There’s no doubt about it – Telluride is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. With lakes and streams galore, tons of four-wheeling trails and even its very own Via Ferrata, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to do around town.
While some activities are no-brainers and easy to do on your own while in Telluride, there are others that are better with some local expertise. From fly fishing to stand-up paddle boarding, embark on a new adventure with the help of a knowledgable Telluride tour guide.
You’ve seen the pictures – people walking on steel rungs 600 feet over Telluride while clinging on to the mountainside – it almost doesn’t look real. The Via Ferrata, which means “the iron way” in Italian, is generally a 4-6 hour trip and provides unparalleled views of Telluride and the waterfalls that grace Telluride’s east side.
It may look scary, but Telluride’s Via Ferrata is actually accessible for all skills and abilities (with the exception of those who are scared of heights). Experienced climbers guide all ages and experience levels along the trail, which will be completed from east to west.
Mountain Trip offers day trips on the Via Ferrata that include all necessary equipment to scale the mountain, including helmets, harnesses and lanyards. However, those daring to take on the Via Ferrata should always come prepared with rain jackets, comfortable boots or shoes, sunscreen, a hydration pack and of course, your camera!
Four-wheeling gives you access to some of the coolest spots in and around Telluride, but tour guides help eliminate the stress of driving the roads yourself (some of them can be treacherous).
Popular Jeeping trails include Imogene Pass, Yankee Boy, Tomboy Ghost Town, Ophir Pass, Alta Ghost Town, the Alpine Loop and Last Dollar Road. Many of the 4x4 trails require high clearance and experience maneuvering the trails, making 4-wheeling tours the safest (and most relaxing) way to go.
If you’re really feeling brave, Telluride Outside also descends Black Bear Pass, one of Telluride’s notorious off-road passes. The trip starts in Ophir Pass before hitting the one-way Black Bear Pass near the summit of Red Mountain Pass, before continuing through Black Bear Basin (where there are plenty of wildflowers) and back down to Telluride.
There’s fishing, and then there’s fly fishing. Even if you’ve fished at some point in your life, fly fishing, especially in Telluride's beautiful water, is a whole different experience.
Local guides (Telluride Outdoor has been doing fly fishing guided tours since 1984) not only know the hot fishing spots but can also share techniques and local insight. Telluride is home to an abundance of streams perfect for fly fishing, including the San Miguel, Uncompahgre, Gunnison and Dolores Rivers.
Don’t have the equipment? Not to worry. Rentals are available for all fly-fishing equipment, including waders, boots, a fly rod and reel.
While lakes are beautiful to look at, they’re even more fun when you get out on them and explore. With calm waters and no boats in sight, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a great way to experience everything Telluride’s lakes have to offer.
Paddle Boards can be rented at Sol Paddle Boards in Telluride, but SUP tours are also offered for a full experience. Paddle boarders can often be found exploring Alta Lakes, Wild Boy Lake, Priest Lake, Trout Lake, Elk Bond, Down Valley Park and the San Miguel River.
Telluride Outside offers half-day SUP tours that teach baseline paddle boarding skills for all ages at either Trout Lake or Wild Boy Lake. Those venturing on excursions are picked up at their lodging location and provided with all necessary equipment, including paddle boards, wet suits, life jackets, snacks and drinks. All guests are encouraged to bring swim suits, warm top, rain jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a waterproof camera to capture the adventure.