Going to Telluride? Check our top 10 list of things to do in this charming Colorado town
Mar 12, 2021

Tom Watkinson blasts down a slope at Telluride Ski Resort on March 3, 2021. Pam LeBlanc photo

In the last 10 years, I’ve made it to Telluride, Colorado, tucked tight in the end of the prettiest box canyon in the state, at least six times. I always leave exhausted – days of downhill skiing, climbing frozen waterfalls, riding fat-tire bikes through the snow, zooming around on snowmobiles, and inching across a cabled climbing route called a via ferrata will do that.

Thinking about a trip? Here are my recommendations for things to do on your next visit to this classic ski town on the southwestern side of the state. (I’ve got a whole different list for summer.)

Skiers must wear a mask in lift line at Telluride Ski Resort. Pam LeBlanc photo

The slopes. This one’s obvious, but it’s all about the skiing here. The resort spans more than 2,000 acres, with 19 lifts whisking skiers up those scenic peaks. The longest run stretches 4.6 miles, and from See Forever Run you can, well, see forever. Masks are required in lift lines.

At the end of the ski day, grab a margarita (yes, I live in Texas and I just said that) at Gorrono Ranch on the mountain. Because of Covid, the resort has built a terraced outdoor patio out of snow, and it’s a perfect place to listen to live music and celebrate a day of conquering those black diamond runs. Take a peek inside the log cabin, once a sheep herder’s home and now a cozy bar warmed by a pot-bellied stove.

Ride the free gondola for this spectacular view of town. Pam LeBlanc photo

The gondola. Visitors can stay in the original town of Telluride, on the valley floor, or book a room in Mountain Village. Either way, it’s a free 15-minute gondola ride from one place to the other, and the night view of town lights sparkling far below alone are worth the trip.

Grab an old fashioned (or a bottle of bourbon) at the Telluride Distilling Company’s tasting room in Mountain Village. They make and sell their own vodka, schnapps and whiskey.

Tom Watkinson leans on a snowmobile after riding up to the ghost town of Alta. Pam LeBlanc photo

Ride a snowmobile to the ghost town of Alta at 11,800 feet, home of a couple hundred miners during the heyday of the Alta-Gold King area in the late 1800s. The old boarding house still stands. Telluride Outfitters offers toursPlan on dinner at There, a multi-course event that changes according to the chef’s whim. During my visit last week, the lineup included andouille mussels, tuna niçoise, wagyu beef tartar, roasted duck, seared lamb loin and Nutella semifreddo, a kind of frozen mousse. Yum.

A 15-foot bear made with 187,000 pennies waves from East Colorado Avenue in Telluride. Pam LeBlanc photo

Stroll down East Colorado Avenue to get a glimpse of Ursa Ravus, a 15-foot sculpture of a waving bear made of 187,000 pennies.

The Luminaire with Inspirato in Mountain Village provided a basket of groceries so Pam could cook breakfast in her room. Pam LeBlanc photo

Book a room at Lumiere with Inspirato in Mountain Village. I love the historic old New Sheridan Hotel and Hotel Telluride in town, but this trip I discovered a sweet new place to catch my Zs – the Lumiere with Inspirato in Mountain Village. It’s posh – my room had a kitchenette (and a basket full of bacon, eggs, fresh baked bread and fruit so I could cook breakfast in), a sitting area, balcony, giant cushy bed and access to an outdoor hot tub and a ski valet. Did I mention it’s ski in-ski out?

Drop by the StrongHouse, even if you don’t feel like partaking in one of its fresh house brews (I like the honey ginger blonde ale). The brewery occupies a cool old stone building that dates to 1892 – and some pretty neat old photographs showing its early days.

One more restaurant recommendation – 221 South Oak, which this winter is offering a wine and pairing class that includes a box of ingredients to make a three-course pasta meal for two, plus three half bottles of wine, for just $100. It comes with an instructional (and fun!) video of how to cook it, starring my pal Tom Watkinson. Or just drop by for a meal in the heated yurt out back. The service is excellent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Austin Travels


Austin Travels is a women-owned, Austin-based travel magazine committed to highlighting destinations in Texas and beyond through the lenses of diverse and talented writers.

Subscribe

@austintravelsmag

More Stories

Discoveries down under: A new way to cave at Natural Bridge Caverns

Discoveries down under: A new way to cave at Natural Bridge Caverns

A rare retreat to mountainside luxury at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

A rare retreat to mountainside luxury at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

Scalloping, saltwater springs and seashell strolls on Florida’s Sports Coast

Scalloping, saltwater springs and seashell strolls on Florida’s Sports Coast

Eight beginner-friendly places to paddle in Central Texas

Eight beginner-friendly places to paddle in Central Texas

Treasuring time in the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic National Park

Treasuring time in the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic National Park

The Green O: Mother Nature’s Posh Playground

The Green O: Mother Nature’s Posh Playground

Explore the great outdoors in little Castell, Texas

Explore the great outdoors in little Castell, Texas

Fishing, golf and more in the Santee region of South Carolina

Fishing, golf and more in the Santee region of South Carolina

Getting back to nature at the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary

Getting back to nature at the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary

Six places to park your campervan in Texas this Spring

Six places to park your campervan in Texas this Spring

Private Paradise: Diving into French Polynesia’s Dreamy Manihi

Private Paradise: Diving into French Polynesia’s Dreamy Manihi

Last Call: Cat Skiing at Colorado’s Keystone Resort

Last Call: Cat Skiing at Colorado’s Keystone Resort

Secret Sundance: Uncovering the unexpected in Heber Valley, Utah

Secret Sundance: Uncovering the unexpected in Heber Valley, Utah

Diving into French Polynesia

Diving into French Polynesia

Hiking and Swinging through French Polynesian Paradise

Hiking and Swinging through French Polynesian Paradise

A rare glimpse at pearl farming in Tahiti

A rare glimpse at pearl farming in Tahiti

Squeezing in every snowy moment at Solitude Mountain Resort

Squeezing in every snowy moment at Solitude Mountain Resort

A river adventure to reset your life: Rafting the Grand Canyon

A river adventure to reset your life: Rafting the Grand Canyon

Fishing up old memories and making new ones at Inks Lake State Park

Fishing up old memories and making new ones at Inks Lake State Park

Discover the diversity of LBJ National Grasslands

Discover the diversity of LBJ National Grasslands

Here’s what’s new at resorts for the 2021-22 ski season

Here’s what’s new at resorts for the 2021-22 ski season

A guide to the best kettle ponds on Cape Cod

A guide to the best kettle ponds on Cape Cod

Central Texas Camping Guide

Central Texas Camping Guide

A fall paddle down the Devils

A fall paddle down the Devils

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

Women, wind and waves: Surfing for adventure

Women, wind and waves: Surfing for adventure

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

Discovering hints of home in Red River

Discovering hints of home in Red River

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

Becoming a birder at Galveston’s FeatherFest

Becoming a birder at Galveston’s FeatherFest

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

Seminole Canyon’s world-class rock art is a lens to history

Seminole Canyon’s world-class rock art is a lens to history

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

Plan Your Outdoorsy Adventure

Plan Your Outdoorsy Adventure

Discover history and simple pleasures in Baffin Bay

Discover history and simple pleasures in Baffin Bay

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic

Go to Red Mountain for $10 cat skiing, a barrel-shaped sauna and zero crowds

Go to Red Mountain for $10 cat skiing, a barrel-shaped sauna and zero crowds