If you’re looking for an unpretentious winter destination with great skiing, countless outdoor activities, and a historic-small town vibe, Telluride, Colorado is definitely your place. I’ve been traveling here for years with my family and although there are several other Colorado mountain towns to choose from the exceptional ski terrain, delicious restaurants, and authentic mountain nuances keep drawing us back. If you’re curious about this Colorado gem or need a little travel guidance I’ve compiled all of our favorites over the years into a very extensive city guide—from where to stay, what to do, where to grab a bite to eat or drink and of course what to wear while you’re here. It’s become one of my favorite winter destinations that I look forward to visiting each year and I hope you have the opportunity to experience it too!
Telluride: The actual town of Telluride is only eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long. It lies nestled at the base of the beautiful rocky mountains with historic Victorian style buildings and several locally owned restaurants, galleries, and shops. If you’re less concerned about skiing convenience and seeking a snowy destination with an authentic small-town mountain vibe, the town of Telluride is your best bet.
Mountain Village: Just a 13 minute Gondola ride over the mountain is Telluride’s other half, Mountain Village. This newer mountain area has more of a European-style vibe with several resorts, modern day shops (think Dylan’s Candy Bar) and even has its own ice skating rink. The vibe here is definitely a little more elevated and modern, but if you’re looking for ski-accessibility, want to be close to a spa, or experience a resort-like feeling, staying in Mountain Village is probably best for you.
Montrose Airport (MTJ): Montrose is the closest town to Telluride about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours away depending on the weather conditions. Allegiant, American, Delta and United all offer direct and connecting flights into Montrose Airport from 10 Major US cities.
Telluride Airport (TEX): If you’re connecting from Denver or jet setting by charter or private plane, Telluride Regional Airport is another option located only 6 miles from town.
Rental Car: Rental Cars are not necessary, however they are available at Montrose Airport. Telluride Express offers private and group shuttle services to and from the airport.
Gondola: Telluride’s free Gondola is the #1 form of transportation in town. Open 6:30am-12am it connects Telluride to Mountain Village in just 13 minutes.
Galloping Goose: Telluride’s historic transport bus offers shuttle service throughout town.
VBRO: Out of the multiple times I have travelled here, my family always rents a house or condo in Mountain Village with ski-in/ ski-out accessibility. It’s an extremely convenient option if you’re planning to avidly ski, traveling with family or a larger group, and looking to cook several meals at home.
New Sheridan Hotel: This 26 room luxury boutique hotel is Telluride’s most known historic option. Located right on main street in the heart of the town, the New Sheridan offers cozy rooms with traditional decor and is home to some of the best known restaurants and bars in town. (pictured middle)
Hotel Columbia Telluride: This 21 room hotel is another luxury boutique located in the heart of Telluride, just steps from the Gondola. A stay here includes a complimentary European Breakfast, breathtaking mountain views, and an unbeatable location. *Dog Friendly
Madeline Hotel: This five star Mountain Village resort is one of Telluride’s best ski-in/ski-out, upscale options. The convenient location, studio spa, heated swimming pool, and breathtaking views are just a few of the many reason to consider a stay here. *Pet Friendly
Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge: Although I’ve never stayed here I’ve had very positive experiences with the Fairmont Hotel Group in the past. This resort style hotel brings luxury living to the mountains with complimentary transportation to and from the airport, ski valet, an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, private spa, 24hr concierge and convenient mountainside location.
Ski/ Snowboard: Telluride is most known for its incredible alpine skiing with little to no lift lines. Whether you’re a beginner or professional there’s plenty of runs for all levels with great conditions, varying terrain, and incomparable mountain views. A few recommended runs: See Forever, Sundance, Enchanted Forest, Double Cabin, & Galloping Goose. (More in my Telluride Skiing post).
Snowmobiling: We had a very positive snowmobiling experience with Telluride Outside. They offer half day and full day tours both in the morning and afternoon. Prices start at $175 including door-to-door shuttle service, an extensive excursion through both groomed trails and meadows, incredible service and complimentary snow boots and snowsuits if needed. If you’re up for a full day trip I recommend the tour to nearby Dunton Hot Springs which includes a gourmet lunch and hot springs soak.
Dog-Sledding: Definitely my most memorable Telluride experience, I couldn’t recommend an Alaskan Husky tour with Wintermoon Dog Sled Tours enough. I go into more detail in my Telluride Dogsledding post, but the family-run company and their dogs love what they do, work extremely hard, and offer a unique view of Telluride from start to finish.
Shopping: Both Mountain Village and Telluride offer a variety of shops. If you’re strolling along Main Street be sure to pop into Hook on a Wall, Patagonia, and Cashmere Red.
