Destination Ridgway Colorado! Almost 10 Years Later

In 2014 the Montrose Mirror wrote about how much Ridgway Colorado was growing and changing. As a business that works primarily with tourists, we are always amazed at the comments we receive from visitors. “What a cool place!”, “It feels like a real town, not just a tourist town.”, “How did I not know about this part of the state?!”.

With each comment and each year, we have watched the region change. Fourteen years ago, our season was a tourist-focused three to four months and only a handful of locals even entered the doors of our shop. Now we are open year-round, some of those tourists have become residents and our trip offerings grow with each passing year. Though tourists are still our primary customers, each year we also see more support from the immediate community as the region grows. With all of the amazing outdoor activities Ridgway has to offer in close proximity – fishing, rafting, climbing, biking, ballooning, hiking, skiing and more – it is no wonder that more people are deciding to call Ridgway home.
Below are some interesting takes on how Ridgway is changing and what some people in the community are excited to see develop. Whatever it is, Ridgway is becoming a town with a voice and we are lucky to still be here after 22 years!
Jen Coates, our amazing town manager at the time wrote in Colorado Cities and Towns:

What does economic and community development look like for a community of fewer than 1,000 people in southwestern Colorado, where major global shifts are working hard to direct and influence our fate? Even more, interestingly, who does the “developing”?

The Town of Ridgway has been exploring this topic from many angles. For more than a century, Ridgway has experienced numerous and significant transitions — from the settling of the Northern Utes through the burgeoning industries of the railroad, mining, ranching, farming, and manufacturing, then looming inundation by a proposed reservoir, a resurgence, speculation, construction, and growth, retail, tourism, and, now, creative arts. With yet more transition on the horizon, pressures and desires from inside the community have replaced external ones, and a new spirit has emerged, one rooted in the individual and the collective, a community rising…

Montrose MIRROR wrote:
RIDGWAY- Some folks can remember hearing Ridgway called a “pass-through town,” a stop for lunch or gas on the way to Telluride or Ouray.
Now, Ridgway is itself a destination, one of Colorado’s favorite in-state getaways.
This hip little enclave in the San Juans, founded in 1890 as the headquarters of Otto Mears’ Rio Grande Southern Narrow Gauge Railway, is a feast for the senses these days. What’s the recipe for Ridgway’s recent success? Start with a few staples–an engaged and active citizenry in a picturesque, well-organized mountain town set amidst snow-capped peaks, with excellent recreational opportunities and close proximity to Ridgway State Park and Reservoir and to the popular Orvis and Ouray hot springs.
Include excellent eateries in all price ranges, a rustic and well-placed Welcome Center/Railway Museum, a beautiful up-to-date library, good schools and an exciting historic backstory that includes railways, miners, Native Americans, cowboys, ranchers, artists, and even movie stars.
Add a blossoming arts economy and creative district, strong partnerships with regional…READ MORE