Over the centuries, Telluride’s high-alpine valley has attracted a wild assortment of visitors and inhabitants. Indian chiefs and tribes, Spanish explorers, prospectors, gunslingers, prostitutes, union radicals, hippies, rock and ice climbers, and ski resort boomers have all played a role in Telluride’s history. With carefully preserved Victorian architecture and mountains rich in natural beauty, Telluride is home to a top-ranked ski resort, some of the nation’s most scenic sites — Bridal Veil Falls, the longest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, for example — high-quality outdoor recreation, and a thriving festival schedule — of which Mountainfilm kicks off the summer season over Memorial Day Weekend.
At the heart of the community are two unique towns: Telluride and Mountain Village. Each holds its own charm and the two are connected by a free gondola, the only transportation system of its kind in North America. (Learn more about transportation options around Telluride or gather information for travel to and from Telluride in the How to Mountainfilm section.)
Recreational opportunities abound, and we encourage Mountainfilm visitors to take a break from the theaters and presentations for a hike, bike, climb, ride, paddle or other excursion into the San Juan Mountains.
Uncompahgre National Forest and Lizard Head and Mount Sneffels Wildernesses are recreational havens, and local hiking trails are accessed easily from the streets of both Telluride and Mountain Village. The Telluride Hiking Guide, by longtime local Susan Kees, is a helpful resource and available in the local bookstore.
Mountainfilm friends — such as Charlie Fowler, Lynn Hill, Timmy O’Neill, Alex Honnold and Yvon Chouinard — have climbed here and help put Telluride on the map as a climbing destination. Ask a local climber about the bouldering at Society Turn or the end of the valley. There’s also a man-made climbing boulder open to the public and free of charge in Mountain Village. The east end of Telluride, Ophir and other nearby valleys host established routes, many of which are documented in The Wild Wild West and Telluride Rocks, both co-authored by Charlie Fowler and Damon Jonston and available in the local bookstore.
The free gondola cabins, which run between Mountain Village and Telluride, are outfitted with bike racks in the summer. From the mid-mountain stop at San Sophia Station, access bike trails that head back down to Telluride or Mountain Village, or pedal to the start of other trails from either downtown Telluride or Mountain Village. The region also offers road biking along the scenic San Juan Skyway for riders unafraid of mountain passes with substantial elevation gains.
Depending upon the snowmelt in late May, kayakers and rafters can check out the San Miguel River — which flows through downtown Telluride — the Dolores River, or the famous Black Canyon of the Gunnison River.
For information about other outdoor activities in the region around Telluride, Colorado, visit the Telluride Tourism Board’s website.