Cool Day Trips

Dennis Weaver Memorial Park

Dennis Weaver Sign


While driving around Ridgway, CO one day we stumbled upon small signs for this park. It turns out this is a 60-acre park that sits alongside the Uncompahgre River. It is dedicated to the memory and vision of actor Dennis Weaver.

Permanent Wildlife Preserve

This park is a permanent wildlife preserve. The park entrance is located off US-550 but can also be accessed from a series of trails from the town of Ridgway. This includes a nice bicycle trail along the river. This part of the park is called the Uncompahgre River Way.

If you enter the park from US-550 you will head down a road that leads you to a dirt parking lot. The parking lot has two porta-potties on one side. Before you get to the parking lot you will pass a small garden with a circular path through it on the right side.

Crossing The River

You will also cross a portion of the river before you get to the parking lot. Before you cross the bridge on your left side you will notice the trail that takes you to the riverway section of the park. You can walk back to that from the parking lot. More on that later.

Once in the parking lot if you look towards the roadway you will see a couple of things. The first thing you will notice is an awesome view of the San Juan mountains in the distance. The second thing you will notice is a bunch of sculptures directly in front of you. The most noticeable one being a huge eagle. As you walk across the small parking lot towards the sculptures you will first pass a small sculpture of an eagle.

The Medicine Wheel

Following the path down a little further, it will dump you into a large circle of stones. This circle is known as a “Medicine Wheel” and at the center of this circular area is where the large eagle is located sitting on a large pile of rocks. The eagle was created by a sculptor named Vic Payne from Wyoming and then donated to the Weaver family by Gerrye and Bill Widger of Ridgway, Colorado. The eagle weighs over 2800 pounds and has a wingspan of over 20 feet.

Sacred Hoops

Just a quick note on medicine wheels. Medicine wheels were introduced in Native American spirituality where they are mostly referred to as “Sacred Hoops”. They are generally constructed of stone. For a complete description and explanation of “Medicine Wheels” check out Wikipedia.

Making the outline of the circle and along the paths leading up to it are Cairns. According to the dictionary, “cairns” are “a heap of stones set up as a landmark, monument, tombstone, etc.” These cairns have been placed by locals, school kids, and visitors from all over the world!!! These cairns contain prayers, tributes to loved ones, and challenges of patience and skills.

The Eaglet

On one side of the circle, there was a musical instrument that looks a bit like a xylophone called “The Eaglet.” There is a sign that encourages you to tap out a little tune so of course, we tried. If anyone has been to this park and knows what its really called, let us know by leaving a comment in the section down below.

Heading back towards the parking lot a little there is a hiking trail that leads you along the river for a bit. It was a short in and out trail. There was also a way to access a grassy area near the river that had a picnic table and plenty of space for you to sit down, relax, and enjoy the river.

More Choices

Back out to the parking lot you now have a couple of more choices. You can either head up some hiking trails that will give you some awesome views of the San Juan Mountains and the town of Ridgway or walk back towards the exit a bit and cross the bridge you drove over to access the bicycle trail.

If you opt for the trails and the views you will not be disappointed. The best piece of advice we can give to you for this option is to bring water and lots of it. There is very little tree cover and it can get quite warm. There is a bench or two along the way but that’s about it. We did not complete all the trail as it was super hot on our visit. We did climb high enough to enjoy the awesome views.

Geocaching

If you opted to walk back over the bridge and hit the bicycle trail, that’s ok too. Again, you will not be disappointed. This area actually has several picnic tables overlooking the river and an actual bathroom as opposed to a porta-potty. If you are a Geocacher you just may happen to find one near the restrooms…just saying.

This side of the park also had benches near the river. It is a great place to have a seat and just relax to the sounds of the river winding through. Since this side is the bicycle path it’s nice and wide. Following this trail, one way drops you right into the center of Ridgway. Following the bike path, the other way will take you toward the state park. Since we don’t have bicycles and it was so hot, we decided not to walk it and just enjoyed the river.

