Sundance, Cannes and Telluride. Telluride may be small, but it holds its own against some of the biggest and brightest film festivals in the entire world. The annual celebration brings together cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers and artists to discover the best in world cinema in Telluride’s scenic box canyon. More than 50 films will be screened in 10 different venues all over town – but the selected films are kept a secret until right before the festival gets underway.
The weekend is also filled with guest speakers, symposiums, discussions and meet and greets with the stars. Free movie and film screenings are also held in Telluride.
Telluride is known for previewing Oscar-winning films in recent years, including Brokeback Mountain, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, Roma and more. There were 35 total Oscar nominations for films played at the Telluride Film Festival in 2018.
Telluride may be a small town, but it has plenty of summer activities to partake in that are worth writing home about. Since it can be tough to choose exactly what you want to do on your vacation, we’ve gathered some of our favorite activities in Telluride and compiled them into a perfect five-day trip to our quaint town. Trust us, you won’t regret this trip (we’re already jealous over here).
Day 1 – Arrive in Telluride on a Tuesday
Yay! You’re here. Welcome to the best little box canyon town around. First things first. Once you’ve settled into your vacation rental, it’s time to drink some water and take in the sights. Trust us, you may not feel thirsty, but it’ll help SO much when it comes to the altitude. 8,750 feet isn’t a joke. The good news? You can drink water AND have fun at the same time. Stroll down Main Street and gander at Ajax Peak in all its glory. Window shop, stop for ice cream or a grilled cheese sandwich in Elks Park, and be sure to pet all of the local dogs walking around! Did you know that Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado? It’s definitely a sight to take in at the end of the box canyon while exploring. Be sure to grab a classic photo in front of the Telluride flower box in the middle of the street.
Day 2 – Hike Telluride’s Most Popular Trail on Wednesday
Start your second day in Telluride off by hiking Bear Creek. The popular trail begins right in town, and takes you on a scenic, moderate, short hike to Bear Creek Falls, which overlooks the town of Telluride. This trail is beautiful and not too strenuous (it’s under three hours round trip). This makes for a great hike to further adjust to the altitude while getting to admire Telluride from above.
If you start early enough, you’ll be back in time for a delicious lunch on the La Cocina De Luz patio. Soak in those mountain rays while chowing down on fresh and authentic Mexican food.
Continue your day by taking advantage of one of Telluride’s most beloved activities: the free gondola to Mountain Village. Did you know more than 2.8 million riders use the gondola annually?
Day 3 – Thursday Gets Spooky
No, really! Start off your Thursday by hitting up Ghost Town on Telluride’s Main Street for a sweet latte and some of their famous avocado toast for breakfast. You’ll want a good breakfast for what’s ahead!
Spend the rest of your morning embarking on a tour of one of Telluride’s famous ghost towns. Our friends at Telluride Outside offer half- and full-day tours to some of the coolest 4WD accessible spots. The Alta Ghost town trip generally ventures to the Alta townsite and Ophir pass, a classic shelf road with unreal views. The Tomboy Ghost Town half-day trip is one of Telluride Outside’s most popular tours, with views from over 13,000 feet en route along Imogene Pass. Full-day trips include the option to return via Ophir Pass or Black Bear Pass (for the more adventurous clientele), while half-day trips return to Telluride on Tomboy Road. If you’d rather venture the roads by yourself, Mountain Adventure Equipment offers high-end off-roading rentals, including a Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and a Jeep Trailhawk.
When you return to Telluride, grab a bite at the Butcher and the Baker before riding the gondola up to Mountain Village for a free Movie Under the Stars, which are held Thursday nights throughout the summer.
Day 4 – SUP Dude?! on a Friday
You’ve all seen those bright yellow boards glowing against the clear blue lakes and the mountains looming in the background. Experience it yourself by renting stand-up paddleboards from Mountain Adventure Equipment. Not only will they deliver a high-end SOL paddle board to your vacation rental, but they’ll also drive them up to Trout Lake for you for an extra $25! They even pick them up, saving you the stress of lugging them anywhere and returning them. They also offer full- and half-day rentals.
After SUPing in the morning, do some shopping around town. Sublime is a local favorite for clothing, while HOOK has some amazing home décor and gifts for everyone. If you loved SUPing or want to prepare for Saturday’s adventure, Jagged Edge Mountain Gear is the go-to shop in town for outdoor performance gear.
