Few places rival Telluride’s reputation for luxury and hospitality. From Swiss Chalet-inspired homes to world-class skiing, it is a travel destination like no other. But it is also one of the most desirable places to live in Colorado, with excellent schools, diverse housing options, and a permanent population of just over 2,400. Continue reading for more information on Telluride lodges and attractions.
Table of contents
- Overview of Telluride
- About tourism in Telluride
- About accommodations in Telluride
Overview of Telluride
Telluride area description
Located in the southwestern portion of Colorado, Telluride is best known as a resort town with luxury hotels and a vibrant nightlife. The town is nestled in a narrow canyon with snowy mountain peaks. The scenic mountain setting and cold and temperate climate make it ideal for winter activities like skiing, ice climbing, and fly fishing. But the town is a year-round destination that is just as fascinating in the summer and fall seasons.
Lastly, Telluride is a viable place to live. Vacationers come and go, but the town’s permanent residents keep the home fires burning year-round. Buyers will find a fantastic selection of single-family homes and condos across a wide price range.
The area now known as Telluride was home to the Ute peoples who resided in the Valley Floor before signing a treaty with the U.S. Government in 1873. Previously known as Columbia, the city was founded in 1878. It was a prosperous mining town with the gold rush starting in 1875. The influx of prospectors and miners helped local businesses flourish. The completion of the railroad in 1890 only accelerated the town’s growth.
The 1893 Silver Crisis slowed Telluride’s mining industry. Despite the demand for lead and zinc during World War I and mining advances in the 1950s and 1970s, the industry went into decline. Telluride, which incorporated as a city, would see a resurgence with the opening of the Telluride Ski Area in 1972. Today, the city is known for world-class skiing and luxury resorts.
Telluride is known for having a cool and temperate climate. With comfortable summers and long, snowy winters, it is a year-round travel destination. It gets an average of 162.7 inches of snowfall per year, making it ideal for winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. It also gets 25 to 35 inches of rainfall each year compared to the national average of 38 inches of rainfall.
What Telluride is known for
Telluride reinvented itself as a luxury ski town in the 1970s and it is still known for winter activities today. The city is renowned for the Telluride Ski Resort in Mountain Village, which conjures images of icy mountain peaks and scenic gondola rides. It is also known for the Town of Telluride, which is the city’s original core and is designated as a National Historic Landmark District.
Other landmarks include the New Sheridan Hotel, which opened in 1895 and still serves drinks in their original bar. Downtown Telluride, also called Main Street, is lined with bars, cafes, and restaurants. The city has a vibrant nightlife for residents and visitors alike. Visitors can choose from a fine selection of Telluride lodges to make their stay more memorable.
About tourism in Telluride
The best time to visit
Peak season starts mid-June through to August and starts picking up again mid-November to early April. The summer and winter seasons are the best times to visit Telluride for those who want to enjoy popular activities like hiking and skiing. The city’s festivals also take place in these months. These months come with bigger crowds and higher rental rates, but they allow visitors to experience the best that the city has to offer.
Many businesses close shop in the off-season. However, it’s still an excellent time to visit for travelers who want to avoid large crowds. Visiting in the off-season puts guests in a more reflective mood and allows them to enjoy Telluride’s beautiful scenery minus the large crowds. Room rates at Telluride lodges also tend to be lower during this time.
Popular outdoor activities
Depending on the season, here are some of the most popular outdoor activities in Telluride:
- Horseback riding
- Fly fishing
Top Telluride attractions
There’s never a dull moment in Telluride, which is filled with attractions and recreational facilities. Some of the most popular attractions in the area include:
Telluride Ski Resort. This renowned resort constantly ranks among the world’s top travel destinations. It offers over 2,000 acres of scenic and skiable terrain. This includes multiple terrain parks, open bowls, groomed blues, beginner runs, and gladed tree skiing. Skiers of all levels will find a facility to suit their needs, whether it’s beginner-friendly runs near Prospect Bowl Express or the extreme terrain of Bald Mountain. The longest run is Galloping Goose, which stretches for 5.5 miles.
San Miguel River Trail. Those looking for an easy hike can explore this dog-friendly trail, which is open year-round and is accessible via many Telluride side streets. It follows the length of the San Miguel River, offering gorgeous views of the water.
