small desk with 2 chairs set near the picture window. The walls are pine tongue-in-groove paneling, which fit the setting of the surrounding mountains.
The large entertainment center housed a flat-screen satellite TV with a DVD player (complimentary DVDs in the lobby), coffee maker, mini-frig and microwave. A “saloon door” divided the main room for the dressing and marble vanity sink area, with a separate room with toilet and bathtub/shower.
Historic Hot Springs
The hot springs at the Box Canyon Lodge were first used by the Ute Indians, the original settlers of the Ouray valley. Today, guests at the motel are given free access the outdoor mineral hot springs tubs are set on terraced decks behind the lodge. The tubs offer a 360-degree of the surrounding San Juan Mountains.
Complimentary continental breakfast is served in the “lobby,” but it’s a bare minimum breakfast with juice, fruit and muffins. Over 50 shops and 19 restaurants, an easy walk from the Box Canyon Lodge, are located on Ouray’s Main Street.
For travelers exploring beautiful southwest Colorado, the historic Ouray on the San Juan Skyway is a must stop. Within an hour (depending on weather), you can visit Durango and Telluride. Overnight at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs for a relaxed small mountain town getaway providing a budget friendly Colorado motel – with the added bonus of hot springs
Photos and accommodations courtesy of Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs.