Looking for the ultimate mountain escape? Once you find out the best things to do in Telluride, CO, it’ll be impossible to resist adding this Colorado mountain town to your itinerary. Once a hub of mining activity, Telluride is now celebrated for attractions like its ski resort and its stunning alpine scenery.
Whether you’re hiking mad or just looking for a break from the hustle and bustle, Telluride is paradise on earth. Stand in awe at the foot of waterfalls at Bear Creek Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Be at one with nature and spot vivid blue lakes on the Blue Lakes Trail. Or curl up with a hot chocolate in a cozy saloon and watch the world go by.
Want to make your Colorado trip epic? Start dreaming now with this guide on the best places to visit in Telluride, CO!
Must-see places to visit in Telluride, CO
Telluride Ski Resort
Want to pack some skiing into your Colorado trip? Look no further than Telluride Ski Resort. Nestled in the San Juan mountains, the resort offers over 2,000 acres of terrain for you to explore. Stretching between Telluride and the Mountain Village, the beautiful views are enough of a reason to visit!
Whether you just mastered pizza turns or are racing down black diamonds, there are run for all abilities and skill levels at Telluride Ski Resort. Swerve moguls, cruise through the tree line, or take in panoramic vistas.
Got advanced skiing skills? Tackle Telluride Ski Resort’s thrilling black diamond run. This advanced run starts at the top of the mountain and drops 3,140 feet back to Telluride.
With 300 days of sunshine a year and majestic views of the surrounding 14,000-foot peaks, skiing in this beautiful Colorado mountain resort will be a magical experience!
Telluride Town Park
Telluride Town Park is no ordinary city park; it’s the spot where some of the best memories in the community are made. Laying in the place where Bear Creek meets the San Miguel River, Town Park is a green patch of paradise set in a basin surrounded by the rolling green San Miguel Mountains.
If you’re visiting Town Park in the summer, you might be lucky enough to catch an outdoor festival or concert. If not, while away an afternoon in the pool or play some volleyball.
Ever played frisbee golf? Town Park is the perfect place to try it! Or, for an unforgettable experience, extend your fun and camp overnight; there are picturesque camping spots right by the bubbling stream.
In the winter, the cold doesn’t stop the fun at Town Park. Strap on some skate to slide around on one of two ice rinks and try out some Nordic skiing.
Bear Creek Falls
Hiking at the beautiful 325-acre Bear Creek Preserve, you’ll arrive at Bear Creek Falls. One of the most popular hikes in Telluride, the Bear Creek Trail is achievable for intermediate hikers, clocking in at just 2.3 miles each way.
Venture through a blanket of conifers and catch glimpses of mountain peaks between the trees. As you emerge from the forest, you’ll see colorful meadows and impressive cliff edges.
Eventually, you’ll be able to spot the waterfalls. Bear Creek Falls is crashing jets of white water, tumbling over imposing dark rocks into the turquoise river below.
See how close you can get before the roaring of tumbling water, and the torrential spray gets to be too much. It’s the perfect way to cool off after an afternoon hike!
Telluride Historical Museum
Telluride has a fascinating mining history. Explore it all in the Telluride Historical Museum. Set in a restored miners’ hospital from 1896, the history museum has ten different rooms reflecting upon Telluride’s heritage.
Telluride Historical Museum is in a fitting location. The adorable red building is perched on the mountainside and looks like it belongs to a different era. Throw yourself into the cultures of the Ute and settlers with 3D and interactive displays. Kids can try their hands at mining and search for lost gems.
Telluride oversaw the growth of ski culture and the transformation of transport systems. Discover the constant innovations the town made to survive at a high altitude and in the face of dramatic events in 360 degrees in the rotating gallery.
Bridal Veil Falls
Take a trip to the largest freefalling waterfalls in Colorado. Bridal Veil Falls towers over Telluride at 365 feet. The waterfalls are accessible for most hikers, with an easy trail for beginners and a more difficult one for advanced hikers.
You’ll spot various other waterfalls on the way but persevere until the end for the shining star. The impressive Bridal Veil Falls pour over a sharp cliff edge, making for dramatic scenery.
At the top of the cliff is a traditional white building housing a hydroelectric power station. Hike there, take a mountain bike, or be brave and try some off-road driving. Make sure you take some hiking boots along as the route can get slippery.
Kroger Via Ferrata
Get your adrenaline pumping by climbing Kroger Via Ferrata. Chuck Kroger started building it illegally in 2006 but never got to live to see it completed. This bold achievement involved scaling sheer cliff faces and using his ironwork skills to drill the rungs in place. His dying wish was to make the traverse safe enough for his wife.
Hanging on the intimidating cliff edge overlooking the endless valley below is enough to make anyone feel humbled. Spot Bridal Veil Falls in the distance as you make your ascent through Kroger Via Ferrata.
You don’t need a lot of technical climbing skills to complete the route, just enough nerve to venture across the dizzying heights!
Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail
Looking for a short hike to help you acclimatize? Take on the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail. This steep but moderate-difficulty hike is a 3.2-mile loop. It was named after the influential forest ranger Jud Wiebe for his efforts to improve the hiking trails around Telluride.
The ascent on the first mile of Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail can be challenging, but there are plenty of pretty spots to stop for a break. Trek wide tracks lined with pine and spruce trees, then wander the panoramic meadows.
Enjoy sweeping views of the valley below, including the town, the ski slopes, and of course, the immense mountain peaks.
Sample the eerie atmosphere of Alta, Colorado. This small ghost town was once home to around 100 people. It was a hub of mining activity between 1877-1948 but is now an abandoned place attracting curious visitors.
Take the short 2-mile hike to Alta, and you’ll arrive in a bygone time. The area feels remote, but many of the original buildings have survived. Explore the old log cabins, gaze out the window at the mountain backdrops, and imagine the lives of the people that lived here.
Visit Alta, Colorado, in the fall to see the Aspen trees changing from green to gold. Make sure to continue your hike onto Alta Lakes, to dazzle at the incredible lakeside spectacles.
Michael D. Palm Theatre
Catch a show on your Telluride trip at the Michael D. Palm Theatre. The 30,000-square-foot theater has premium facilities, including a full fly house and harlequin dance floor. It was opened in 2004 to enhance the culture of the Telluride community.
Check out a range of shows coming up at Michael D. Palm Theatre. From classical music and opera to dance shows and circus acts, to Broadway shows, there’s a show to suit a different taste every night of the week.
On your visit, take a moment to appreciate the theater’s namesake Michael D. Palm, a successful musician who fought bravely for gay rights in America.
Want to get more out of your Telluride adventure? Ask Telluride Outside. The outfitter is the most experienced guide service in the area, offering a range of action-packed outdoor activities and sightseeing.
With Telluride outside, you can take part in classic Colorado pursuits, explore vast landscapes on a mountain bike or 4-WD, race down rivers with some white-water rafting, or try out snowmobiling. If you’re looking for gentler activities, they offer beautiful photography tours of the surrounding area.
Telluride is an excellent place for fly fishing, with some of the best trout streams in the Rockies. Choose from scenic lakes, ponds, and creeks to make your catch of the day.
Telluride Outside also has a fly shop where you can pick up equipment, rentals, and licenses to make your day a success.
Near the ghost town of Alta, Colorado is a series of beautiful small lakes: Alta Lakes. This top Telluride attraction is nestled in the Uncompahgre National Forest at 11,300 feet. There aren’t any facilities here apart from a few toilets, making for a wonderful, untouched setting.
Vivid lagoons of blue sit within a sea of forest. Take in spectacular views of the Bald and Silver Mountains. Alta Lakes is the perfect place for a picnic, to wander the surrounding trails, or to sit and watch the sunset. Go fishing, or bring your own kayak and glide across the water.
