On September 15-17, 2011, Jeep® Jamboree USA will be in Colorado for the 24th Annual Ouray Jamboree. We’re very excited because this is one of our favorite Jamborees. Located in the center of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Ouray has been called the “Switzerland of America,” and for good reason. The mountains surrounding Ouray are absolutely spectacular and there’s no better way to view them than from your Jeep 4×4.
The Jamboree starts with a Thursday evening meet and greet, which is a great way to get to know your fellow Jamboree participants. You can also talk to your guides, many of whom have been involved in the Ouray Jamboree since its inception, and they can help you decide which trail will be right for you and your Jeep 4×4. You’ll hit the trails early on both Friday and Saturday, fueled up with a hearty breakfast. Ouray is surrounded by hundreds of old mining roads, which date back to the 1800’s. These roads crisscross the entire San Juan Mountain Range. Luckily for you, the old roads and trails are now perfect recreational opportunities for your Jeep brand vehicle, and most can be easily driven with a stock Jeep 4×4. No matter the trail, you will be rewarded with stunning scenery and breathtaking views at every turn.
One of the best trails on the itinerary takes you across Imogene Pass. The run begins in Ouray and ends in the historic mountain town of Telluride. The top of the pass is 13,144 feet high and is not for the faint of heart. The road is narrow and steep – but lots of fun! After arriving in Telluride, hop over to the sleepy mining town of Ophir and drive the Ophir Pass road. It’s not as difficult as the Imogene, but the views are well worth the long day. Other scenic 4×4 roads on this Jamboree are Poughkeepsie Gulch, California Pass, and Yankee Boy Basin. The Jamboree organizers specifically schedule the Ouray Jamboree to take advantage of the eye-catching vistas of the mountain aspens dressed in their full autumn finery. After your day of high-altitude adventure, you’ll be treated to a fantastic meal catered by the Lamplight Restaurant, whose gourmet fare is one of the best offered on the Jamboree schedule.
High altitudes are the norm for this Jamboree, so proper hydration and sunscreen are a good idea. Take a day or two to get used to the altitude and take extra supplies and a sturdy spare tire in case of emergency. Rain and thunderstorms are a daily occurrence in the afternoons. Since temperatures commonly drop into the 40’s in the high country, it is not unusual for this Jamboree to see snow at the higher elevations, so warm, waterproof outerwear is a must.
There is still time to register for this awesome Jamboree, but don’t take too long, as there are only a few slots left. Don’t worry if you live too far away to drive – you can fly into nearby Durango and rent a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for the weekend. Rentals are available in either Durango or Ouray. But regardless of how you get there, head out to Ouray and enjoy the magnificent scenery of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains while enjoying one of our favorite Jamborees. Once you attend, it will be one of your favorites too!
Have you been to the Ouray Jamboree? Have plans to attend? What is your favorite Jeep 4×4 road near Ouray?