12 Incredible Things To Do In Telluride: The Travel Guide
What is there to do in Telluride, you ask? More like, what is there not to do! From outdoor adventures to world-class skiing to great shopping and cozy restaurants, you’ll find plenty of amazing things to do in Telluride. Offering a little something for everyone, this beautiful mountain town is perfect for families, outdoor enthusiasts and offers a romantic setting for couples. Short and sweet, your visit will be a memorable one to say the least.
Things To Do In Telluride (Restaurants, Activities, Planning Tips)
What Is Telluride Known For?
Becoming a town in 1878, Telluride started off as classic Americana mining town and eventually becoming one of the top destinations in the U.S. Old western-style and charming store fronts line the streets where you’ll easily find great shopping and amazing eateries.
Sitting pretty at 8,750 ft in elevation, Telluride is engulfed in a box canyon making it perfect for skiing in the winter and hiking year-round. A nature lover’s paradise.
Get our Ultimate Colorado Road Tip Itinerary right here!
How To Get To Telluride?
Telluride is located 330mi / 531km southwest of Denver, about a 6 hour drive. From Denver, you’ll need to rent a car and head southwest until you the picturesque mountain town you’ll soon know and love.
A much more closer option is to fly into Montrose. Montrose is the closet airport to Telluride (airport code: MTJ). Located 65 miles away from Telluride, you can choose to either rent a car from the Montrose Regional Airport or opt to make a reservation with a transportation company to take you into town.
If you have the monetary means, Telluride has a Regional Airport (airport code: TEX) that is open to charters, private planes and jets.
Be sure to check out our Road Trip Essentials packing list.
Things To Do in Telluride
1. Take A Ride on The Free Telluride Gondola
One of the best things about Telluride is there are actually quite a few free things for people to do and enjoy, the Gondola being one of them. Located just at the end of town, you’ll find the Telluride Gondola Station.
The Gondola will take its rider to two stops. The first stop being the St. Sophie Station. Here, at St. Sophie’s, you can disembark for amazing views (San Sophia Overlook), biking, hiking and ski trails or grab a bite to eat at Alfred’s.
The second stop on the Gondola is Mountain Village. Located just “over the hill” from Telluride, you’ll find the town of Mountain Village. Mountain Village is situated at the base of the mountains and has everything from hotels, restaurants, shopping outlets and to top it off, offers easy access to the slopes and trails in and around Telluride.
Once you’ve had your fill of St. Sophie Station and Mountain Village, jump back on the gondola and take it back into town. Easy-peasy, a half-day well spent.
2. Meander Through The Shops on Historic Main Street
Charming. Pretty much the word that sums up downtown Telluride. Quaint little homes and store fronts line the paved streets. It’s easy to spend a day shopping and walking up and down the few streets that make up the downtown area.
- For leather goods, check out Crossbow Leather or Overland Sheepskin Co.
- Looking for outdoor apparel? Head to Bootdoctors
- For CBD and Marijuana, the Green Dragon or the Bud Company is your place
- For fine art visit Telluride Art Gallery or Daniel Kanow Fine Art
- Looking for home good? Be sure to check out Hook or Tweed
- For souvenirs, Shirtworks of Telluride or Paradise Resortwear
- For clothing, Toggery and Sublime are great starting points
3. Eat and Buy Local at The Telluride Farmer’s Market
An organic, local outdoor market located right in the heart of downtown can be none other than the Telluride Farmer’s Market. If you’re visiting during June – October, you’ll get to experience the farmers market. From locally grown produce, to cheeses, jams and honey (just to name a few) to handmade crafts, it’s easy to spend an hour or two of your day enjoying the Farmer’s Market.
4. Hit The Telluride Biking & Hiking Trails
Telluride is home to some amazing trails. Whether you’re looking for a strenuous hike to reach the top of a summit or something a little casual to walk with friends or the family, there is a hike for everyone.
Check out “4 Amazing Telluride Hikes Not To Miss” to help you plan the perfect hike (or hikes) for you!
If you are a mountain biker, or just wanting to give it a try, there are loads of great mountain biking trails in Telluride. You can bring your own bike or rent one from Box Canyon Bicycles or Easy Rider. Once your bike is in hand, head towards the gondola and jump on – no worries, there are bike racks on the gondola.
You’ll be taken to St. Sophie’s Station where you’ll disembark and begin your ride! For a complete map of biking trails, check out the trail map here.