If you want to extend your day, several camping sites are spread throughout the area. Or you could splurge and stay at The Observatory, a luxury mountain lodge that’s the perfect alpine getaway.
Blue Lakes Trail
Looking for an easy hike with stunning views? Explore Mount Sneffels Wilderness on the Blue Lakes Trail. If you’re short on time, the hike is normally completed within 30 minutes or less. The route only has an elevation gain of 10,50 feet, so is ideal if you’re struggling to adjust to the altitude.
The stunning Blue Lakes Trail weaves you around turquoise water, through colorful meadows, and across gaping valleys. Keep an eye out for curious mountain goats and moose.
There are three separate lakes to discover on Blue Lakes Trail, surrounded by alpine trees and granite peaks. Chill out lakeside or hike up to the top for an outstanding bird’s eye view.
Box Canyon Falls Park
Haven’t had enough waterfall action? Take a trip to Box Canyon Falls Park. The park is set in Ouray, also known as the “Switzerland of America” for its skiing, hot springs, and remote mountain setting. Box Canyon Falls Park is just over a one-hour drive from Telluride, so is easily doable as a day trip.
Descend the steps of the suspension bridge into a dark canyon. Here you’ll find Canyon Creek crashing into the pool below. The 85-foot waterfall gushes thousands of gallons a minute, creating a spectacular sight. The surrounding rocks amplify the sounds of roaring water, and the cool spray will give you a good misting to cool off from your hike.
Cascade Falls Park
If you’re already in Ouray, you might as well see some more waterfalls. Cascade Falls Park is a 22-hectare park that is an easy walk from downtown Ouray. It is rated as one of the best waterfall hikes in the Rockies.
There are seven different waterfalls to find in Cascade Falls Park, with the main attraction being Upper Cascade Falls. This towering jet of water flows out of the cliff face and falls 30m into the green foliage and pool below. Cross the suspension bridge across Cascade Creek for the best view. Explore meandering creeks and tranquil pools along the way. There is some lovely wildlife along this route. See if you can spot a chipmunk in the bushes.
Smuggler-Union Brewery & Restaurant
After all that hiking, you’ll have earned a feast. Stop in at Smuggler-Union Brewery & Restaurant for some rustic comfort food. It’s just two blocks from the gondola, so is a tempting stop on your way home. With a farm-to-table attitude and a great selection of craft beers, you’ll leave this popular Telluride restaurant feeling warm and rested.
The airy barn-style building with exposed wooden beams serves up effortless mountain chic. Smuggler-Union Brewery & Restaurant is the perfect place to curl up and debrief on the day’s adventures. Devour tender burgers and crispy tacos, and wash it all down with a homemade ginger beer!
The Coffee Cowboy
Need a caffeine fix to kick-start your day in the wilderness? Grab a coffee from The Coffee Cowboy. Right by the gondola, this quirky food truck serves up the best coffee in town. It was once a horse trailer, but for the last 27 years has thrived as a busy coffee cart.
The seating area is lined with trees, fairy lights, and bunting. The Coffee Cowboy is a cute meeting area for a morning pick-me-up or afternoon catch-up.
Along with barista classics, you can try new creations such as the Butch Cassidy, a mocha with Irish cream syrup. If you don’t like coffee, why not order a sparkling tea or a refreshing fruit smoothie?
With so many exciting things to do in Telluride, you’ll need some well-deserved R&R. The Floradora Saloon is the ideal spot to relax after a trip packed with action. This family-owned restaurant sits in the heart of Telluride. They offer cozy décor, locally sourced food, and a vintage-style bar.
In the warmer months, the tables at Floradora Saloon spill out into the street. Sit under an umbrella and watch the world go by while you sample their summer brunch menu. On offer are chilaquiles, breakfast poutine, and a classic American breakfast.
Hide away in one of the wooden booths and bond over your favorite memories from your trip. Feast on locally caught fish and burgers made from grass-fed beef. The parmesan truffle fries are a favorite here!