About Telluride PDF Print E-mail

Although Telluride is well-known as a world class winter and summer resort, it retains its small town charm and historic identity. It is located in southwestern Colorado amid one of the highest concentration of 14,000 ft mountains in the United States. Because of the spectacular scenery, vistas of the Telluride area are commonly used to promote every thing from beer ads to wilderness preservation.


Because of its latitude (about the same as southern Virginia) and altitude, one can enjoy deep powder snow and warm sunny days at the same time. Telluride boasts the highest airport in North America, the highest military fort in the United States, the highest waterfall in Colorado, and some of the best skiing and hiking in the world. At one time the area was slated to become a huge national park similar to Yosemite (the huge reservoirs of gold and silver deposits made this impossible). Two national parks are quite close (Mesa Verde and Black Canyon of the Gunnison), and within a one day drive there are a total of 16 national parks and 46 national monuments. Also within a one day drive are the cities of Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Phoenix.

Unlike many crowded resorts, Telluride remains unspoiled partly by its remote location in a dead end box canyon. There are few RVs or campers clogging the roads, few day trippers, and few parking problems. There are no interstate highways, no fast food joints, and no stop lights. At the same time you can enjoy elegant art galleries, shops and restaurants, cozy bookstores and coffee houses, as well as old-fashioned cowboy saloons. If you like summer festivals, there is something for everyone: blue grass, jazz, chamber music, wine, hang-gliding, mushroom, and the world famous film festival.

One of the nice features of Telluride is the high speed gondola which connects the center of town with skiing and hiking trails as well as with Mountain Village a thousand feet above the town. This is free public transportation which means you don’t need a car to get around. Close to town there are parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, camping sites, a hockey rink, and several outdoor concert stages. There is an old 1890s style opera house/movie theater and a modern public library.

If you like serious outdoor adventure, Telluride has it all: mountain climbing, backpacking, camping, hang-gliding, white water rafting, trout fishing, and endless miles of mountain biking and hiking trails for all levels of difficulty. If you don’t have a 4 wheel drive, there are outfitters who will take you over rugged terrain and high mountain passes to visit historic mining villages and ghost towns.

One gets a deep sense of history from the many well-preserved Victorian houses in town. Steeped in history, William Jennings Bryan gave his famous cross of gold speech in front of the Sheridan Hotel (still standing) in 1903. Butch Cassidy carried out his first bank hold-up on main street, and Telluride was the first city in the world (beating Paris, France by 8 hours) to be illuminated by electricity. On the seamy side, Telluride once had 30 operating brothels. Some still remain but they are now private homes.

How to get to Telluride? Other than the local airport (TEX), there are numerous daily shuttles to the Montrose (MTJ) airport which has non-stop flights to both coasts. After that, one can choose from Cortez, Durango, Gunnison, Grand Junction, Aspen, and Vail. But why not fly to Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque and enjoy a beautiful drive? And if you are already in Telluride, it is an excellent base for exploring one of the most beautiful parts of the United States. But if you don’t go anywhere else, you could easily enjoy weeks here without doing the same thing twice. While some resort areas can be little more than tourist traps, Telluride is a unique and historic area which is a perfect setting for a home away from home.