Before you go...
Join Our VIP List! Sign up to get new exclusive homes and listings before anyone else.
Telluride Forbes Global

The cost of living in Telluride, CO

telluride town area

  • Nestled in a box canyon up in the Rocky Mountains, Telluride is one of the most picturesque towns in Colorado. It offers a relaxed lifestyle, a mix of urban and suburban amenities, and beautiful mountain views every day of the week and throughout the year.
  • Telluride is popular among families and young professionals ready to set down roots and enjoy some adventure on the side. There are plenty of employment opportunities in the area as well as amenities, outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and great schools.
  • Eventful is a word that best describes Telluride’s history. Once a home of the Ute Indians, it became a Spanish settlement, and then a Gold Rush outpost. In the 1880s, it became a mining boomtown. People eventually left but Telluride remade itself as a stylish ski town.
  • Telluride is home to over 2,400 residents. Most of them prefer to rent homes in and around the area, while the remainder have their own properties. Visitors come and go often, doubling the size of Telluride’s population during different periods of the year.
  • People move to Telluride because of the abundant natural beauty, excellent schools, the safe environment, and the warmth of the tight-knit community. Furthermore, the cost of living in Telluride is 9.3 percent lower than the national average all while offering outstanding quality of life.

Telluride is a town/ski resort that is regarded as one of the best places to live in the entire state. Nestled within a box canyon, it is one of the most picturesque towns of Colorado. The entire Telluride population is treated 24/7 to beautiful mountain views, a relaxing lifestyle, and a plethora of amenities nearby.

Living in Telluride offers the right balance between fast-paced urban city life and a relaxing suburban atmosphere. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Telluride, CO real estate is highly desirable. The town has become popular with both young professionals and families looking to settle down. Economics-wise, you cannot go wrong here, as the ski resort provides great Telluride jobs and employment opportunities.

Find out in the succeeding paragraphs about the cost of living in Telluride, and the factors that make it such a desirable town to move to.

History and culture of Telluride

For a bit of Telluride history, one only has to visit several historical structures and remnants of mining shacks from its old days as a mining colony, some of which stand to this day.

Telluride has a very colorful past, having been considered home by the Ute Indians until Spanish settlers came in. When the gold rush occurred in Colorado in the late 1850s, it was only around 20 years later when Telluride was included in the fray. The opening of the railroad in 1890 led to the town’s sudden popularity as a mining boomtown. However, with the crash of silver prices and the onset of World War 1, people left Telluride by the droves, bringing it back to Square One.

The 70s saw Telluride reinventing itself as a ski resort town, thanks to California-born entrepreneur Joe Zoline. Soon, the crowds were back in the San Juan mountains of the Telluride resort – and it hasn’t looked back since.

To add to its glamor, Telluride has also placed culture at its forefront with the prestigious Telluride Film Festival. Held annually, this festival features the works of both promising and veteran filmmakers from all over the country.

Lifestyle in Telluride

In Telluride, you have several options: you can either enjoy a calm and relaxing lifestyle or you can commune with Mother Nature in all her spectacular beauty with the range of outdoor activities here. Or you can simply have the best of both worlds!

The town welcomes many tourists and visitors throughout the year who come to ski and to take in some of the breathtaking natural views on offer. Even those who have been living in the area for decades say that they never get tired of the pristine views.

The current Telluride population is pegged at 2,484, but the droves of visitors coming and going may be twice the number of residents here. Still, the town offers a wonderful small-town community vibe that can’t be attained in most cities.

Why move to Telluride, CO

There are a number of key factors that make Telluride such a fantastic town to move to. It is consistently seen as one of the best mountain towns to live and work in.

  • Excellent schools. Telluride is home to some of the best public and private schools in the state of Colorado. There are public schools available for all levels, and the high schools have high participation rates in AP programs.
  • Low crime rates. The welcoming community feel is backed up by safe and secure surroundings in Telluride. In fact, the crime rate here is much lower than the national average.
  • Natural beauty. Telluride is blessed with so much natural beauty, with the unique distinction of being in the midst of towering mountains. The town itself is situated high above other Colorado towns and cities with Telluride’s elevation set at 8,750 feet above sea level. Neighboring town Mountain Village, meanwhile, is at 9,545 feet. Skiing is the primary outdoor activity done here in snowy seasons. When the snow clears, the mountain trails become favorite spots for hiking, biking, and camping. You can even live out your Wild West fantasies on horseback.
  • Closely knit community. The town may be small but the residents are big of heart. They are warm and welcoming to both tourists and new settlers from other towns/cities/states. Most of these residents also came from other areas and moved here to find their sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Cost of living in Telluride

Here are several statistics that will give a general idea of how much living in Telluride will cost:

  • Telluride, Colorado real estate median value: $2,316,000
  • Median rent: $1,349
  • Homeownership among residents:
    • Residents renting homes: 56%
    • Residents owning homes: 44%
  • Cost of living is 9.3% lower than the national average

Most people live comfortable lives due to the salaries they receive from employment here. Moreover, Telluride offers high-quality living standards to compensate for the relatively high cost of living here. Many residents are able to save for the future and the living costs tend to be manageable.