Final Thoughts

This is a free park. It has some very cool things to see and is a very relaxing place to visit. If you are an artist, writer, or can work remotely, this would be a great place to pull up a piece of the river and have at it. We had intended to do just that. We wanted to return and write some of our articles for the website there. Unfortunately, there was so much else to see for the short time we were in the area (don’t forget we were workamping 5 days a week) that we never did get back there.

If you are in the area and want to spend some quality time to relax either by yourself or with family, we highly recommend this park. You can’t beat the price!!!


Date Of Visit: July 2019
Entry Fee: $0
Pet Friendly: Yes/ Must Be On A Leash





16 thoughts on “Dennis Weaver Memorial Park

  1. Parks are really nice places to visit for fun and also for relaxation when you seem worried and you need a relief one could also visit park to catch fun with family and loved ones to keep a good memory.

    parks differ in types and it’s amazement depends solemnly on how God it’s built for comfort and relaxation, Denis weaver memorial park is one that is built to give you maximum comfort.

    1. evans- Dennis Weaver is certainly a place where you can get away and unwind from the daily stresses of life… Dennis

  2. Hello Dennis,
    Thank you for taking us to Dennis Weaver Memorial Park. Thank you for the 4 minutes of video of the park’s presentation. For me, it is very short but it is enough to get people out of their frame especially in this lockdown period.

    I really liked the presentations made for the main parts of the park and the multiple choices offered.

    They are happy those who can visit your park, because they can relax alone or with family for a not exorbitant price
    I really liked your article!

    1. Bathwag- We put together the short video with the hopes it makes you feel like you were there. We hope we accomplished that. In these challenging times, it would be a great place to kind of just go to and clear your head, keeping your distance of course…lol… Dennis

  3. Dennis Weaver Park sounds like a beautiful place to hike or go for a bike ride, The detailed description had me imagining myself there! 

    The Sculpture of the Eagle which I believe is a Bald Eagle? This Sculpture is truly remarkable and I would love to see it for myself one day. I love how people have made their own stone balancing statues! 

    I can really relate to Dennis Weaver Park being a good place to do some work or paint a picture, I am not from America and I was wondering what state the park was in?

    1. Darren- The eagle was a Bald Eagle. It is even more spectacular in person than a picture could ever capture. If you ever visit America and find yourself in Ridgway Colorado you will have to make this a stop. It is a local, not state park and you can’t beat the admission fee…free!!!… Dennis

  4. Hello Dennis.Thank you for sharing this information about this place,i find being beautiful, serene and breath taking.It;s also affordable considering that it’s free. Personally i like to work on a quite environment where i can meditate and relax, therefore i find place conducive for me More so it offers a great photo shoot scenery for it’s wonderful geographic features.Best wishes continue with the good work.

  5. There is so much about this park that defies the fact that it is actually free. nature is really beautiful and places like this brings you closer and makes you realize this.

    sadly i have not visited this park and i am going to make sure that i do immediately after this pandemic is over, thank you very much

    1. Kirkman- The fact this park was free made it even better. If you make it there, pack a lunch and just sit by the river. The sound, smell, and fresh air will wash away all the stress from this ongoing pandemic… Dennis

  6. I really not a big fan of birds but i do have a good knowledge of this one,i have been to a lot of wildlife reserves but i must say the truth this one is of my charts…After reading i think i would like to go on a vacation to this place as i would like to see all the stuff with my real eyes.

  7. Wow, never knew a place like this one ever existed, although it’s like it is on the other side of the world. I think it may be worth traveling to as I have been on many vacations and love to visit preserves. I have always had very good experiences visiting different types of preserves and I look forward to visiting this one some day.

    1. PrettySophia- Colorado, in general, is a great state to visit the next time you come to the “other side of the world”….lol. If you do find yourself in Colorado be sure to not only stop here but also check out some of the other destinations that we have written about in the area… Dennis

  8. I have heard a lot about this place and I have always wanted to go there. I love eagles they are one of my favorite bird species. I would love to visit this park and see the eagle in person. The park setting near the river looks extremely peaceful. It looks like a great way to spend an afternoon. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Feji ben- We would highly recommend if you are in Ridgway Colorado to stop at this park and at least spend the day. Who knows, you may even want to return another day!!!… Dennis

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