Blog by Molly Mickel.
If you’ve never had the experience of visiting Telluride, Colorado you are most certainly missing out on the most unique mountain town in the west. Nestelled right in a stunning box canyon, the town of Telluride feels like it is sitting amongst the towering mountain peaks. From mainstreet, gaze up onto the mountainsides and you’ll see gorgeous waterfalls cascading down the steep rock faces. Valleys of high alpine grasses break up the space between the jagged rocky mountain peaks- the proximity to the mountains is something that you will only find in Telluride. The unique feel and location of this town are huge draws for visitors and locals alike. As an added bonus, Telluride boasts a jam packed array of attractions and activities. As a rafting and jeep tour company we have had plenty of time explore all that Telluride has to offer. Here’s our list of sure- fire, can’t miss favorites.
1. Whitewater Raft the San Miguel River with Mild to Wild Rafting
As a rafting company it may seem biased that rafting the San Miguel makes the top of our list. Take it from anyone in the area though, the San Miguel is one of the most unique one-day raft trips in the US. A high alpine river, the San Miguel relies on snowmelt from the San Juan Mountains and its fast flowing and narrow nature give the San Miguel nearly constant rapids. Consistent class II “splashes” with Class III “wet and fun” rapids mixed in makes it action packed. Wind through narrow red-rock canyons. Look up at the towing pines that line the banks as you navigate the narrow river canyon. If a trip down the San Miguel isn’t enough adventure for you, don’t worry. Telluride has plenty more to offer.
2. Participate in the Festivals and Other Summer Events
Boasting an impressive list of artists and festivals, Telluride has no shortage of entertainment. Telluride’s size doesn’t stop it from hosting some of the most prestigious artists in the world. From intimate and quaint downtown theaters and bars, to stunning outdoor concert venues, Telluride offers unique settings to hear and watch your favorite artists. The venues are part of what makes entertainment in Telluride so unique. With nearly twenty festivals ranging from music to yoga to film, Telluride offers a unique experience for everyone.
3. Explore the Mountains
Visiting Telluride to explore and experience the San Juan Mountains is perhaps one of the most obvious reasons to plan a trip to Telluride. However, for some reason, it is often overlooked by other “Top Reasons to visit Telluride” lists. Telluride has amazing access to the high mountain peaks, providing anyone with a chance to explore them first hand. For an easy adventure, ride the free gondola from town up to the Mountain Village. It whisks you up the mountainside from the town of Telluride directly into the heart of Mountain Village and the Telluride Ski Resort. The views will surely leave you excited for your trip back down! For the more adventurous, drive up to Lizard Head pass. With abundant hiking and high altitude views, you won’t want to leave.
4. Navigate the San Juan Skyway
Chances are good, if you come to Telluride, you’ll stay a couple days. There’s just so much to do. The San Juan Skyway is a 250 mile long stretch of highway that circumnavigates and passes directly through the San Juan Mountains. This drive is important in understanding what makes Telluride so unique. If you have time to complete the entire loop, you will get to travel from through the desert and to the highest mountain passes. With informative stops along the way, you can gain a better understanding of the history and the heritage of Southwest Colorado. Make a stop in Cortez and visit Mesa Verde. In Durango be sure to visit the Durango Silverton Train. If nothing else, you will get drive the most spectacular and scenic roads in Colorado. Even if you don’t have time to complete the entire route during your visit to Telluride, consider including it on your drive in or your drive out of this incredible town.
Whether you try something on this list or not, we are confident that you will find your own reason to fall in love with Telluride. The San Miguel River is what got us. We just keep coming back time and time again to raft this incredible river. With such an abundant array of activities to do in Telluride, chances are good you’ll need more than just a day. Take a moment, book some lodging, and fully immerse yourself in all that Telluride has to offer!