Ouray County is one of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado in the United States. The county population was 3,742 at U.S. Census 2000. As of 2010, U.S. Census data place the population at 4,436. The county seat is the City of Ouray. Because of its rugged mountain topography, Ouray County is also known as the Switzerland of America.
Ouray County was formed out of San Juan County on 18 January 1877, the first county designated by the newly formed Colorado State Legislature. It was named for Chief Ouray, a distinguished Ute Indian chief. Ouray was designanted county seat on 8 March 1877. On 19 February 1881, Dolores County was formed out of Ouray County.
On 27 February 1883, Ouray County was split into San Miguel County and what is currently Ouray County. The portion that became San Miguel County almost retained the name Ouray County when the Colorado General Assembly initially renamed Ouray County as Uncompaghre County. Four days later on 2 March 1883, the General Assembly changed its mind and changed the name of Uncompaghre County back to Ouray County.
Mining operators in the San Juan mountain area of Colorado formed the San Juan District Mining Association (SJDMA) in 1903, as a direct result of a Western Federation of Miners proposal to the Telluride Mining Association for the eight hour day, which had been approved in a referendum by 72 percent of Colorado voters. The new association consolidated the power of thirty-six mining properties in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan counties. The SJDMA refused to consider any reduction in hours or increase in wages, helping to provoke a bitter strike.