Telluride is a former mining town turned ski village isolated deep in the San Juan Mountains. There is both a historic downtown and a modern ski village located at the base of the slopes. Both are full of wonderful shops, delicious restaurants, and affordable lodging.
The town is filled to the brim with events for almost every season. During the winter, snow-related festivals are almost always available for visitors. Summer and spring are filled with arts and music festivals.
Miners began coming to the area in the mid-nineteenth century looking for gold, silver, and other valuables. The town is named after the chemical element Tellurium, which resembles gold but was never actually discovered around town.
The town quickly gained the reputation and catch-phrase, “To Hell You Ride”, in reference to the explosive mining days of Telluride’s past. In June 1889, the infamous Butch Cassidy robbed his first recorded bank, the San Miguel Valley Bank, making off with over $24,000.
Telluride Ski Resort – This resort is always improving and there are ski thrills to discover around every bend in these mountains. It’s one of the best mountains in the state for skiing and snowboarding, with one of the longest verticals too.
Festivals – Telluride is host to some of the biggest festivals in Colorado, most notably its film festivals: Telluride Film Festival and Mountain Film Festival.
Town Park – This is a year-round attraction of town offering everything winter ice skating and cross country skiing, to summer swimming pool, camping, and basketball courts. It’s free to use many of the park’s facilities, aside from activities like the Town Park Campground, Telluride Nordic Center, or Hanley Ice Rink.
Read about the top things to do in Telluride.
- Sunshine is seven miles southwest of town; take CO 145 west for 3 miles out of town, then south on CO 145 for five miles.
- Alta Lakes is situated at 11,000 feet, with great views, good fishing, and access to a ghost town, Alta. From Telluride, follow directions to Sunshine, then turn left (southeast) onto Forest Rd 632. Go 4.5 miles up a 4×4 road.
- Matterhorn is a paved campground in Uncompahgre National Forest; follow directions to Sunshine, but go four miles further on CO 145.
- Woods Lake is twenty-two miles southwest of town; from town go 13 miles west on CO 145, then turn left (south) on County Rd 57.
- Town Park is located at the east end of town; about 40 sites, open to RVs under thirty feet, no reservations accepted, can get crowded during holidays & festivals.
- Read about the camping near Telluride, Ophir, and Rico.
- San Miguel River originates high in the mountains above Telluride, and flows west toward Placerville, running parallel with CO 145.
- Read about the lakes and rivers to fish near Telluride.
- Bridal Veil Falls is a four-mile, one-way, hike to the top. But the 365-foot free-falling, waterfall is worth a visit just to the bottom.
- Read about the hiking trails near Telluride.
Hotels and lodging:
- Lumière Hotel – luxury 4 star
- New Sheridan Hotel – historic 3 star
- Read about the best hotels in Telluride.
- Read about the luxury hotels in Telluride.
- Read about the top bed and breakfasts in Telluride.
Telluride’s a foodie town with a focus on fresh. Locals have a strong passion for eating healthy, and this is reflected at restaurants all over town. Despite its slim year-round population, Telluride knows how to cater to its tourists with a myriad of fine dining and faster on-the-go options. The nightlife in Telluride is crazy fun too, with bar after bar to choose from.
Bars and restaurants:
- Chop House Restaurant – Iconic steakhouse located within the city’s most prominent historic hotel.
- Read about the best bars in Telluride.
May – Mountain Film In Telluride – Film festival held annually since 1979, over Memorial Day Weekend in late May.
Jun – Telluride Balloon Festival – Three early June mornings of hot air balloons launching from Telluride Town Park.
Jun – Telluride Bluegrass Festival – Late June music festival celebrating Bluegrass.
Jun-Jul – Telluride Wine Festival – Four days in late July of wine-related events in downtown Telluride.
Jun-Jul – Telluride Plein Air Festival – Weekday festival celebrating “en plein air” art held in late June to early July. It’s a French phrase for painting in the open air, so a lot of nature scenes.
Jul – Nothing Day Festival – Accidentally created by a local fed up with all the festivals in Telluride. Includes movies and a naked bicycle ride through town.
Jul – The RIDE Festival – Two days of rock ‘n roll concerts in Telluride Town Park in mid-July.
Jul – Telluride Americana Music Festival – Americana music celebration hosted by Texas artist, Jack Ingram and his partners, Jennifer Stevens and Kevin Howard.
Jul – Telluride Chamber Music Festival – Since 1973 Telluride locals have brought the joys of chamber music to Telluride in July.
Aug – Telluride Jazz Festival – Three-day jazz fest honoring the tradition of American Jazz, held in early August.
Aug – Mushroom Festival (Shroomfest) – Celebrate mushrooms, with various lectures, forays, culinary delights, and of course, the Mushroom Parade.
Sep – Telluride Film Festival – One of the top film fests in the U.S held in early September.
Sep – Telluride Blues & Brews Festival – Music festival celebrating blues, rock, funk, gospel, and soul by world-renowned musicians. On top of that, enjoy a selection of over 50 micro-breweries, held in mid-September.
Sep – Telluride Autumn Classic – Four days of restored vehicles and high-end vintage cars. Plus the amazing autumn colors of San Miguel County, held in late Sept.
Oct – Telluride Horror Show – Three days of horror films in downtown Telluride, sounds pretty cool. It’s held at a few venues in mid-October: Nugget Theatre, Palm Theatre, and Sheridan Opera House.
Dec – Holiday Arts Bazaar – Three-day holiday market where an array of handcrafted and locally made products are on sale.
Dec – Christmas at Schmid Ranch – Get in the holiday spirit in early December, hosted with the Telluride Historical Museum. Make wreaths, ornaments, and other Christmas crafts.
Dec – Telluride Fire Festival – Celebrating community, fire, and art in the mountains, the Telluride Fire Festival supports artists and creatives as they perform their visual fire magic.
Dec – Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade – Watch from downtown Telluride on December 24th as a hundred or so Telluride resort employees make their way down the trails carrying torches.
Activities near Telluride
Cross Country Skiing:
- Alta Lakes (13mi)
- Lizard Head Wilderness
- Mount Sneffels Wilderness
- Priest Lake (13mi)
- San Juan National Forest
- San Miguel River
- Trout Lake (14mi)
- Uncompahgre National Forest
- Tomboy (5mi)
- Imogene Pass (10mi)
- Last Dollar Road (13mi)
- Lizard Head Pass (15mi)
- Ophir Pass 4×4 (16mi)
- San Juan Skyway (<1mi)
- Ames (11mi)
- Cortez (76mi)
- Dolores (64mi)
- Montrose (65mi)
- Mountain Village (7mi)
- Norwood (33mi)
- Ophir (12mi)
- Ouray (49mi)
- Placerville (15mi)
- Rico (27mi)
- Ridgway (39mi)
- Sawpit (12mi)
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Transforming from a mining town to a world-renowned skiing destination, Telluride, Colorado has slowly developed into…