To top off your day, visit the Sheridan Hotel’s epic rooftop for a specialty watermelon margarita. The views are unreal, and if you’re there at the right time, you might just catch a rainbow, or at least a beautiful sunset on Ajax.
Day 5 – Get High on Saturday
This is the day you’ve been waiting for – the Via Ferrata day. Telluride’s Via Ferrata, which means “iron road” in Italian, allows brave souls to trek along a rock face 600 feet above the town of Telluride below. While it’s possible to do it on your own, Mountain Trip also offers guided tours, complete with a guide, equipment, and all the support and advice you need to make it across the rocky ledge. Grab some food or some cheese and charcuterie from Over the Moon before you go to snack on.
Upon your return from the legendary Via Ferrata, it’s time to get ready for your last meal in town. Watch the Alpenglow from a panoramic seat at Allred’s, located at the top of the gondola, or choose an exquisite meal in town at the top-rated Cosmopolitan in Hotel Columbia. No matter what you choose, your last meal in town will be a memorable one!
Whenever August rolls around, and the monsoon rains are in full swing, we turn our attention to the Telluride Jazz Festival, which returns after a hiatus during COVID last summer. Telluride Jazz fest is back this August! The festival is taking place this coming weekend, August 13-15, and features amazing acts from all over the country.
There is a little bit of something for everyone this year at the Telluride Jazz Festival. With so much variety, it’s hard to pinpoint just one act as a must-see, but here are some of the acts we are looking forward to.
I have been wanting to see the Budos Band perform live for the past couple of years. I was bummed when Jazz Fest postponed last summer due to COVID-19, but they are back for this year’s edition! Budos Band is a wonderfully hip 9 piece afro-beats band that blends elements of Jazz, Afro-Funk, 60’s Soul and Psychedelic music. Check them out at the Opera House on Friday night, and on the Telluride Main Stage on Saturday evening.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a staple of New Orleans style Jazz. They are always a treat to watch perform live. Named after the world famous venue from which this band was born, they seamlessly integrate traditional jazz elements into their otherwise modern approach to the music style. It’s danceable, listenable, and altogether fun. Check them out on the Telluride Main Stage on Saturday night, and at the Sheridan Opera House on Sunday night for the Final Waltz to close out the weekend.
Award winning Robert Glasper is a beast! World class pianist, record producer, arranger and songwriter, his ability to interweave traditional roots jazz with the ever shifting landscape of modern hip-hop, and R&B is nothing short of phenomenal. He won a Grammy with 2013’s release of “Black Radio”. It is well worth checking out his live performance on Friday night at the Telluride Main stage.
There are so many more acts to choose from, but the above three are the ones where you will most certainly see us.
And don’t forget, if you are in town for the festival, and need lodging, CHECK OUT our inventory! Even if it’s just one night to have a place to lay your weary jazzed out head, stay with us!
We have been getting a steady amount of rain over the past 3 weeks. This is a good things. It not only helps stem the tide of the recent drought conditions, but also brings with it an abundance of wild fungi to forage. It’s mushroom season in Telluride!
The San Miguel Valley region has always had a very healthy mushroom growing season, but over the past few years, with dry weather and drought conditions persisting, they have often been harder to find than usual. This year, with the return of the late summer monsoons, the fungi are back!
My favorites are the Chantarelles, because they are delicious and easy to find and identify. But you can spot all types mushrooms in the area: Porcini, Boletes, Corts, Puffballs, Amanita and many many more.
Early morning is the best time to go out foraging. Don’t ask for our secret spots, those tend to be kept closely guarded, but let’s be real, part of the adventure is just picking an area and setting off into the great unknown.
And don’t forget the mushroom festival coming August 18th-22nd. This Festival is a quirky one, and brings out mycological enthusiasts from all over the country to partake in some mushroom hunting, informational seminars, and of course the famous mushroom parade!
CLICK HERE for more information on the Festival and come enjoy mushroom season in Telluride!
And if you need a place to stay while you hunt, CHECK OUT our website for lodging availability.
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
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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!
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 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
Mild To Wild offers a variety of guided tour options in the region, including our local San Miguel River.
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!
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!