Sunday, June 11, 2017

The True Grit of Ridgway

San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Cimarron Range of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Ridgway Colorado is nestled along these mountains…the San Juan Mountain Range has 14 of Colorado's 53 peaks which are over 14,000 feet in height, and Mt. Ridgway is at 13,468 feet.  The top picture is of the San Juan Mountains up by Ouray, perhaps the peak is Mt. Sneffels which is the highest point at 14,150 in the county of Ouray.  The river is the Uncompahgre River, which passes right through the town.  In the picture below is the Cimarron Range of the San Juan Mountains, with Uncompahgre Peak at 14,309 feet, which is the highest summit of the San Juan Mountains, the sixth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and of Colorado. and is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness of Hinsdale County to the east of Ridgway.

Old Bank Building, Ridgway Colorado
The town has many older buildings, like this bank building to the left which is not shops…older because the the town was founded in 1890, and was the northern terminus of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad where it meets with Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad running between Montrose and Ouray.  With the mining towns ofRidgway Community Church, Ridgway Colorado Telluride and Ouray nearby, and now with the ski resorts of Telluride, Silverton and Durango nearby, Ridgway has been uniquely placed where folks either drive to and stay, or drive through headed for these other nearby location.  There are the typical buildings one would find in a old town like this.  The “little white church” to the right sits right along its main thoroughfare.  This is the Fire House, Ridgway ColoradoRidgway Community Church now, I am fairly certain it had other names in the past.  And, of course, every good town needs to have a fire station (left) and a host of restaurants, liquor stores, gas stations, tourist shops featuring lots of items to buy, businesses which will taking you hiking, rafting, fishing, and wintertime activities of skiing and jet skis.  The town has a population of around 1,000 people, and it is not an inexpensive place to live…not with these views.

Buildings in True Grit, version 1969, Ridgway Colorado

And this corner…this one-way street, is the heart of the city for tourists.  Can you read the name of this store here on the left?  It may look a bit out of place…below it is enlarged so you can read it.

Fort Smith Saloon from True Gritt Movie 1969 version, Ridgway Colorado

Yes, that is right…the FORT SMITH SALOON!  Now WHY would the Fort Smith Saloon be located in Ridgway Colorado???  Because, when you look at the picture which features the saloon and adjoining buildings, it is where this happened…..

Just before Chaney Shoot Frank Ross, True Grit Scene, 1969 Version

Chaney Shoot Frank Ross, True Grit Scene, 1969 Version

This is where Tom Chaney shot poor Kim Darby’s father in the first release of the movie “True Grit”, 1969.

True Grit Restaurant, Ridgway Colorado

True Grit Restaurant, Ridgway Colorado   True Grit Restaurant, Ridgway Colorado

And one of those buildings along the street has been turned into the True Grit Cafe…and the food was pretty good.  It is two stories, but I did not climb the stairs, and other pictures I took did not turn out so well (should have handed the camera over to Marcia).  But it is full of True Grit and John Wayne memorabilia, and is the most popular restaurant in town.

Park of Hanging Scene, True Grit 1969 version shot in Ridgway Colorado

Across the street is a very large city park…this is where the….

Hanging Scene, True Grit 1969 version shot in Ridgway Colorado

…hanging of the four criminals took place.  Places in Ridgway, in Ouray, and in the surrounding area is full of shots from the movie.  If you want to see a good YouTube about the movie and various places, I suggest this one here. 

Dennis Weaver Park, Ridgway Colorado    Dennis Weaver Park, Ridgway Colorado

Saw a sign to Dennis Weaver Park, and pulled off the highway and drove a mile down to a nice 60 acre park built to honor Dennis Weaver.  Weaver, who was a star in the long running Gunsmoke and then his own show McCloud, along with numerous other roles, moved to Ridgway with his wife and was very active as a Environmentalist. The park runs along the Uncompahgre River and is a pride and joy to the people who live here, and who visit.

Deer, Ridgway State Park, Colorado

Pulling back into the park from our dinner we are greeted by four deer.  The weekend was a loud one with the park filling up, many young families, and today we saw the park loose 2/3rds or more of its population.  Not sure where the deer were over the weekend, but they came back Sunday as people left.  Tomorrow we too are hitting the road.  A quick stop in Montrose for our medicine from Walgreens, an oil change at Valvoline, and nails cut at PetCo, and off we go.  I “HOPE” we have Internet tomorrow…if not, you will need to wait a day. 


  1. Only been to Ouray once .... loved it!!

    1. We visited Ouray a few years ago on a day is wonderful, so is that drive from Durango to Ouray...would love to take the train one of these days that runs between the two.

  2. Western Colorado is one of my favorite places to visit. Not nearly as touristy as the other side of the mountains. Looks like you're having great weather!

    1. Yes, the weather has been very nice. Due to our newly changed plans, we will be back in Utah tomorrow....


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