Ridgeway is a small western town called the “Gateway to the San Juans Mountains”. It is on the cross roads to two of the most beautiful mountain Ranges in Western Colorado, The Mt. Sneffels and the Cimarron Ranges.
If you are a western movies fan, you have seen Ridgeway. It was Fort Smith, in John Wayne’s Movie, True Grit. The hanging tree park and the jail are still recognizable. Other scenes in the movie were filmed at the big meadow near Owl Creek Pass.
Ridgway plays up its western heritage in a grand way. Beside the old fashion store fronts, and the village park, they have a Pioneer Town next the Uncomphrage River, as well, as the famous Galloping Goose railroad car and the narrow gauge railroad park.
The Jail Wagon from “True Grit”
The Ridgeway Railroad Open Air Museum at The Visitors Center is worth a quick stop. There are 15 displays including the famous Galloping Goose, a truck/train combo.
The Galloping goose was built in 1931 to help save the Rio Grande Southern from financial disaster. It profitably carried mail, passenger and freight from Telluride to Dolores for 20 years. Eventually there were 7 Geese built. One is still running on the Durango Silverton line
The first Galloping Goose
From Ridgeway there is a network of roads in the high country. Driving these roads you can see the spectacular views of the San Juan Ranges specialy.
To the north just 5 miles is Ridgway State Park. It was voted one of the “100 best family parks in the nation”. The park offers three campgrounds some with yurts you can rent. Nature trails pass through the pinyon/juniper forest to mesa overlooks.
If you want to soak in a unique natural not spring pool, Orvis Hot Springs and Campground is three miles south of town. It is privately run. But I must worn you clothing is optional in one of the pools.
In recent years Ridgeway has many new restaurants. But the old favorite remain The True grit Cafe, and Drakes restaurant, and of the local coffee shop.