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No matter what the season, active sports and outdoor adventures get top billing in Telluride. Snow sports reign in winter, with some of the best and least crowded skiing and snowboarding in the West, as well as gentler snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Summer is festival time, and most of the town’s famous summer festivals are on open-air stages with gorgeous scenery as the backdrop. Here are our picks for best things to do in Telluride:
1. Ski and snowboard. During Telluride’s winter season, snow sports reign supreme. The expansive ski area has terrain ranging from gentle slopes for beginners and double black diamond chutes. The average annual snowfall exceeds 300 inches, and the white stuff is some of the lightest, fluffiest powder in the West. There rarely are lines for the 18 lifts, and the 2,000 acres of terrain are never crowded.
2. Celebrate at festivals. There’s sometime going on almost every weekend here. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival around summer solstice always sells out. The prestigious Telluride Film Festival on Labor Day Weekend has premiered thought-provoking films that have gone on to win Oscars. Telluride has even declared a No Festival Weekend in summer to “celebrate” a couple of days when nothing special is on the calendar.
3. Visit a ghost town. Telluride got its start as a major mining district when it was founded in 1878. Old mine sites and mill sites dot the mountains, with old mining roads lacing through them — today, they are thoroughfares for four-wheel drive vehicles, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and hikers. Join a knowledgeable guide to the well-preserved mining town of Alta by all-terrain vehicle in the summer and snowmobile in the winter; you can head to Tomboy high on Imogene Pass in the summer only.
4. Explore Bridal Veil Falls. Hike, mountain bike or go off-roading to this beautiful waterfall. At 365 feet, Bridal Veil Falls is Colorado’s tallest free-falling cataract. The 1907 powerhouse at the top was restored in the late 1980s and remains in private hands, but it still supplies about 25 percent of the town’s power needs. The panorama of the falls and the valley far below is worth the effort of getting there.
5. Fly in Silence. The rugged San Juan Mountains are usually acknowledged as Colorado’s most scenic mountain range, magnificently clad in summer green, winter white or fall’s golden aspen trees. Visitors can get an eagle-eye experience by soaring over the San Juan Range in a silent glider or floating by in a hot air balloon.
Best Things To Do
In winter Telluride is all about skiing and snowboarding with one of the best arrays of diverse terrain for all abilities of any ski resort in North America, from the tamest greens to the perfectly groomed blues to some of the most challenging double black mogul runs on earth, and hike-to chutes and terrain rated Extreme, beyond double black. But there are many other fun options, the most popular of which are guided snowmobile excursions, a one day into to ice climbing, and unique guided “fat bike” tours on special mountain bikes with huge tires that work in the snow. If you haven’t done it, and few have, it is very fun experience and most tours conveniently end at the Telluride Brewing Company. In summer, Telluride switches to full on festival mode, with a special event pretty much every weekend, the biggest of which is the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June, now in its 40th year, but others range from a horror film fest to a beer event in the fall. Mountain biking, hiking and fly fishing are all popular, and Telluride’s Mountain Village is home to an excellent golf course.