Panoramic view of Ouray, Colorado.

Denver to Ouray on a Budget: Our 2023 Roadtrip Guide

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Road Trip Guide Denver to Ouray, Colorado

Are you looking for a budget-friendly adventure through the rugged mountains of Colorado? If so, grab your backpack and hit the road from Denver to Ouray! Our guide is the perfect weekend getaway with friends or family. This route is packed with breathtaking views, outdoor activities, and free attractions that won’t break the bank. So let’s start our journey!

Distance from Denver to Ouray

The shortest distance between Denver and Ouray is 301 miles by taking the US-285S and US-50W highways; alternative routes are slightly longer: 333 miles by taking the I-70W route and 341 miles if you take the US-50W only. This guide considers the shortest - and most scenic - route (US-285S and US-50W).

Denver to Ouray drive time

Driving time from Denver to Ouray in normal conditions is approximately 5h33min by taking the shortest route; other options should be slightly longer but no more than 6h20min in total. Our guide considers an overnight stay in Breckenridge as a way to soak in the attractions on the road. Read on to learn more!

Day 1: Denver to Breckenridge

Stop 1: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

  • Distance: 15 miles from Denver
  • Travel Time: 30 minutes

Start your day with a visit to the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. This stunning park is famous for its towering sandstone formations and open-air amphitheater that has hosted concerts for over a century. Take a hike on the trails or simply enjoy the scenery, or visit the amphitheatre which has hosted plenty of world-class acts. This is a must-do stop when driving from Denver to Ouray.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Image by Benjamin Rascoe at Unsplash

Stop 2: Georgetown

  • Distance: 45 miles from Red Rocks Park
  • Travel Time: 1 hour

Next, head to Georgetown, a charming mountain town with a rich mining history. Walk along the main street and admire the colorful Victorian buildings that have been preserved from the town’s heyday in the late 1800s. Visit the Hotel de Paris Museum, a restored 19th-century hotel that offers a glimpse into life during Colorado’s mining boom.

Georgetown Loop locomotive. Image by Claude Richmond at Unsplash

Stop 3: Loveland Pass

  • Distance: 13 miles from Georgetown
  • Travel Time: 20 minutes

Take a drive up the winding road of Loveland Pass, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. This high-altitude route is one of the most scenic drives in Colorado, and it’s free! Stop at the top and take a short hike to get a closer look at the rugged landscape.

Stop 4: Breckenridge

  • Distance: 18 miles from Loveland Pass
  • Travel Time: 30 minutes

End your day in Breckenridge, a picturesque town nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Take a stroll down Main Street, where you’ll find a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Relax in one of the town’s many parks, or take a scenic gondola ride up the mountain.

Breckenridge scenery. Photo by Joe Dudeck at Unsplash

Breckenridge Brewery & Pub

This local favorite has been serving up award-winning craft beer and delicious food since 1990.

Their menu features a variety of options, including pub favorites like burgers and fish and chips, as well as more elevated dishes like grilled salmon and roasted beet salad. And of course, their beer selection is top-notch, with options ranging from classic IPAs to seasonal brews. The brewery itself is also worth a visit. Take a tour to learn about the brewing process and history of the brewery, or simply enjoy a pint in the cozy pub atmosphere. With its great food, excellent beer, and friendly service, Breckenridge Brewery & Pub is definitely a must-visit spot in Breckenridge.

Breckenridge Brewery & Pub. Photo by Breckenridge Brewery & Pub

Day 2: Breckenridge to Ouray

Stop 5: Hoosier Pass

  • Distance: 23 miles from Breckenridge
  • Travel Time: 40 minutes

Drive over Hoosier Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in Colorado, for breathtaking views of the Tenmile Range and the Continental Divide. Stop at the summit and take a short hike to see alpine wildflowers and maybe even some wildlife.

Moonrise at Hoosier Pass, Colorado. Image by Steven Foster at Unsplash

Stop 6: Buena Vista

  • Distance: 36 miles from Hoosier Pass
  • Travel Time: 50 minutes

Next, head to Buena Vista, a quaint town nestled in the heart of the Arkansas River Valley. Stroll down Main Street and check out the local shops and eateries. Relax at the Buena Vista River Park, where you can go fishing, kayaking, or simply enjoy the scenery.

Stop 7: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  • Distance: 115 miles from Buena Vista
  • Travel Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Before arriving in Ouray, make sure you include a visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which boasts some of the steepest cliffs and oldest rock formations in North America. Take a scenic drive along the South Rim Road, where you’ll have stunning views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape. If you have time, take a short hike on one of the park’s trails.

Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. Image by Joshua J. Cotten at Unsplash

Stop 8: Ouray

  • Distance: 67 miles from Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Travel Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

End your journey in our stunning Ouray, a charming mountain town known as the “Switzerland of America” for its alpine scenery. Take one of our half-day canyoning tours or explore some of the area using this Ouray half-day guide.

Now taking bookings for the 2023 season.

Ouray is our home and Canyoning is our way of life. Come experience canyoning with us in Colorado.

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