Jobs and salary expectations

Employment opportunities abound in Telluride. This is among the key reasons why it has become a popular location for young professionals seeking stable employment. Here are some facts related to Telluride jobs from

  • The most common jobs in Telluride are in sales and sales-related positions with 249 employees.
  • The highest-paid jobs in Telluride are in business and financial operations occupations with median earnings placed at $100,769.
  • The three most specialized jobs in Telluride are in:
    • Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations;
    • Food preparation and serving-related occupations; and
    • Sales and sales-related occupations.

Things to do around Telluride

There is absolutely nothing boring nor ordinary about Telluride, despite its being a small town. It is filled with a host of attractions activities not just during wintertime but all year round. What’s even better is that most places here are within walking distance only!

Let’s take a look at some of the exciting places and activities worth engaging in Telluride:

  • Go skiing. The Telluride ski resort has 2,000 acres of terrain to suit all levels. There are 18 lifts and 127 runs in total to provide the complete ski resort experience. The town is consistently ranked as one of the best ski resorts in the entire country, and it isn’t surprising to see why.
  • Play around or two of golf. Telluride is also home to a fantastic world-class golf course. The Telluride Ski and Golf Club has an 18-hole par-70 course that provides a unique golf experience from over 9,500 feet above sea level. Not only does it have incredible mountain vistas that serve as a backdrop to your game, but it also has special amenities for members, including a ski valet, restaurant, plaza lounge, clubhouse, and a fully-equipped spa.
  • Explore the outdoors. Telluride offers numerous hiking opportunities and has a wide range of trail systems. When the winter season is over, camping becomes incredibly popular. Aside from hiking, there are opportunities for mountain biking, fly fishing, river sports, rock climbing, paragliding, off-roading, and much more. For a more subdued outdoor experience, you can join the walking tours and learn more about Telluride’s history while breathing in the crisp mountain air.
  • Attend festivals. There is a fantastic variety of festivals held annually throughout the summer months like the Balloon Festival and the Bluegrass Festival. Apart from the summer outdoor concerts, there is also the annual Telluride Film Festival in September where filmmakers showcase their very best works for the year. Expect a red carpet studded with the brightest stars of the American film genre here.
  • Go shopping. Telluride has several interesting retail shops that are exclusive to the area, most of which are situated on Main Street. A good number of these sell outfits and gears for the outdoors, as well as sports and winter accessories. But, of course, it has its share of stores for the latest in fashion or the niftiest home décor items. Art galleries are also in abundance here. The town may be fairly remote, but with the many retail options here, you will never feel isolated.
  • Visit restaurants. You will find a nice mix of fine dining and casual establishments in Telluride that are perfect places for a food trip. You can join the Tasting Telluride Food Tour so you can have a sample of the best food and drinks that this town has to offer. The tour is open throughout the summer, and it is definitely an experience not to miss out on.But if you want to find out where to go for great Telluride eats on your own, here are some of our best recommendations:
    • Brown Dog Pizza
      110 E Colorado AvenueFor the best chicken wings and pizza in town, Brown Dog Pizza has you covered. You have a whole range of options for pizza, including the standard meat-and-cheese toppings, vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free. The restaurant doubles as a sports bar, complete with a number of large-screen TVs featuring the biggest sporting events. It is a popular place so expect it to get busy, but customer service here is always quick.
    • Taco Del Gnar
      123 S Oak StreetWhen you’re in the mood for some tasty authentic Mexican dishes, you can head over to Taco Del Gnar. They have a wide variety of vegetarian options and their creative menu is great for a quick bite. You can enjoy lamb, fish, chicken, veggies, and many other fresh ingredients. The fillings are in generous quantities so you get the most bang for your buck. With so many varieties and flavors to choose from, it won’t be long before you come back for more. This establishment is great for popping in for a quick lunch or for a family outing.
    • Cosmopolitan
      Hotel Columbia, 301 Gus’s WayThe Cosmopolitan is the perfect place to go for the best in contemporary cuisine in Telluride. Its owner, Chef Chad Scothorn, relies on local farms to provide the freshest ingredients for his menu items. Fans of Japanese food will enjoy the excellent range of sushi dishes available in The Cosmopolitan. They also have some incredibly mouth-watering dessert options, and we highly recommend sampling the beignets.
    • New Sheridan Chop House
      New Sheridan Hotel, 233 W Colorado AvenueAlways expect a memorable dining experience whenever you’re in New Sheridan Hotel’s Chop House, the best American steakhouse in town. Voted as #1 in TripAdvisor’s list of fine dining restaurants in Telluride, The Chop House is a great place for intimate dinners or a get-together over food and drinks with family or friends. Highly recommended here is their ribeye bison. Then wash it down with any of their fine US and French wines from their nitrogen wine bar.
    • 221 South Oak
      221 South Oak StreetIf you’re in the mood for some delicious international cuisine, then 221 South Oak has you covered. It is set in a refurbished historic home that provides an Old-World ambiance. Restaurant owner and top chef, Eliza Gavin, brings her culinary expertise to the forefront with dishes like Iberico Pork Chop with Cider Maple Jus and Aged Cheddar Crumble and desserts like Chocolate Trifle with Biscotti Crust and Pomegranate Seeds. They also have an exhaustive list of cocktails, beer, and wines for your heady pleasures.
    • Black Iron Kitchen & Bar
      Madeline Hotel & Residences, 568 Mountain Village Boulevard, Mountain VillageThis seasonal restaurant in neighboring Mountain Village brings a comfortable casual vibe as you dine. It is an American bar and kitchen with a lively atmosphere and a fantastic menu. Aside from a range of fresh and authentic main dishes, there is also a great cocktail menu and plenty of tasty desserts to try. Order the crowd favorite, the Black Iron Pork Chop, or have a taste of the Verlasso Salmon Provencale if you’re more into seafood. This restaurant also sources its ingredients from local farmers to make sure everything is fresh, and the farmers’ agricultural endeavors are sustainable.

