A former mining town turned modern ski town, Telluride sits at the end of a box canyon deep in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains — and yet the town rarely sits still, especially in warmer weather. Beyond charming old-timey blocks (and zero traffic lights) lie outdoorsy adventures, both high and low.
Around eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long, Telluride makes the most out of its historic storefronts. A surprising number of galleries comprise the Telluride Arts District (telluridearts.org), and boutiques stock plenty of crafts; for starters, Over the Moon (200 W. Colorado Ave, 970-728-2079, overthemoontelluride.com) deals in small-batch pantry items, hand-woven rugs, bags and more.
Flowing right through town, the San Miguel River teems with sport. Telluride Outside (800-831-6230, tellurideoutside.com) leads spring fly-fishing trips just in time for the region’s trout streams, along with river rafting and stand-up paddle boarding).
Trails and hikes abound, too, the best of which offer views of Telluride’s iconic Bridal Veil Falls — which, at 365 feet, are Colorado’s tallest free falling falls. For the bucket list, local outfitters like Mountain Trip (mountaintrip.com) offer guided hikes along Via Ferrata, a two-mile mountain traverse with an adrenaline rush: a series of iron rungs, installed by a local ironworker, are bolted 500 feet high along sheer cliff face.
Eat and drink
Ghost Town (210 W. Colorado Ave., 970-300-4334, ghosttowntelluride.com) brews anything from drip to nitro coffee and serves crunchy toasts topped with housemade jams and almond butter.
The town’s closest version of street food, Taco del Gnar (closed Sunday-Monday; 123 S. Oak St., 970-728-7938, gnarlytacos.com), often has a line out to the road — tacos are souped up with surprising flavors (think kimchi and coconut curry aioli).
Over in Mountain Village, a development just a 13-minute gondola ride away, Telluride Distilling Company (567 Mountain Village Blvd., 970-728-2910, telluridedistilling.com) has opened a new tasting room where you can sip on its popular Peppermint Schnapps or try a Telluride Mule.
One of the latest openings is The National (100 E. Colorado Ave., 970-728-1063, thenationaltelluride.com), an upscale venture by two local chefs highlighting Colorado-sourced flavor (count on golden trout and beef tenderloin carpaccio on the dinner menu). Cap off any evening with a jam jar cocktail (like tequila and red pepper jelly) and bao buns at There (627 W. Pacific Ave., 970-728-1213, therebars.com).
GOOD TO KNOW
Getting there: Telluride Regional Airport, chiefly serviced by private charters in the past, launched its first-ever commercial jet service this week from Denver. The tried-and-true option is to fly into Montrose Regional Airport (United and American Airlines offer connecting routes), a 90-minute drive to Telluride; several transportation services are available for transfers into town.
Getting around: Given its petite size, Telluride’s historic town is entirely walkable. A free public gondola, the first of its kind, also transports travelers to the nearby Mountain Village with panoramic views along the way.
Where to stay: The B&B Dunton Town House (210 S. Oak St., 970-676-1323, duntontownhouse.com) has five guest rooms inside a stylishly renovated Victorian home that offers more than just breakfast: alcohol and snacks are aplenty (and all complimentary). Also right in town, the Hotel Telluride (199 Cornet Ln., 970-369-1188, thehoteltelluride.com) is a cozy classic replete with Western décor (think antler light fixtures) and outdoor hot tubs.