Heli-Skiing: Helitrax offers heli-skiing and backcountry tours spanning over 200 square miles of Colorado’s finest terrain. A day trip includes six runs totaling 12,000 vertical feet, powder skis, poles, an avalanche transceiver and airbag pack, food and water, followed by an après ski drink.
Ice-Skating: Enjoy ice skating at the Madeline Hotel’s ice rink located in the heart of Mountain Village, free between 12pm-1pm.
Snow Tubing/ Sledding: Slide down Firecracker Hill in Telluride’s Town Park or take Lift 2 up to thrill Hill for another sledding option. Rentals available at Nordic Center.
Snow Shoeing: A unique way to explore Telluride’s unchartered territory. Offered by Telluride Ski Resort, snowshoe guided tours start at $85.
221 South Oak: Just steps from the Gondola in a historic refurbished house, this top chef owned restaurant will deliver one of the best unconventional, fine dining meals of your life… if you can score a reservation!
Alpino Vino: The highest elevation fine dining restaurant in North America for a nighttime 5-course dining experience like no other. Accessible via enclosed snow coach.
Allreds: Telluride’s flagship restaurant with an upscale American menu located at the top of the gondola.
Baked in Telluride: Just off main street in a bright red barn house, this local cafe serves homemade specialties breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Bon Vivant: My absolute favorite restaurant in all of Telluride! The open air atmosphere, 360 degree panoramic views, warm delicious crepes, and bubbly champagne are the perfect combination for a break from skiing. Accessible by skis via lift 5 or 6; open 11am- 3:30pm. (pictured left)
Brown Dog Pizza: A local favorite, often with a 2+ hour wait, but the Detroit style pizza is 100% worth it! (pictured right)
The Butcher and the Baker: One of my favorite cozy-chic cafes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Cosmopolitan: A family favorite that we’ve enjoyed for years. Located just steps from the Gondola, this upscale contemporary restaurant offers a fusion of favorites from surf and turf and salmon to lamb chops and chicken.
Gorrono Ranch: A mid mountain rustic restaurant for burgers, BBQ, and chili while skiing.
High Camp Warming Hut: Located on the mountain at 11,815ft this quaint wooden lodge is a great destination for a quick bite or hot coco while enjoying the slopes. (pictured middle)
Rustico: The best spot in town for upscale Italian cuisine.
Siam Thai: A local favorite for delicious authentic thai food in the town of Telluride. Seats fill up fast so if you can’t score a spot when they open at 5, try its just as good sister restaurant, Siam’s Talay Grille, over in Mountain Village.
New Sheridan Bar: Open since 1895 the New Sheridan hotel bar is the place to be. Known for their bar food and drinks, live music, old school decor, and pool tables in the back room. (pictured middle)
Coffee Cowboy: A permanent airstream coffee car tucked along main street. Through their “pay it forward” program you can leave a cup o’ jo if you’re feeling generous at heart or if you’re in need, redeem a ticket off the board for a refreshing treat! (pictured left)
Ghost Town Coffee: A local hot spot known for it’s coffee, assortment of teas, house-made bites, smoothie bowls and toasts.
The Phoenix Bean: The historic building serves coffees, tea, and assorted bites starting at 6:30am daily.
Telluride Coffee Co: Mountain Village’s local coffee shop.
Starbucks: You know it well- located in the heart of Mountain Village adjacent to the Madeline hotel.Skiing: You’ll need at least one ski jacket and a pair of ski pants, 1 pair of warm wool socks per day, thermal underwear, a pair of leggings on very cold days, a warm lined base layer, a zip up insulated jacket, a neck warmer, a hat or headband, goggles, glove liners, ski gloves, and hand/foot warmers for added warmth. Ski boots, poles, and skis optional— rentals available at Christy Sports or Black Tie Rentals.
Winter Outdoor Activities: The same as above, however an added down jacket may be needed depending on the activity. Warm winter boots like Sorels are necessary. If you won’t be wearing a helmet and goggles a warm beanie or ear warmers will also be needed.
Town: Layer on the wool turtlenecks and stay warm in a hooded parka. Jeans will do, but I recommend adding a pair of thermals underneath. Pack an everyday glove with tech touch and bring a hat, an extra cardigan or jacket, and scarf for a little extra warmth.
Dinners: Heels or dress shoes won’t be necessary, even in nicer restaurants I always wore my Sorels. For casual nights I recommend a soft warm turtleneck with blue jeans, a beanie and scarf then a warm tailored turtleneck and faux fur vest or a cashmere sweater and faux fur headband for a nicer dinner. Most places will have a coat check or designated place to leave your coat at the door.
***TRAVEL TIP: The elevation of Telluride is extremely high. If you aren’t driving or have a history of altitude sickness I highly recommend calling your doctor for a dose of Diamox to take before and during the trip!