Tucked away high in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, Telluride was once a silver mining camp. Today, it’s an adventurer’s playground for almost 2,000 year-round residents and a multitude of visitors. Whether you’re in town for adrenaline-pumping adventure sports, to be surrounded by nature, or to take in a bit of historic charm, you can do it all in Telluride. Here are five activities every visitor to Telluride should make time for.
1. Hit the slopes
If you’re lucky enough to be in Telluride in winter, you’ll find yourself in a powder paradise. The Telluride Ski Resort spans multiple peaks, with 19 lifts serving an incredible 120 runs and over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. While it’s known as a winter wonderland for black diamond-level skiers, 23% of their runs are ranked beginner and 36% are ranked intermediate. And, compared to some of Colorado’s other famous ski resorts, you’re less likely to find long lift lines and crowded amenities in this low-key town. Looking to take a day off your skis but don’t want to miss out on those awesome mountain views? Everything from snowmobile tours to snowshoeing expeditions await.
2. Take a hike
Telluride isn’t just a seasonal destination. In fact, Telluride and its surrounding landscapes are just as impressive in the warm-weather months. Endless hiking options abound, beginning with the must-see Bridal Veil Falls, a 365-foot-high waterfall that’s simply breathtaking to witness. It’s the tallest free-falling cascade in Colorado, surrounded by peaks as high as 14,000 feet. Reach the base of the falls in just 1.8 miles. Or venture to the top in about 3 miles. Other popular hikes include Bear Creek Falls and Jud Wiebe Trail, both of which offer abundant wildflowers if you time it right. Remember to factor in Telluride’s altitude (8,750 feet) when planning your hikes.
3. Explore historic downtown Telluride
With an “Old Western” vibe that feels like something out of a movie, downtown Telluride is nothing if not charmingly historic. It’s just eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long, and the entire downtown seems to be miraculously pinned inside a narrow canyon. An afternoon is well spent wandering the quaint shops and restaurants of downtown Telluride. From boutiques and art galleries to cozy cafes and gourmet restaurants, downtown Telluride won’t disappoint.
4. Ride the gondola
The only free transportation of its kind in the United States, the Telluride and Mountain Village Gondola has shuttled an incredible 2.8 million skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers and sightseers since it opened in 1996. This 13-minute route connects historic Telluride with the resort hub of Mountain Village, letting you avoid the 20-minute drive to the ski resort. But most riders aren’t there to avoid the commute — they’re riding to take in the incredible views of the 10,500-foot Coonskin Ridge. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the La Sal range in Utah.
5. Sample great food and drink
Telluride is also a destination for great food and drink. Perhaps the best known restaurant is 221 South Oak, an intimate fine dining restaurant with owner/chef Eliza Gavin at the helm — you might recognize her from “Top Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” Al fresco cocktails are all the rage in Telluride, no matter the time of year (thank goodness for outdoor heaters!). One popular must-see spot is the rooftop bar at the New Sheridan Hotel. It owns the distinction of being the only rooftop bar in Telluride, and visitors are rewarded with not only custom cocktails, but also 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.
Not ready to leave after a weekend?
Telluride just might be the perfect location for your second home. Browse Pacaso listings in Telluride and discover your ideal vacation home in Colorado. Best of all, Pacaso will manage all the details. You just arrive, relax and enjoy everything your second home and this charming mountain town have to offer.