Tucked in an ancient glacial valley in the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains- in what is easily one of the most striking box canyons in all of Colorado- the mountain town of Telluride has changed many hats over the course of its history. Transforming from the quiet, venerated home of the Ute people- who called the area the “The Valley of Hanging Waterfalls”- to a rowdy 19th century mining camp, to one of the most esteemed year-round destinations in Colorado. The mineral-rich and peak-rich location feels both like the end-of-the-road and the start of your wildest outdoor adventure, and it’s pretty unmatched, even by Colorado standards.
After the collapse of the mining industry, resort-minded entrepreneurs of the 1970s paved the way for a pulsating winter scene in Telluride. And, to this day, skiers, snowboarders, ice climbers and backcountry enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the town for some of the best snow and ice in the West. Rest assured that an equally thriving summer season also lures nearly every kind of outdoor fanatic -off-roaders, rock climbers, thru-hikers, mountain bikers, you name it!- proving that Telluride delivers nonstop adventure for every passion, budget, and vacation style with its awe-inspiring, high elevation terrain.
So if you’re the type of active traveler that likes to mix a fair dose of fitness with a fair bit of pleasure- an athletic vacation, if you will- you’ve come to the right place. Here are our tips on how to please- and challenge!- mind, body and soul when deciding what to do in Telluride.
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Mountain Biking Telluride in the Summer
If it’s a full-body workout you’re craving, mountain biking around Telluride will give nearly every muscle a thorough shake-up in the best of ways, all while improving your cardio and increasing stamina.
There are trails around town to suit every skill and style of biker. Whether you want to ride the free gondola up the ski resort and focus on technical downhill maneuvers at the Telluride Bike Park, or cruise ridgelines on old mining roads and bucolic wildflower fields on some of the most scenic cross-country trails in the area. Our top mountain bike trail picks include:
- Penelope’s Cruise (easy/intermediate, 10 miles)
- The Prospect Trail (intermediate, 8 miles)
- Galloping Goose (38 miles, intermediate)
- Wasatch Trail Loop (18 miles, hard)
Trail Running Routes in Telluride
One of the best ways to connect with nature is to cover lots of ground running it. Telluride won’t disappoint with its seemingly endless array of trails that will please beginner trail runners and ultra-marathoners alike. The summer season is an inspiring time of year to hit the ground in steady strides. Mornings in particular offer the perfect balance between crisp mountain air, sunny skies, and thin- or nonexistent- crowds. Here’s our roundup of where to start your running journey:
- Telluride River Trail (4 miles)
- Jud Weibe Memorial Trail (3 miles)
- San Miguel River Trail (6.6 miles)
- Bear Creek Falls (4.7 miles)
- Deep Creek Trail (11 miles)
Hike a “14-er” in Telluride
Can you even say you’ve been to Colorado without hiking one of its towering “fourteeners”. With the greatest concentration of mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet in any state- there are 58 of them in total- it’s somewhat of a right-of-passage for locals and tourists alike to scramble up alpine terrain and say you’ve topped out on some of the highest summits in the country.
While the immediate Telluride area has several within an hour’s drive, some are best reserved for those with a bit of mountaineering or climbing experience, so it’s worth it to drive a bit further and bag a peak safely. We recommend trying your hand with these majestic 14-ers, first:
Where to Eat in Downtown Telluride
Adventures need to be fueled with potent meals and quality ingredients, and The Butcher and Baker does not disappoint. The thoughtfully-sourced artisan creations, which are made in house, are the best breakfast option in town. Baked in Telluride is another eatery with somewhat of a legend’s status offering freshly baked goods all day long. Since opening in the 1970s, Baked in Telluride has the best homemade soups and sandwiches in town. Don’t forget to try the cookies as well.
Best Hotels in Telluride in the Summer
Places to stay in Telluride are plenty, but not many compare to the location and charm of the historic 19th-century New Sheridan Hotel. Just two blocks from the gondola and right in the center of town. It is a step back in time when you enter the New Sheridan hotel. A classic saloon style bar welcome you as you enter and old pictures of the town from its mining days set the mood. If you are looking for an authentic experience, this is the hotel for you.
Another memorable option is the Mountain Lodge Telluride, which really hits the mark with its rustic-yet-luxurious take on log-cabin flair. Located in Mountain Village, just up the gondola from downtown, the Lodge provides modern mountain town comforts and all the amenities you would want.
In town on your own? Check out The Klubb mobile app to find friends to join in on whatever adventure your planning. For more on finding friends in a new town, check out our recent article on Making Friends as an Adult.