If you're looking for a great read and an even better adventure, pick up New York Times #1 Bestseller, '1,000 Places To See Before You Die' by Patricia Schultz. This 974 page book combines a "Traveler's Life List" of world wonders you need to visit, experience, live, and/or see before you die. "Here is the best the world has to offer: 1,000 places guaranteed to give travelers the shivers"... "Each entry tells exactly why it's essential to visit. Stop dreaming… and get going!"
After perusing through the book for a while... the places she recommends are actually really cool. It's the perfect coffee-table book to start planning your next adventure. I noticed that out of 1000 places to see before you die, six are right here in Telluride's backyard. You could easily make Telluride your “homebase” and visit any or all of these unique, bucket-list items. Here’s a short excerpt from each "must see" attraction in the Telluride region:
Mesa Verde National Park - "Cliff Dwellings of a Mysterious People in the Four Corners" - Cortez, Colorado - Mesa Verde is the largest archaeological preserve in the U.S., "Of the more than 300 national parks in the United States, 52,000-acre Mesa Verde is the only one devoted exclusively to archaeology." More than 4,000 archaeological sites discovered, of which approximately 600 are cliff dwellings. Make sure you pack a lunch, take plenty of water and comfortable hiking shoes because there are endless trails, cliff dwellings and hikes to explore. An amazing site dating back to 600 A.D., Mesa Verde is an easy day-trip from Telluride - Approximately 86 miles, 2 hour drive Southwest of Telluride.
The Million Dollar Highway & The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - "Heaven via Road or Steam Engine" - Durango, Colorado - "Many roadsters herald the San Juan Skyway as the most beautiful drive in the continental United States". Beautiful is an understatement as you drive through the San Juan Mountains, narrow canyon ledges, glacier-carved valleys, abandoned mining towns... it's pure bliss. If you're a train fan, jump on the Narrow Gauge Railroad that starts in Durango and takes you to the old mining town of Silverton, Colorado. You'll have two hours to check out the old mining/skiing town of Silverton and then head back to Durango. We just rode the Narrow Gauge Railroad during the Telluride Blues & Brews "Blues Train" back in early June. Amazing. Bending around corners while the Animas River rages beneath you is quite the thrill. Durango is an east day-trip from Telluride - Approximately 120 miles, 2.5 hour drive South of Telluride.
Telluride - "Festival Capital of the Rockies" - Telluride, Colorado - #1 in our heart… "Isolated in a box canyon surrounded by the highest concentration of 14,000-foot peaks in the United States, Telluride has a well-earned reputation among high-octane vertical ski buffs, vacationing celebs seeking a low-profile hiding place, and Victoriana-seekers looking to experience the charm of its gold-and-silver-rush days". Not to mention, Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here in 1889 and with 25+ festivals stretching from May to September; Telluride is rich in history, adventure, beauty, and fun. We
Moab and Red Rock Country - "Adventure Central" - Moab, Utah - "Set amid a spectacular desert terrain so far from anywhere that Butch Cassidy found it a perfect place to hide out, Moab has become the hot spot from international mountain bikers, river runners, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, hikers, rock climbers, and adrenaline junkies". That pretty much sums up how cool and adventure-packed the little town of Moab is. Drive, hike, or camp in the beautiful Arches National Park and view the countless natural arches and rock formations... a true "photographer's paradise". This is the perfect escape from Telluride if you need hot sunshine and amazing mountain biking terrain. Moab is an easy day-trip from Telluride - Just 30 miles Northwest of Moab, check out Utah's largest National Park, Canyonlands. Approximately 135 miles, 3 hour drive Northwest of Telluride.
Canyon De Chelly National Monument - "Sacred Outdoor Museum of the Navajo Nation" Chinle, Arizona - "Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "d'Shay") serves as a showcase for 2,000 years of Native American history with a quiet magic and spirituality all its own". Described as a "mini Grand Canyon", this area includes sandstone walls towering 600 feet, cliffside dwellings built by the Anasazi people between 700-1300 A.D. (oldest houses in the United States), and some of America's finest rock art pictographs. Never been to this spot... but it's on the list! Approximately 216 miles, 4 hour drive Southwest of Telluride.
Lake Powell - "A Grand Canyon Filled with Water" Page, Arizona - "A 186-mile long artificial lake, created by construction of the Glen Canyon Dam" is the perfect place to camp, boat, and hike. Enjoy the red-rock walls, rose-colored sand, and blue-green water. Rent a houseboat or pitch a tent by the nation's 2nd largest artificial lake. The drive from Telluride is do-able but you're going to want to stay and camp at least one night. Another perfect warm weather escape from Telluride... the best thing to do is rent a houseboat with a large group of friends and spend a couple days on the lake! Approximately 300 miles, 5.5 hour drive from Southwest of Telluride.
Not only do you need to check out this awesome book... more importantly, you need to check out these spectacular places! Each one of these places shares a unique & rich history, beauty and adventure. We live in one of the prettiest countries in the world...