Telluride Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Small Towns to Visit in the USA
Credit

Courtesy of Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Telluride

If you have extra time, Telluride Hiking is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Telluride
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    #1 in Telluride
    Golf, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Skiing, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Golf, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Skiing, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When most people talk about Telluride, they're typically referring to this ski resort rather than the town. This massive complex boasts more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain in the San Juan Mountains. The resort's 148 trails cater to skiers of all levels, although most slopes are best suited for experienced skiers. And during the warmer months, travelers can go mountain biking, golfing, whitewater rafting and more.

    Recent visitors said that this is one of the best skiing areas in the country, citing its ample powder (more than 300 inches accummulate here annually) and less crowded atmopshere (in spring) as highlights. A few reviewers also raved about the resort's restaurants, especially Altezza At The Peaks, Alpino Vino, Allred's Restaurant and Bon Vivant.

  • #2
    Mountain Village
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    #2 in Telluride
    Cafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Even if you aren't a skier, a visit to Telluride Ski Resort should be a priority. The resort encompasses Mountain Village, a bustling town originally developed as a cozy retreat from the slopes. Nestled high in the San Juan Mountains – roughly 9,500 feet above sea level – Mountain Village has a quaint yet vibrant atmosphere with shops and restaurants lining cobblestone streets.

    Another highlight of a Mountain Village trip (aside from the nearby slopes, of course) is a ride on the scenic gondola. The gondola shuttles visitors between Telluride and Mountain Village, allowing for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains from an altitude of 10,500 feet. Plus, riders say that the gondola is clean and well-maintained, making it a reliable way to get around. And here's the best part: It's completely free.

  • #3
    Telluride Hiking
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    #3 in Telluride
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Although Telluride's biggest draw is its top-notch ski slopes, come summertime, locals and tourists alike flock to the town to explore its ample hiking trails. Dozens of paths are available in the immediate area, including ones that overlook natural wonders like Bear Creek, the Alta Lakes and Bridal Veil Falls. Some trails also pass historic landmarks like the Lewis Mine (a former mining structure built in 1910) and Tomboy (an abandoned mining town that once housed 1,000 residents).

    Travelers love trekking Telluride's trails, but three are especially popular – Bridal Veil Falls, Jud Wiebe Trail and Bear Creek Trail. However, Bridal Veil Falls and Jud Wiebe Trail require some experience to traverse (visitors say that both are steep), so novice hikers may want to stick to Bear Creek Trail or other easy paths like Keystone Gorge and the Telluride Trail. When hiking any of Telluride's trails, always remember to bring water, sunscreen, a first aid kit and bug spray. Also, consult Visit Telluride's Trails page for trail maps.

  • #4
    Town Park
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    #4 in Telluride
    Festivals, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Festivals, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Telluride's fresh air opportunities aren't limited to Telluride Ski Resort's slopes. During the warmer months, visitors and residents head to Town Park on the southeast edge of town to enjoy scenic walking paths and picturesque picnic spots.

    Its 36 acres are also home to an outdoor swimming pool, a kids fishing pond, two playgrounds, multiple sports courts and even a Frisbee golf course. Plus, the park offers a campground and hosts many of Telluride's festivals and events, including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Telluride Blues & Brews FestivalTown Park also offers wintertime activities like sledding, ice skating and cross-country skiing.

  • #5
    San Juan Skyway
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    #5 in Telluride
    Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking to get off the slopes and out of the town for a day, hit the road on the San Juan Skyway. This free historic byway, which is affectionately called the "road to the sky," loops through 11 towns and two national forests in southwestern Colorado. It measures 233 miles long and includes Colorado State Highway 145, U.S. Route 550, Colorado State Highway 62 and U.S. Route 160.

    The route is designated as an "All-American Road," what the U.S. Secretary of Transportation deems notable based on its "archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities," and meets Telluride on Highway 145, less than 4 miles outside of town. While on the road, drivers and passengers will encounter breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. Other sights accessible via the 24-hour byway include Mesa Verde National Park's prehistoric ruins, the Anasazi Heritage Center and the Ridgway Railroad Museum.

  • #7
    Ophir Pass
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    #7 in Telluride
    Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located just east of the adjacent town of Ophir (about 15 miles southeast of Telluride), this dirt road is a prime spot for off-roading. The path stretches nearly 10 miles and climbs as high as 12,789 feet. To get back to Ophir after reaching the summit, you can travel back the way you came or continue on down Red Mountain Pass.

    Recent visitors described this off-roading experience as "fabulous," "exciting" and "awesome." Many were especially impressed with the path's breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains, although some cautioned that parts of the pass are difficult to drive. A few reviewers also noted that this two-way thoroughfare is quite narrow, so keep your eyes on the road at all times. Vehicles that are traveling up the pass have the right of way.

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