Alta Lakes. Located six miles from Telluride, Alta Lakes Road offers nordic ski and snowmobile access in the wintertime. This beautiful trail provides stunning views of the surrounding wooded area.
San Sophia Overlook. For a more laid-back activity, guests can head on over to Sophia Overlook, which commands breathtaking views of spruce trees and mountain peaks. The overlook is located near the San Sophia Gondola Station, just off Lift 7. Visitors will find a path leading to the Nature Center and the overlook upon alighting the Gondola station.
San Sophia Overlook is also a popular wedding destination. There is a grass amphitheater with natural landscaping and wooden deck at the tip of the ridge that can accommodate up to 200 guests.
Mountain Village. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains, this alpine community offers beautiful scenery and a luxury resort atmosphere. Tucked away in Uncompahgre National Forest, it has an idyllic and unpretentious atmosphere that seasoned travelers will appreciate. It is home to Telluride Ski Resort and is connected to the Town of Telluride via gondola service.
Telluride Town Park. This winter wonderland features a sledding hill, Nordic ski track, and indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks. It also has ball courts, sports fields, and a frisbee golf course. The Imagination Station Playground is another highlight, where children can let their imaginations run wild as they engage with play structures. In the summer, the park is a popular venue for music festivals and camping.
Downtown Telluride. The downtown area is filled with independently-owned shops and cozy cafes and restaurants. Enjoy some coffee and pastries at The Alpine Cafe or book a table at Allred’s. The downtown area also offers an excellent selection of stores selling apparel, jewelry, and ski gear.
Telluride Historic Downtown District. This stretch of road encompasses most of the original mining town and features Victorian architecture and stunning views of the icy peaks in the distance. It spans about 80 acres in Downtown Telluride and nearby residential pockets.
Telluride Arts District. Telluride is home to a thriving art community. The arts district is one of the best places to discover their works, with galleries and creative studios open to the public during the Telluride Art Walk. Other highlights include the Telluride Historical Museum and Telluride Theater.
Annual festivals and events
Telluride hosts these festivals and community events each year:
- Telluride Bluegrass Festival
- Telluride Fire Festival
- Telluride Jazz Festival
- Telluride Blues & Brews Festival
- Telluride Balloon Festival
- Telluride Arts Holiday Bazaar
- Telluride Theater Holiday Show
About accommodation in Telluride
Overview of accommodation options
The city offers different types of accommodations to suit each taste. Some of the most common accommodations available in Telluride include:
- Hotels – Guests can choose from a fine selection of luxury and mid-range hotels all over town. Hotels tend to be large buildings with individual rooms and suites spread across several floors. They also provide staff and concierge services to attend to guests’ needs.
The best hotels have on-site amenities and are located close to the gondola stations and local attractions. Although the location is often convenient for travelers, it also means that these hotels are situated in high-traffic areas where the majority of tourists come and go.
Staying at a hotel is an experience in itself. Guests will often have access to a range of services, such as massages, facial treatments, fitness classes, and more. The concierge may also offer to organize tours and trips in and around the area.
- Motels – The word “motel” is short for motorists’ hotel. These establishments originally catered to travelers who were in-between stops and who needed a place to stay in the short-term. Motels are typically located near major roads and highways, offering a place to stay for the night with guests resuming their trip the next day.
However, motels in the modern sense of the word can refer to any accomodation that is smaller than a typical hotel, and with fewer amenities or specialized services. Most motels will offer parking and have an outdoor pool.
- Inns – Generally speaking, inns tend to be smaller than hotels. They also have fewer, if any, on-site amenities. This accommodation type usually offers a more intimate, though no less comfortable, experience than larger, star-rated hotels. Like motels, inns are typically meant for short-term visits.
- Lodges – Telluride lodges often have a rustic charm that modern hotels simply do not have. These lodges come with features and amenities for a comfortable stay. They offer more privacy and solitude as they are situated in a quieter and more exclusive part of town.
