TELLURIDE GHOST TOWNS AND MINING REMNANTS

Telluride may be known for being a ski town now, but it used to be known for something much different – mining ghost towns. In the mid-to-late 19th century, the San Juans were chock full of all kinds of metals, but silver reigned king. Like the metal, the miners came and went, and their remnants remain in the form of outbuildings and old mining equipment

Rather than deteriorating all alone up in the mountains, many former mining towns, now full-on ghost towns, are waiting to be explored. Whether accessed by 4WD or a hiking trail, these Telluride ghost towns are not to be missed while here. 

Our friends at Telluride Outside offer some of the best tours in the area with off-roading vehicles and local guides who know the routes (trust us, that’s important) and the history of the area. If you’d rather do it yourself, Mountain Adventure Equipment offers vehicle rentals for your own adventure. These aren’t just your average Jeep either – they offer specialty vehicles, such as the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. 

Whichever way you decide to do it, these Telluride mining ghost towns are not to be missed while staying in the box canyon.

Alta Ghost Town

A Fixer Upper

Alta Lakes and the Alta Ghost Town make for an easy day trip from Telluride. The ghost town itself is located at 11,800 feet and has several original buildings still standing. In its prime, a few hundred people lived there. While the buildings may be in disarray, be sure to snap an unreal shot of Mount Wilson through the window of one of the cabins. It will look like a painting. 

Abandoned Cabin

Getting to Alta is easy. Either drive the 4WD road straight to the town or hike up the backside of the Telluride Ski Resort. Telluride Outside offers both half day and full day trips to Alta Ghost Town. Trips also features an adventure through Ophir Pass. Telluride Outside’s customized Chevy trucks include heavy padding and removable canopies, and are a great way to get all the best views. Either way you choose, the scenery is unreal and you’re sure to see a marmot or two hiding out.

Tomboy Ghost Town

Tomboy Ghost Town is a more adventurous trip from Telluride. Most people get there via a 4WD road that is not for the faint of heart. After a drive through Imogene Pass, you’ll hit Tomboy Ghost Town, which used to be home to almost 1,000 residents. It was known for its ore and was a fully-functioning town until the 1920s when it ran out. There’s a lot to see here considering the extreme weather conditions in the San Juans. 

Tomboy Mining Ruins

Getting there may be a different story. Many of the roads en route to Tomboy Ghost Town are slick, narrow and have steep drop-offs. This makes them ideal for experienced four-wheel drivers. Imogene Pass is rated moderately difficult at elevation of 13,000 feet, but Telluride Outside’s experienced drivers make the drive easy. They offer half – and full-day trips from Telluride that venture through Imogene Pass before heading to Tomboy Ghost Town. Full-day trips cover even more ground, crossing Imogene Pass into Ouray before returning via Ophir Pass or Black Bear Pass.

An Old Tomboy Building

Tomboy Ghost Town is also accessible from the town of Telluride, but it is more strenuous of a hike. The trail begins at Oak Street and continues to the Liberty Bell Basin. It features the Liberty Bell Mine, before continuing to Tomboy Ghost Town. It loops back to town and takes approximate 7-8 hours for a round-trip adventure. It’s also possible to hike up Tomboy Road, but that also tends to be riddled with cars traveling the same route.

Animas Forks

Animas Forks, formerly known as the Three Forks of the Animas, is a historic mining town located at 11,200 feet near Silverton. The first buildings were erected in 1873. The town added a hotel, saloon, general store, a post office and 30 cabins by 1876. They even had a newspaper! But by 1920, it was a ghost town. 

Located on the Alpine Loop, a 65-mile unpaved road that connects Lake City, Ouray and Silverton, that is accessible from Silverton with two-wheel drive in the summer. The roads past that, which go over Engineer Pass, all require four-wheel drive. It makes for a great spot to stop for lunch while Jeeping the Alpine Loop.

5 Reasons To Check Out The Telluride Bike Park!

Mountain biking on the Telluride Mountain Village Bike Park trails, Colorado.

Telluride has always been a great place to mountain bike, but the Telluride Bike Park ups the ante. The park, which opened for the first time in 2019, requires a daily pass to get access to the park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gear up and get ready to hit the park!

Easy Up!

The new Telluride Bike Park is serviced by both the gondola and Village Express (Lift 4). Whether you are staying in Mountain Village or the Town of Telluride, there’s easy access to any of the terrain. Let’s be real – we all know it’s not fun to bike uphill.

Mountain biking on the Telluride Mountain Village Bike Park trails, Colorado.
Mountain biking on the Telluride Mountain Village Bike Park trails, Colorado.

Variety Of Terrain

No matter your skill level, there’s a biking trail for you in Telluride. There are approximately 15 total trails encompassing 17 miles of trails across the ski resort area. There are five miles of green trails, eight miles of blue trails and four miles of black trails. In addition to everything available in the Telluride Bike Park, the Town of Mountain Village also manages Boomerang, Meadows, Jurassic, Big Billie’s, Boulevard and Russell Trail, all of which are two-way traffic trails.
Click here to see more details about the trails and maps of the area.

Views Galore!

You’ve hiked around Telluride, but have you ever seen Telluride from a bike? The views from the Telluride Bike Park’s trails are some of the most beloved in the area. Surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, these trails are some of the most beautiful and unique in the country. Don’t forget to look up (but safely)!

Mountain biking on the Telluride Mountain Village Bike Park trails, Colorado.

Guides and Clinics

First time on a mountain bike? Not to fret – Telluride Ski & Golf has you covered. Whether you’re a first-timer or simply want to get more experience mountain biking, there’s a class/guided tour for you. Classes include Bike Park Essentials, which will teach you the ropes of the bike park, and Bike Park Freeride, aimed at the more experienced downhiller. Or for those who want a more customized experience, private guides are available for three-hour treks.