5. Experience A Telluride Festival
If you’re visiting during the Summer and Fall months, you are potentially in for a treat! Four of Tellurides most popular festivals occur during these seasons. Each of these festivals take place in an open air venue attracting loads of crowds and a good time!
- Telluride Blues & Brews Festival
- Telluride Bluegrass Festival
- Telluride Film Festival
- Telluride Jazz Festival
TIP: If you’d like to attend any of the above festivals, please make accommodation reservations ahead of time as the town tends to sell out of rooms during festivals.
6. Have A Beer Near Where Butch Cassidy Robbed A Bank
Yes, you read that header correctly. The wild west legend and outlaw Butch Cassidy did a stint in Telluride where he robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in 1889 for a whopping $20,750 (considered to be half a million in today’s currency). While the San Miguel Valley Bank no longer stands, it burned down shortly after the robbery, it was rebuilt to look identical to its former self. What stands in its place today is now referred to at the Mahr Building (129 W Colorado Ave).
For all you history buffs, mosey into the Last Dollar Saloon (built in 1899) or the Sheridan Hotel (built in 1895), and belly up to the bar and order an adult beverage as you reminisce of wild west bank robberies, shoot outs and gun slingers of Americana past.
7. Hit The River for Some White Water Rafting or Go Fly Fishing
If you’re a water person, Telluride has two excellent ways to enjoy it’s streams and rivers. First up, white water rafting! For all your adventure junkies, spend a half-day chasing class II and class III rapids on the San Miguel River.
Looking for something a little more laid back? Perhaps even some solace on the river? Well, fly fishing may just be for you. Telluride Angler is a great fly shop offering guided services to fly fisherman and women who are looking to get a superb trout catch. Their office is located right in the town, so swing on by and book a day on the river.
8. Giddy Up with Horseback Riding in Telluride
If riding through the hills and fields of Colorado’s southwest sounds good to you, then you should definetly check out Telluride Wranglers. From a few hours to full day horseback rides, you’ll get to experience some of the best scenery Colorado has to offer.
9. Ski the 120 Slopes of Telluride’s Ski Resort
If you are visiting during the winter months, skiing and snowboarding should definitely be on your list! Oh, and if you want to take it to the extreme consider booking a heli skiing drop for an absolute unforgettable experience. Regardless which run you choose to conquer, don’t miss taking a break at Alpino Vino, a restaurant situated at 11,966 ft. Plenty of vino and views for all!
If you’re thinking “meh, skiing and snowboarding is not really for me” consider booking a dogsledding or snowmobile tour or throw on some snowshoes to take in the snow covered alpine trails.
10. Drink and Relax On a Roof Top Bar
The Roof (New Sheridan Hotel) and Last Dollar Saloon both have roof top bars where you can enjoy a good cold beer or cocktail as you watch the sunset on the historic downtown. Perfect during the summer months, it’s a great vibe and perfect way to rest those legs from all the outdoor fun you’ve been having.
11. Go Golfing at 9,000ft
Ranking as one of the highest elevation courses in the world, the Telluride Golf Club, The Course, is a must do for all you golf lover’s. Go for a birdie as you take in some epic mountain views. After you’ve played your round, celebrate at the club house over a few celebratory drinks.
12. Eat At Some Of The Best Telluride Restaurants
Telluride has some amazing restaurants. From fine dining to causal eats, you won’t go hungry here.
- Brown Dog Pizza: Arguably the best pizza in Colorado.
- 221 South Oak: Warm intimate atmphoere with new American fare food.
- there: Fantastic cocktails, cozy environment and our favorite restaurant for dinner.
- Floradora Saloon: A casual establishment loaded with old western saloon vibes, strong drinks and good food.
- Ghost Town Coffee: A quaint little coffee bar that is perfect for a caffeine boost or calming tea.
- Siam: Amazing authentic Thai food.
- Telluride Brewing Company: For some local brewed beers and tasty pub food.
- The Butcher & The Baker: Organic, local, fresh food that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Don’t miss this place.
If your accommodation has a kitchen, you may be interested in staying in for the night and cooking. If so, “The Market At Telluride” and “Over the Moon Fine Foods” are great little grocery stores in town to pick up ingredients for your meal.
Nightlife & Bars
If you’re looking for some late night fun, you won’t find too many places to choose from. However, there are definetly a few great bars you can call your watering hole for the night.
