Surrounded by absolutely beautiful 13,000 – 14,000 foot mountain peaks, the quaint town of Telluride, Colorado is an outdoor-activity mecca that is a must-see for any nature enthusiast. Originally a mining town that was founded in the early years of the Colorado Gold Rush, Telluride is just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long, meaning its fabulous history and adventures are well within reach.
Whether you plan on visiting for the scenery or a specific event, there is no denying Telluride’s authentic mountain-town charm. This Telluride travel guide covers the best time to visit, where to stay, things to do, what to pack and more!
Telluride, Colorado Travel Guide + Packing Tips
The Best Time to Visit Telluride
While the tourist high seasons and most expensive times of year to visit are through the summer and winter, these are also the best times to visit Telluride, Colorado. Visiting in the summer will have you experiencing lush nature and renowned festivals, while visiting in the winter is awesome for skiing and snowboarding. However, if you’re looking for off-season rates and less crowds, I highly recommend visiting in the fall.
How to Get to Telluride
If you plan to fly into the area, the primary airport servicing Telluride is Montrose Airport (MTJ) and is a direct stop from roughly 12 airports around the country, give or take a few depending on the time of year. That said, Telluride does have its own airport — Telluride Regional Airport — that is serviced by a few charter airlines.
To get from Montrose to Telluride, there are a few transport services, including shuttle buses and Lyft.
Getting Around Telluride
While renting a car at the airport will allow you to see more of the surrounding area, because of the transportation services, a car in Telluride is not necessary. For the most part, exploring the town can be done on foot or, if you feel like speeding things up a bit, I recommend renting a bike.
The Climate in Telluride
While getting an average amount of precipitation in the summer, the temperature remains tepid and rarely goes over 80°F. However, in the wintertime Telluride is frozen and gets a ton of snow, which is what makes it such a popular skiing destination.
Top Things to Do in Telluride
During my time in Telluride I wanted to experience the scenery from the trails, so I took advantage of the spectacular hikes in the region. Some great day hikes include Bear Creek Falls (2.5 miles each way), Bridal Veil Falls (1.8 miles each way), Blue Lake (5.25 miles each way), Ajax Peak (2.5 miles each way), and Jud Wiebe (3 mile loop).
Skiing & Snowboarding
Due to its mountainous location, Telluride is a hotspot for people wanting to enjoy some awesome slopes. To get to the chalets, hop on the gondola — this will take you from the town up 9,500 feet and into Mountain Village, where you’ll have access to the Telluride Ski Resort.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hire a guide and head out on Telluride’s Via Ferrata Route. Your guide will provide all the equipment and knowledge surrounding your tour to make sure you stay safe.
While the exact timing depends on the snowmelt, river rafting season in Telluride typically begins in May and runs through June, and offers either beginner or intermediate rapids. There are a few options for rafting companies to go with, some even offer multi-day adventures.
Tubing season begins when river rafting season ends, and is one of my absolute favorite summertime activities. Before you head out on the water, head on down to BootDoctors, where you can rent a tube for $15. While you’re there, remember to ask about the water conditions.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Another activity that can be booked through BootDoctors, SUP tours in Telluride can be done on Alta Lakes, Down Valley Park, or Woods Lake. That said, if you’re an experienced Stand Up Paddleboarder, head on down to the San Miguel River where conditions are a little more advanced.
Although Telluride’s scenery includes mountains, you don’t need to be super fit or have mountain biking experience to take advantage of the trails. To experience this, you can either rent a bike and head out on your own, or take a tour with Telluride Outside.
A tip for those heading out by themselves, take the Gondola up the hill. That way you don’t have to strain going up the hill and you can just enjoy the ride down.
Where to Eat in Telluride
The Butcher & The Baker
Offering a host of delicious organic menu items such as blueberry pancakes, soups, salads, sandwiches, and bagels, The Butcher & The Baker is a great place to go for a delicious and fresh breakfast or lunch.
A high-quality sushi bar, Pescado offers classic Japanese dishes as well as more eclectic menu options. If you’re feeling adventurous, dive into the wasabi-flavored ice cream.
Brown Dog Pizza
If you’re looking for top-notch pizza, Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride is the place to go. Their square Detroit-style pizza won first prize in the 2013 International Pizza Expo and the 2015 Pizza World Championships.
A family-run Thai joint that offers both traditional dishes and modern Thai fusion, Siam is the place to go if you’re looking for a mean curry and a relaxing atmosphere.
Read more: Packing Light: How To Pack For Carry-On Only
Where to Stay in Telluride
A cozy luxury hotel offering unreal views of the mountainside, a spa, sauna, and easy access to the gondola, Hotel Telluride is the perfect place to come back to after a long day of exploring.
The Peaks Resort and Spa
For those of you looking to be able to ski in and out of your accommodations, look no further than The Peaks Resort and Spa. This mid-range property offers a helicopter for heli-skiing, an indoor and outdoor connecting pool, restaurants, lounges, and even an oxygen room.
Telluride Packing Essentials
Summer Gear: Sunscreen, sunglasses, a swimsuit, and a wide-brimmed hat will have you all set for your summer in Telluride. Additionally, remember to bring a light sweater or jacket as nights here can get chilly.