Sitting at 8,750 feet in a tucked away corner of Colorado is the quaint, historic town of Telluride. Once a mining camp in the 1800’s where Butch Cassidy kicked off his famed robbing career, this tiny town still retains some of its cowboy past. Walk down Main street and you can grab a drink at the The New Sheridan, one of the oldest bars in the west dating back to 1895. Of course, when I stopped in, I got my butt whooped at a modern game of foosball, but the cowboy saloon charm still remains.
This was my first visit to Telluride, and I certainly don’t think it will be my last. Everyone we met was so incredibly friendly, the mountain backdrop was stunning, and there was never a lack of things to do. In fact, my to-do list for next time is growing longer by the minute, especially considering I love the summer mountains, and there are plenty of hikes and summer festivals calling my name. But for this wonderful winter getaway, the skiing, dog mushing, gondola-ing, eating, and playing board games by the fire were more than enough to make for a perfect vacation.
A Whirlwind Weekend Itinerary
The first night we arrived late for dinner in the freezing cold (seriously freezing, with my teeth nearly chattering out of my mouth within 2 minutes), but we luckily stumbled upon the warmly lit and romantic Telluride Bistro for a superb glass of wine and yummy Italian fare. Then it was time to cozy up by the fire with live music at our lovely lodge, The Hotel Telluride.
We kicked off the first morning with a Wintermoon Sled Dog sledding adventure. The owners, Mark and Chantal Wood, are THE BEST. If you have even remotely considered going dog mushing before, save your opportunity for Telluride, making sure to book months in advance as they sell out quickly. (We were extremely lucky they had a last minute cancellation.) The trip is very personalized, as they keep it to four people maximum with two sleds. We had eight beautiful Alaskan huskies pulling our hand-made sled, and while most outfitters don’t allow you to pet the dogs in order to keep them as “work dogs”, Wintermoon let us stop up top and play for a good half hour. If you go, make sure you ride standing up on the back of the sled and snuggled inside the sled slide for two very different experiences. Also, a fun fact: Channing Tatum surprised his wife Jenna with a Wintermoon Sled Dog trip last Valentine’s Day. The couple loved the dogs and the owners so much that they sent them pounds and pounds of premium dog food to keep the huskies happy and royally well fed.
After a full morning of dog sledding, we were starving (yeah, I know it was the dogs doing all of the work, not me!). So we meandered through town and gobbled down a delicious meal at The Butcher & The Baker — definitely worth a stop.
Recharged with food in bellies, we then soaked in some history at the Telluride Historical Museum, where we learned about the geological creation of the San Juan Mountains, life during the mining days (complete with prostitution in the red light district), and the birth of the modern day town.
On the way back into town, we passed by the Free Box, a quirky (and awesome!) Telluride tradition of leaving free stuff for others to take.
We spent the rest of the day popping into galleries and stores along Main Street. Then we took the free gondola up to the top of the mountain for sunset drinks and appetizers at Allred’s.
The next morning we woke for a full day of skiing. So we took the free gondola again, but this time took it up and over the mountain to Mountain Village. This side is nice, but it reminds me of Squaw Valley or any other ski town with modern resorts. We much preferred the low-key, historic side where the locals lived.
I’m a newbie skier, so I signed up for a group adult lesson. And by 3:30pm, I had managed to get down double greens with some ease.
After a very full day, we took a pitstop at Allred’s for après-ski, then settled in for a night of jacuzzi and scrabble at our hotel with take-out from Brown Dog Pizza. Topped off with hot chocolate of course. Guess who won?!
On our final day, we woke up to five inches of fresh powder all over the ground. And it just kept on snowing. I couldn’t believe how incredible the transformation was from one day to the next.
So after an elegant but hearty breakfast at The Chop House at The New Sheridan, we took an urban hike to explore the surrounding neighborhoods. Which house would you choose?!
And sigh, sniff, then it was time to drive back to Montrose to catch our plane home to San Francisco. Although the drive was scary in parts (remember the dinky rental car with no chains?? oh, and the non-stop snow that turned into a white-out at one point??), we enjoyed the gems we passed along the way, like this little abandoned cabin.
Telluride, you were fun. We have plenty of restaurants, snow activities, hikes, and general exploring on our to-do-list in your wonderful little town. We’ll be back!