Ice Climbing Colorado

Adventure Travel Blog

Ice Climbing in Colorado: Best Places to Stay and Eat

Image: Lvaughn7, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re planning an ice climbing adventure in Colorado, there is certainly plenty to choose from. There’s everything from the 150 or more different climbs available at Ouray Ice Park to the amazing challenges of Loch Vale in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Finding the right accommodation close to where you are going to be climbing is important, whether you want to sit in the lap of luxury or need something a little more low-budget. Here we look at places to stay for ice climbers and where to find something to eat in the most popular locations.

Ouray Ice Park

If you’re looking for your ice climbing all in one place, one of the leading places in Colorado is the Ouray Ice Park. With hundreds of different climbs of varying difficulty, it’s no surprise the surrounding town has been developed to cater to the needs of adventurers from all around the world.

Where to Stay

Ouray itself only has a population of around 1,000 but the place is geared up to serve the needs of climbers. You’ll find plenty of hotels and other accommodation such as cabins, houses and flats that are rented out during the high season.

There is a lot of hotel-style accommodation for a small town, most of which is suitable for short stays. This includes the Twin Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs which has its own restaurant and pizzeria on-site as well as a spa. The downside is you can expect to pay upwards of $250 a night for many hotels during the peak period.  

You can hire a log cabin just 3 miles away from the ice park for around $160 a day which caters for 4 people. Spreading the cost can mean that you pay as little as $40 a day. Several homes and flats are available for rent on sites like vrbo.com which can be much less costly than a hotel.

Where to Eat

There are a surprising number of restaurants and bars in Ouray despite its small size. Some of the highlights include the Ouray Café and Steakhouse on North Main Street and the Outlaw Restaurant which attracts a healthy ice climbing crowd.

Durango

Durango is another great hot spot for ice climbers during the winter months and it’s a bigger city to boot with a population of nearly 20,000. There are accommodation options to suit almost any pocket here but it’s always important to book early.

Where to Stay

The Strater Hotel is probably the most luxurious spot in Durango and prices are upwards of £150 a night per person. If you are searching for a budget option then places like the Caboose Motel start at just over $100 per person per night.   

Where to Eat

There is a wide variety of eating establishments in Durango as you might expect from a fairly large city. Highlights that are popular with ice climbers include the Derailed Pour House and, if you fancy something more upmarket, there’s the Office Spiritorium which is linked to the Strater Hotel. The best single location to go for food and entertainment is Main Street.

Estes Park

Like Ouray Ice Park, Estes Park on the edge of the Rockies was designed to cater for the hiking and climbing crowd. There’s a lot packed into this area including hotels and bars and restaurants.

Where to Stay

The Estes Park Resort is one of the more luxurious places to stay and has some amazing views of the surrounding countryside. At prices heading towards £300 a night during peak times, however, it may be too much for some ice climbers.

Smaller establishments like the Blue Door Inn offer better value with rooms starting at around $150 a night. If you want to move outside the park, you can often find budget accommodation with a cabin and flat share.

Where to Eat

Most hotel chains have their own restaurants and bars which you can book even if you are not a resident. Favourites with climbers include Bird & Jim on Moraine Avenue which has a varied fayre and Seasoned, a bistro-style restaurant, on Park Lane.

Boulder

If you’re looking to base yourself in a more populous area like Boulder then you have a lot in the way of options when it comes to accommodation and eating and drinking the night away.

Where to Stay

Again, if you’re looking for budget options and have a group staying in Boulder there are plenty of vrbo and Airbnb places that can be rented for as little as $100 a day. If you’re looking for hotels there are also plenty of low-cost options upwards from around $100 a night.

If you want to spoil yourself, however, lodges like Mr & Mrs Smith offer boutique luxury stays for $2,500 a night.

Where to Eat

There are hundreds of bars and restaurants in the city including the Moutain Sun Bar and Brewery which also makes craft beers onsite and sometimes plays live acoustic and bluegrass music in the evenings.  

Telluride

Set in a stunning box canyon, Telluride is another place where ice climbers often congregate because it has some of the best sites including the Bridal Veil and Ice Hose. It is, however, a little more exclusive.

Where to Stay

Some of the lodges and hotels can be very expensive in this area and you can expect to pay anything above $500 a night. The Mountain Lodge is one of the more exclusive choices with prices starting at around $750 a night. Cheaper options are holiday home rentals especially if you are sharing between several individuals.

Where to Eat

Several restaurants and bars are popular with the ice climbing and skiing crowd in Telluride including the Smuggler-Union Brewery and Restaurant on South Pine Street and Obannon’s Irish Pub on East Colorado Avenue.

Silverton

Silverton is another focal point for ice climbers during the winter months with access to around 35 different routes.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of hotels that are reasonably priced even during the peak season for ice climbing. The Grand Imperial Hotel offers rooms for around $150 a night per person but there are budget options that have them for around $100 including the Inn of the Rockies.

Again, if you are sharing with a group, the best low-budget choice is going to be renting a cabin, flat or even house for your stay through vrbo and Airbnb.

Where to Eat

The Pickle Barrel Restaurant on Greene Street is a popular choice with ice climbers passing through Silverton and serves good food at excellent prices. If you’re looking for music and a slice of the Old West, then Handlebars Food & Saloon may be just up your street.

Summary

Most ice climbing venues will have either a town or small city nearby that is geared up to cater for the community, whether that’s providing accommodation or a good place to relax, eat and sink a few beers. Booking your lodgings well in advance is always a good idea as these areas can get very busy during the high season.

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