Tips for choosing the right lodge in Telluride
Why visitors should choose lodges as their vacation home
Vacationers should consider staying in a lodge as it offers a more authentic experience. Telluride lodges reflect the simplicity and rustic character of the town. They also provide a home-like environment where guests can feel comfortable and enjoy more privacy than a large hotel. Lodges have a more lived-in feel, giving travelers the opportunity to experience daily life in the area. It allows them to get a better feel for the culture and the pace of life in Telluride.
Moreover, lodges are no less luxurious than hotels. Telluride offers a fine selection of well-appointed lodges. These lodges are often situated in a more quiet and picturesque section of town, amidst the spruce trees and icy slopes for which Telluride is known. This allows guests to truly experience Telluride’s unique mountainside setting.
Transport is not an issue, not even for the more secluded properties in town, since a free gondola service connects the Town of Telluride with Mountain Village. This makes it easier for guests to get from one part of town to the next. The gondola service also offers a scenic commute with views of spruce tree tops and the surrounding mountains.
Lodges are ideal for both short and long-term visits. No matter the guest’s itinerary, Telluride lodges allow for a luxurious and unhurried stay in which visitors can feel at home. These properties come with all kinds of amenities, including mud rooms for used ski gear, gourmet kitchens, observation decks, and spacious living areas with stone fireplaces. Many of these lodges also have slope-side access for those who want to experience world-class skiing in Telluride. Some lodges are just minutes away from scenic hiking and biking spots.
There is also a lot of variety among lodges in town. From Swiss chalet-style cabins to contemporary vacation homes, guests can choose the one that feels most appropriate for their needs and lifestyle.
Things to know when choosing accommodations at Telluride
With so many accommodation types available, it can be difficult to choose the right one. Here’s what visitors should keep in mind when looking for the best accomodation:
- Where is it located?
Location will be one of your main considerations when booking accommodations. While it is convenient to stay near major attractions, main roads, and gondola stations, these areas also tend to be busier and more crowded, especially during peak season.
Going off the beaten path, on the other hand, allows for more peace and privacy during your stay. This will also encourage you to look beyond Telluride’s more popular attractions in search of hidden gems and lesser known places that are just as rewarding to visit. It’s possible to find Telluride lodges with slope-side access for those who want to ski during their trip.
- What amenities do you need?
Traveling doesn’t mean having to give up creature comforts and luxuries that make life more enjoyable. Whether you need high-speed wifi for answering emails, a gym for your regular workouts, or spa treatments to unwind, make a list of amenities and services that you will require for your stay. Match those requirements with the accommodation of your choice for a stress-free vacation.
- Would you be comfortable using shared amenities?
Large hotels typically have a wide range of amenities like swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, and more. But these amenities are shared with other travelers and can be quite crowded, especially during peak season. Would you be comfortable using shared amenities at a hotel, or would you prefer a lodge with private amenities?
- When are you visiting?
Depending on the timing of your visit, you’ll want to consider the crowds when booking your accommodations. Naturally, occupancy rates are higher during peak season. There will be more guests staying at the hotels and using the same amenities. Telluride lodges may be fully booked, but you’ll have more privacy on the property. Either way, it’s always advisable to make reservations ahead of time.
- Are you traveling with children?
You’ll have special considerations when traveling with babies and toddlers. You’ll want to choose an accommodation that makes it easier to look after them. Changing stations, high chairs, and fenced entrances and exits are just some of the features to look out for. It is also more ideal to choose a quiet and secluded lodge for rambunctious children who may disturb other vacationers. The same goes for babies who are more delicate and who may have difficulty sleeping with noise from other guests.
- Do you need pet-friendly accommodation?
If you’re traveling with pets, you’ll need to find an establishment that is willing to take them in. Telluride lodges offer enough space for pets to roam without disrupting other holidaymakers. It also offers security, with gated properties preventing pets from going astray.
- Are you traveling with a small group?
Lodges are perfect for small groups. They create an intimate and comfortable setting for friends and family. This intimate setting allows for a warm and familiar atmosphere that is more conducive for relaxation.
If you have your heart set on a luxury lodge, contact me, Thomas Smith, at 970.729.1577 or TD(at)TDSmith(dotted)com. With 48 years of experience in luxury lodges, I make it easier for clients to find a vacation property that suits their needs. I have “mountains of experience” in high-end residential real estate. I can’t wait to share my knowledge on Telluride and its fantastic attractions with you.