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How to explore Colorado ski town Telluride in the summer

Keith Flanagan

May 15, 2019

Ski town Telluride offers plenty to do in the summer months, too.

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.

In town
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 (, and boutiques stock plenty of crafts; for starters, Over the Moon (200 W. Colorado Ave, 970-728-2079, deals in small-batch pantry items, hand-woven rugs, bags and more.

Get outside
Flowing right through town, the San Miguel River teems with sport. Telluride Outside (800-831-6230, 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 ( 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, 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,, 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, 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,, 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,

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, 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, is a cozy classic replete with Western décor (think antler light fixtures) and outdoor hot tubs.

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