Telluride is truly a great place to live, it has so much to do and see. There are endless hikes, great food, and great people. However, if you are here for weeks and weeks at a time with no time out of our small community, you can experience Canyon Fever. (I’m not a doctor but this illness is real!) So spending time away from Telluride just comes along with living in Telluride. Thankfully there is so many cool things to do close by, but these are my top choices.
One of my favorite places to escape to is McPhee Lake. It is about an hour and a half away in the direction towards Cortez. The lake is a pretty decent size and though it is cold I love playing in the water. I head up with my friends, my family and my boat. Sometimes we go for a day, or sometimes we camp and take advantage of the lake for the whole weekend. Another benefit – it offers the best cliff jumping around, besides Lake Powell of course.
Ouray isn’t all that far away, compared to most towns in our general vicinity. It is a smaller mountain town that is across the Imogene Pass from Telluride. It has a really cute downtown with great shops to walk around and browse in. Also they have a hot springs that is perfect to relax in no matter the season. There are multiple pools with different uses and temperatures. You can relax in the hot pool, or challenge friends on the obstacle course in the cold pool.
If you’re not looking for a long drive to get out of town, you can just go to Ridgeway which is approximately a 45 minute drive. The town isn’t much but they have a nice park and a great taco place (Taco Del Gnar) to grab a bite to eat. Bring your tennis racket too, as the courts never seem to be busy.
A little over 2 hour drive can get you to a college town called Durango. It is a much larger town than Telluride and has a huge variety of things to do. One thing that Durango is very popular for is their rafting. Mild 2 Wild offers great tours for all levels of experience and thrill seekers. They have trips down the Animas and jeep tours! Durango also has a hot springs, train rides, shopping, hiking, zip lines and so much more. Then after a day full of fun treat yourself to something sweet at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory!
If you go there, I would stay for a night or two to make the drive a little more worth it, but you don’t necessarily have to. If you happen to book a room at the Strater Hotel, however, beware, I suggest all scaredy cats stay far far away. There has been many ghost sightings in that hotel since the 1880s, it is one of America’s most haunted hotels.
The Million Dollar Highway is a 25 mile stretch of U.S. Route 550. The road goes from Durango, to Silverton to Ouray. So Maybe you want a little taste of everything, and you can clock your GPS to the Million Dollar Highway. The drive to all of these places is breathtaking, no matter the route you take. There are mountain passes and rivers flowing along the road that make the trip that much better.