Ridgway is an old railroad town in southwestern Colorado, less than an hour north of Telluride. It can be easy to miss unless you are looking for it. In the middle of town, on a dirt road, visitors are greeted by an enormous eagle sculpture beside an old fire station with an antique red fire truck parked in front.
With its 19th-century buildings and unpaved roads, Ridgway is the archetypal old Western town. It’s a throwback to a simpler time, a fact that—along with the authentic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places—has made the town of 1,000 a favorite location for filming Western movies.
Founded in 1890, Ridgway was the headquarters of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, which served the area’s gold and silver mines, ranches, and farms. Today, you can find artifacts and historical information about the famous railroad at the Ridgway Railroad Museum.
Built along the Uncompahgre River at the foot of the San Juan Mountains (some of the most photographed mountains in the world), Ridgway has become a hub for recreational activities. The palpable energy of this quiet town attracts visitors year-round, thanks to 300 days of sunshine. Deep canyon pools, high country lakes, roaming wildlife, abundant trails, and magnificent scenery provide opportunities for all ages and ability levels to enjoy outdoor adventures.
The town also has a growing arts community featuring galleries and studios offering jewelry, art glass, pottery, paintings, and more. Locally made sculptures, murals, and public art, including a St. Bernard, red fox, and three eagles (look for the American bald eagle with a 21-foot wingspan in Weaver Memorial Park), reflect the creative side of Ridgway.