How do you say “Ouray?”

I walked into the Photos of Ouray store and asked the kind woman how to pronounce “Ouray,” as in Ouray, Colorado. There had been some discussion in the group about how to say it, and nobody seemed to know. I even asked a gentleman we met near Yankee Girl Mine on the Red Mountain Mining District Trail, but later I couldn’t remember his answer. I guess I’m not very attentive. I often forget people’s names five minutes after we’ve been introduced.

“It’s pronounced ‘You Ray’, with the emphasis on the Ray,” she answered. You-RAY. Rhymes with “Hurray!” Of course, I guess we should take that with a grain of salt, as she wasn’t a native, but it’s probably correct.

Hurray! is what I say about our trip to Ouray this past week. On the spur of the moment, we equipped ourselves to join our friends on a trip to Ouray to ride side-by-sides (Razors, or RZRs if you will). By spur of the moment, I mean my friend Scott called me on Saturday to point out a “Can’t miss this deal!” in the local classifieds on a 2019 XP Turbo, and by Wednesday morning we were on our way to meet them in Ouray, having procured the side-by-side, a trailer, and the immediately necessary accessories. We are usually a tad more deliberate about such things, but Scott’s been calling/texting/emailing me similar messages for about two or three years now, and we finally succumbed.

Our Ouray foray (couldn’t resist) was spectacular! We rode the aforementioned Red Mining District area, Black Bear Pass (not all the way to Telluride), Imogene Pass, Ophir Pass, Yankee Boy Basin, and Corkscrew Gulch in three days.

My takeaways were that (1) the area is absolutely gorgeous, (2) it’s still cold in the mountains right now, and (3) do not underestimate the power of an avalanche! I know that Colorado got a lot of snow this year, and it showed as we drove by several avalanche zones that look like this:

IMG_0124.JPGand this:

We even drove through an avalanche “cutout” that had ~20 foot tall walls on the road to Corkscrew Gulch:


The views were breathtaking:

IMG_0137.jpg(looking South at the top of Corkscrew around 8 in the morning).

We got a little rain here and there (mostly at night), and it was a little chilly, but we stayed warm in good gear and had a wonderful time.

Sherrie and some of our friends took the Ouray Perimeter Trail hike. They did this at the end of one of our long days of riding. I was quite tired. I had gone back to our room for a reason I can no longer remember and agreed to meet them at the trailhead. I was under the impression the trail was some sort of smooth path around town (nothing could be further from the truth! Read the link above), so I wore flip flops. We got to the trailhead near the Visitors Center, and I was like, “Yeah–you guys have fun. I’m not doing that in flip flops.” They tried to prevail on me to go, but I was having none of it. Based on how tired they were about 3-4 hours later, I got the better end of that deal! They had a great time, in spite of the 4-5 times they went up and down hundreds of feet of climbing. I wandered around town and asked a clerk in another store how to pronounce Uncompahgre (as in the mountains; it’s un-come-PAH-gray in case you are wondering).


Based on their hike, we decided the next day to go to the Box Canon Falls (not a misspelling; see this). That was a cool (descriptively and literally) place. The power of moving water to change the world over time is amazing.

We are already looking forward to going again!

2 thoughts on “How do you say “Ouray?”

  1. Now that I know how to pronounce Ouray, it’s so obvious it couldn’t be pronounced any other way…and I feel lots of shouts of “Ouray!” coming out of my mouth this week:)


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