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The Telluride Checklist for Summer Adventurers

Thursday • May 1, 2014

Guest Post by Telluride.com Fan and Partner, Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Trail Tours.  

Telluride is a must-ski, big mountain winter destination. But has your adventurous soul been hikingfly fishing or jeeping in Telluride on a sunny summer afternoon? Tucked snug among the beautiful San Juan Mountains, Telluride is the perfect summer destination for anyone with an adventurous heart, whether you’re a casual hiker or an avid mountaineer. As San Juan Mountain locals and whitewater and adventure experts for over 20 years, we know what we’re talking about! Here are our must-do adventures in Telluride this summer.

Hit the river. Your Telluride visit isn’t complete until you’ve rafted the San Miguel River. A tributary of the Dolores River, the San Miguel River rises in the high alpine streams of the San Juan Mountains southeast of Telluride, and flows northwest, through forested red rock canyons along the southern slope of the Uncompahgre Plateau, joining the slick rock desert and the Dolores River in western Montrose County.  Enjoy summer’s fresh air and cool off from the high noon heat with an exciting rafting trip down the San Miguel. Explore the pristine wilderness and see the contrasting green pines while winding down the narrow twisting waterways. Opt for a popular multi-day camping trip and camp in the isolated wilderness under towering ponderosa pines while listening to the crackling camp fire and the rippling waves.

Take in the mountaintops. Enjoy an afternoon drive to beloved Ophir Pass. From Telluride, drive 8 miles south on Highway 145, then turn left onto a dirt road through the small , historic town of Ophir (the site of the world's first commercial system to generate and transmit alternating current electricity). From the Highway 145 turn off, the top of the pass, is a beautiful, breathtaking 6 mile drive, reaching over 12,700 feet in elevation.

Day trip to ancient wonders. Take a small, group guided tour to Mesa Verde National Park. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, “to preserve the works of man,” Mesa Verde was the first national park of its kind. On a tour, save on car entrance fees, gas and overall vehicle impact on the park’s environment. Visit the renowned Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde and in North America, with over 150 rooms, 21 of which are kivas - we’ll reserve your ticket in advance!

View the valley from above. Ride Telluride’s famous and free Gondola to take in the town from the top! This one–of-a-kind transportation system is the first and only free public transportation of its kind in the United States. At thirteen minutes in length, the gondola lets you take in scenic 365 degree views of the snowcapped peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Forgo the rental car and ride the gondola, as many of the locals use this as a transportation service to get around town.

Enjoy a festival! Summer is a never-ending party in Telluride, and we love it that way! With festivals going on all year long, there’s easily always one to suite the outdoor lover! Celebrate outdoor recreation at the MountainFilm Festival, May 23-27 or fly high at the Telluride Balloon Festival, June 6-8 and the coveted Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 19-22 is always a great outdoor affair! Rejuvenate and relax at the Telluride Yoga Festival, July 10-13, or rock out at one of Telluride’s newest events, The Ride Festival, July 11-13 and an event not to be missed, The San Miguel Basin Fair, July 20-28!