- Last Dollar Saloon: Closes at 2am
- Historic Bar (New Sheridan Hotel): Closes at 2am
- Liberty Lounge: Closes at 10pm
- Obannon’s Irish Pub: Closes at 10pm
How Many Days Do You Need In Telluride?
Regardless what activities or festivals drew you to Telluride, our recommendation is to spend at least 3 full days enjoying this Colorado mountain town. Three days will give you plenty of time for outdoor fun, taking it easy and enjoying the town. Of course, if you want to spend more time here, we certainly won’t stop you 🙂
Getting Around Town
The best way to get around? Your own two feet. Walking is the best form of transportation in this town. While you may rent a car to get here, no car is needed once you arrive. If you have a car, make sure your accommodation offers parking.
TIP: If you have a car, consider driving the Million Dollar Highway
The Best Time To Visit Telluride
Telluride is a year-round destination! Really and truly, no matter what season you visit, you’ll find endless fun and things to do.
- Winter Months: Skiing at Telluride Ski Resort, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and ice climbing are just a few winter activities to do in Telluride.
- Spring Months: Snow begins to melt and the spring buds begin to bloom. The cold frost is moved away and with it comes beautiful spring weather. Spring is one of the lesser crowded seasons to visit. So, if you’re looking to potential save some money, visit in the spring.
- Summer Months: Summer is among the best time to visit. Beautiful, long days allow for plenty of outdoor activity fun.
- Fall Months: Two words, fall foliage. Autumn is a fantastic time to visit. Especially after Labor Day weekend, the crowds to dwindle and the fall colors start to creep in.
Is Telluride Colorado Expensive?
Telluride definetly leans to the more expensive side of things. Be it your room nightly rate or food tab, you’ll pay a little more when staying in and exploring Telluride.
If you’re on a budget, we suggest checking out nearby campsites (check out the next section) and Ouray or Ridgway for cheaper accommodations. Another moving saving tip is to stop to buy food in Montrose vs. a Telluride grocery store to save on money on your bar and food bill.
Where To Stay In Telluride
There are many accommodation options when it comes to Telluride. Whether you decide to stay in Telluride or Mountain Village, below are just a few place for you to consider.
- The Luxury Inclined | Element 52
- The Budget Conscious | Mountainside Inn
- Something in Between | Camel’s Garden Hotel
For more places to stay in Telluride, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
Wondering where to camp in Telluride? First, understand that while Telluride has amazing campgrounds, none of them are located within walking distance of downtown. So, if you’re wanting to explore downtown Telluride, driving into town from your RV park or campsite is a must.
RV Parks Near Telluride
The closet full hook up RV park to Telluride is Ouray Riverside Resort Cabin and RV Park in Ouray, CO. Located about an hour away (50m/80kms) from Telluride, Ouray is a great town to split your time between.
If you’re staying in Ouray, consider extending your stay by a few days (1-2 days) so you can enjoy both Ouray and Telluride.
Campgrounds Near Telluride
- Woods Lake Campground: $18+ per night | first come first serve | 22 miles from Telluride
- Sunshine Campground: $18+ per night | first come first serve | 8.5 miles from Telluride
- Mary E Dispersed Camping Area: $0 per night | first come first serve | 7.5 miles from Telluride
- Matterhorn Campground: $22+ per night | reservations allowed | 12.5 miles from Telluride
- Priest Lake Dispersed Camping Area: $0 per night | first come first serve | 14 miles from Telluride
- Alta Lakes: $0 per night | first come first serve | 13 miles from Telluride
Check out our essential camping list and tips to make camping a breeze!
Where To Next?
After you leas Telluride, there are loads of amazing nearby places for you to explore. Make your way to Crested Butte or Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park. Or opt to drive the Million Dollar Highway to Durango, Colorado or head further south to Great Sand Dunes National Park. From Great Sand Dunes National Park, you’re a few hours drive away from the mountain high desert town of Taos, New Mexico.
Change your direction all together and head west to Utah to explore the Big 5 National Parks with our epic 10 day Utah road trip through some of the best places Utah has to offer. Regardless where you head, save travels friends!
WANT MORE INFORMATION?!
Your Complete Guide to Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park
12 Epic Things To Do in Crested Butte
4 Amazing Telluride Hikes You Can’t Skip
The Ultimate Colorado Road Trip Itinerary
Arizona Road Trip: 2 Week Itinerary
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)