5 Reasons To Plan a Summer Vacation to Telluride
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by Jesse Mctigue
The only thing as good as a winter in the Colorado Rockies is a summer - and those spent in Telluride top them all. Summer here is marked by mountain hikes, single-track rides, clear rivers and world-class festivals. Your days begin with the smell of crisp, mountain air and end as the sun casts its last light on the valley's highest peaks, setting them aglow. The value of summer in this historic mining town is pure gold.
THE TOWN & ITS PEOPLE
From the early Ute Indians and pioneering miners to the modern entrepreneurial ski bums, the maverick spirit prevails in Telluride. Nowhere else is the town's eclectic nature more visible than on a summer afternoon on main street. Here, bikes slow traffic; business takes place on the sidewalk; and people stop to say hello. After a week here, your fishing guide will have become your confidante, you'll call the bartenders by their first names and your kids will run wild and free with a posse of locals they met at skate camp.
NEVER DRIVE TAKE THE G
Once you arrive in Telluride, you'll park your car and never use it again. The charming, historic town begs you to walk or ride a supped-up beach cruiser to get around. The G, the free Gondola, runs all summer, climbing from the town and up the ski mountain before descending into the contemporary, amenity-rich Mountain Village. The Village Core transforms into a summer basecamp hosting free sunset concerts, a Farmer's Market, an adventure center for kids, downhill mountain bike trails and, of course, your hot tub and bed.
HIGH MOUNTAIN TRAILS
Even in the small town of Telluride, you'll need a break from the hustle and bustle of main street, and it's easy to find. Just venture a few blocks north or south to any one of the trailheads and you'll find meandering hiking trails, swooping single-track, high-mountain valleys speckled with wildflowers, alpine lakes, and mining ruins - reminders of the hardy spirit of the valley's pioneers. Once you get in the high country, it's pretty much all over, you'll be addicted. And when you return to town or Mountain Village, remember, you're in a mountain town; apres doesn't just apply to ski season.
The snow-fed San Miguel River and Town Park are two symbols of everything good and free about summer. The river acts as a tubing ( or paddle board) run and the park is the perfect place to pack a cooler and spend the day with ball fields, a skateboard park, fishing pond, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, BBQ grills, an outdoor swimming pool and a campground.
Telluride's intimate, historic theaters and high-tech, modern venues showcase world-class musicians all year, but it is summer -anchored by two worldclass film festivals - when the festival scene ignites. The iconic Town Park stage has hosted legendary bluegrass, jazz, blues and rock artists such as Bob Dylan, David Byrne, Jerry Garcia and Widespread Panic. In between the music weekends, the town stays in shape with Telluride Yoga Festival, Weekend of Wellness & Fitness, Telluride 100 Mountain Bike Race and the legendary Imogene Pass Run.
EAT & DRINK AL FRESCO
Every element of summer in Telluride lures you outside and the dining scene is no exception. The restaurants are the same, but added sidewalk and patio seating give your old favorites a fresh feel. Visit the patio at La Marmotte, the balcony at Over the Moon or enjoy the sidewalk seating on main street at The Butcher and the Baker, the Chop House Restaurant at the New Sheridan, the Floradora, Rustico and Telluride Bistro. Head up to the Mountain Village and enjoy jaw dropping views and crisp mountain air on the patio at Altezza, La Piazza, The Village Table or Black Iron Kitchen.
Between popular music and film festivals, grueling mountain running and biking races, free sunset concerts, yoga and fitness festivals, and a bustling farmer's market, it's hard to find an empty day, much less weekend, in Telluride. No matter how you choose to spend a summer day in Telluride, you'll leave with the realization that you have just begun to uncover this old mining town's 21st century gold.