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Telluride, Colorado Travel Guide

Telluride Summary


  • Beautiful views of the rocky mountains
  • No car needed if staying in town of Telluride
  • Varying terrain on the mountain -- some for beginners, but much for advanced
  • Lots of sunshine
  • Not nearly as snooty as Vail, Aspen, or Breckenridge
  • A few decent dining options
  • Less crowded than other Colorado resort towns
  • Affordable alternative to high-end, expensive resort towns in northern Colorado


  • Lack of nightlife and restaurant scene
  • Mountain can be too challenging for beginners
  • Airport inconvenience -- doesn't offer many national flights
  • Mountain can lack natural snow

What It's Like

A little town with quite a history, Telluride is the place where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank back in 1889. It started off as a mining town called “Columbia,” but was renamed in the late 1800s. The origin behind the name is still up for debate, though. Some believe it derives from tellurium, a metallic that commonly has gold in it, and some think it means “to hell you ride,” considering the town’s unruly history.

Today, the area has some great skiing, mountain biking, and festivals, and offers more of a typical Wild West mountain village vibe than the (say some) pretentious towns of Aspen or Vail. In fact, Southwest Colorado, as a whole, is much more laid-back and casual than its ritzy counterparts.

Although the area might lack stunning, high-class resorts and restaurants, the fabulous mountain views are still there. You just might have to look at them through a humble inn window on a slow-paced street rather than through a treated window in a 5-star hotel with heated sidewalks out front.

Where To Stay

Although most of the area's entertainment (including restaurants and bars) can be found in the town of Telluride, Mountain Village also has a decent number of options. For travelers that want to be close to the airport, the western portion of Mountain Village (near Highway 145) may be decent option. Visitors that seek a romantic, secluded stay may want to check out Ouray, a small town about an hour northeast of the town of Telluride.

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