Attractions in Telluride

Telluride has its own share of top attractions, some of which you will learn about below:

Bear Creek Falls

One of the best natural attractions in Telluride is the Bear Creek Falls, which is located among rugged cliffs. To get there, you will make a gentle climb up an old mining road decked on both sides by beautiful rolling meadows and cairns that serve as trail markers. At the end of this trail, you get to see the waterfall in all its majestic splendor, as well as the entirety of Telluride.

Bear Creek Falls is worth the trip for a relaxing hike, and it is biker-friendly. The meadows leading to it are also great for picnics and nature selfies.

Mountain Village

Neighboring Mountain Village brings everything you know about Colorado in one quaint yet charming place. Mountain Village is exactly what it is – a mountain village located at a higher altitude than Telluride. It is also another tourist attraction for its beautiful slopes during colder months and nature trails during the summer months. You will love their free gondola rides that will take you to specific points within the area. Elk Pond is a favorite summer destination because of the numerous activities you can engage in from fishing to canoeing. The Village also has many excellent shops, restaurants, and other amenities to provide the urban comforts you may be looking for.

Telluride Historical Museum

To get a better idea of Telluride’s rich history and culture, you can visit this magnificent historical museum and marvel at its vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia from its pre-Spanish settler days to its mining heyday and its more recent history. It has 12 permanent exhibits with various themes, as well as 3D displays that help to bring the museum to life. It is suitable for all ages which makes it great for a family trip; plus, there are specific activities designed for kids.

Jud Wiebe Trail

To go through the Jud Wiebe Trail, you only have to go to the fringes of town to start. This hiking trail starts in North Aspen Street then goes into a loop through aspen tree groves and vast meadows. As you go down this trail, you will be treated to views from as far as Bridal Veil Falls to the valley floor.

San Miguel River Trail

There are plenty of trails to be found in Telluride, and the San Miguel River Trail is another that is not to be missed. It is around 4 miles and is suitable for children. The Box Canyon view in the middle of the hike is spectacular.

The Telluride Brewing Co.

This brewing company is one of the largest microbreweries in the state, and it has received numerous awards for its premium malts and hops. Owners Chris Fish and Tommy Thatcher take pride in their brews that are straight from Rocky Mountain snowmelt. You can come and explore how the brewery works while also learning about its history. You can even take a swig of their beers while you’re at it.

Telluride is certainly no sleepy town despite its diminutive size, and the huge number of tourist movements here is proof of this. If you want to be part of the action firsthand, make sure you choose an experienced real estate team who is knowledgeable about the local area. You can rely on our team’s expertise in finding you the ideal home in Telluride that matches your requirements and budget. To learn more about Telluride real estate call us at 970.729.1577 or send an email to TD(at)TDSmith(dotted)com.