CLICK HERE for more info on Guides and Clinics currently offered.

Mountain biking on the Telluride Mountain Village Bike Park trails, Colorado.

Your Ticket Purchase Benefits The Forest

For every day pass sold, the Telluride Ski and Golf Club donates $1 to the National Forest Foundation, while for each season pass, $25 is donated. The National Forest Foundation’s goal is to bring people together to restore and enhance National Forests and Grasslands, including those in the Telluride region. The group is a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service.

For additional details about pricing and the bike park, please visit the Telluride Bike Park’s website.

Don’t forget to check out our current available inventory of Telluride and Mountain Village homes, condos and hotels if you need a place to stay while you are here!

The Telluride Alphabet!

The Telluride Alphabet Book Launch

Local author Jill Wilson and illustrator Abby J. Fox are introducing their brand new book The Telluride Alphabet this Sunday at the Transfer Warehouse from 4-6pm! There will be live music, free refreshments, fun activities and a book signing!

Come support these wonderful locals and congratulate them on a job well done with this new work of literature! It’s about time Telluride had a new feature book, and this one will sell like hotcakes, so don’t forget to pick up your copy!

If you can’t make it to the event, no worries, you can order your book HERE and have it mailed to you, or hand delivered if you live or work in town!

Come celebrate local art at it’s finest! See you there!

Buy The Ticket, Take The RIDE!

The Telluride Ride Festival is back this year, but things look a little different this time around. The RIDE has a new format where you can attend for one weekend, two weekends or for ten straight days!

Ride Festival Poster 2021

The Telluride RIDE Festival brings stellar rock n’ roll to one of the most stellar settings in the world. The festival will not be held in the usual town park stage setting, but instead will be spread out among different venues around town, allowing you to choose which shows you want to see. CLICK HERE to check out the schedule!

For more information on all the Telluride festivals happening this summer, CLICK HERE!

Zipline Telluride!

Telluride has a brand new adventure activity, and it’s one that is bound to give you an adrenaline rush! Zipline Telluride! Soar above the canopy of trees while looking on at the San Juan mountain range all around you. Experience 5 ziplines, 2 aerial bridges, and 2 rappels. Reaching 140 feet off the ground, enjoy an adventure in the tree tops and a bird’s eye view of the surrounding San Juan Mountains that you’ll never forget!

A few team members of the Alpine Lodging staff got to experience this new alpine zipline adventure last week, and here are a few snapshots of the day!

Zipline straight towards Wilson Peak!

Even the rope bridges provide some excitement!

One of the rappels!

Launch of very secure platforms into the canopy of trees!

Adrenaline rush!

Plan for at least 3 hours starting from the initial gear up, training, all 5 ziplines and the return trip back to the Telluride Adventure Center. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing, wear sunscreen, and bring a clip able water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the activity. If you do have a fear of heights, you may want to reconsider, but do know that you can trust the guides and the gear. You are perfectly safe throughout the zipline telluride adventure!

Don’t forget to check out some of the other many amazing summer activities while you are visiting the area!

Rafting Season Is Upon Telluride!

Rafting season in Telluride is finally upon us! Temperatures are rising, and the high country snows are melting! This means high fast waters in our local rivers. June is the best month to get on a raft of any kind and go for a float! The 2021 runoff season will be a good one!

HERE is some information on the summer rafting experience in Telluride, among many other things to do!

Telluride’s local outfitters offer a wide array of guided rafting options to fit your needs:

Mild To Wild

Riding the San Miguel

Mild To Wild offers a variety of guided tour options in the region, including our local San Miguel River.

Check it out →

Telluride Outside

Splash town!

Telluride Outside has been raft guiding since 1982, and they know the ins and outs of our rivers better than anyone!

Check it out →

Or if you prefer something a little less turbulent, grab a stand up paddleboard or an inflatable duckie and do a more leisurely float down the upper San Miguel. The portion of the river through the valley floor has been re-directed back to it’s natural flow resulting in a lovely curvy float. Don’t have a stand up paddleboard? No problem, you can rent one from Telluride Bootdoctors or The Jagged Edge in town!

Sup’in the Valley Floor

And of course you can always grab an innertube and jump in at Town Park and float through town. You can buy innertubes at the local Ace Hardware store. It’s an incredibly cheap way to spend a splashy fun afternoon. But be aware, that water was snow less than 24 hour ago, so it’s coooooooold!

Tube Time!

Blues & Brews 2021 Lineup!

The 2021 Blues & Brews lineup has been announced! As usual it’s a doozy! You can find ticketing information HERE. Check out our available lodging and plan your trip soon, as the weekend will fill up fast!

We are so excited for the return of our beloved music festivals this summer! Blues & Brews happens to be one of our favorites!

Set amongst the changing aspen leaves, majestic mountain backdrop and crisp early fall weather in Telluride Town Park, the Blues & Brews Festival is the perfect excuse for a getaway to our magical box canyon. This festival has something for everyone! Music, food, wares and fun!

And did we mention beer? Saturday morning features the famous Grand Tasting, featuring breweries from all over the country. I always seek out a unique chili beer, but there truly is a brew for everyone.

MOUNTAINFILM IN TELLURIDE IS BACK!

Last year, the Covid lockdowns forced Mountainfilm to pivot to online programming, but with the advent of increased vaccinations, and loosening of local gathering ordinances, the beloved first festival of the season has returned with a hybrid of online and in person programming!  And we can’t be more exited!

CLICK HERE for more information on the festival events, programming and schedule.  Tickets are still available for the festival so get on it fast and don’t forget to bring your layers, because Spring in the Mountains can see varying temperatures.