Wildlife & Photography
An outdoor adventure in its own right, wildlife and wildflowers draw many visitors to the region year-round. The box canyon provides a breathtaking backdrop for those seeking to capture the area’s beauty through a camera lens. For inspiration, stop into one of the photography galleries in downtown Telluride: A few well-known talents have made Telluride home and showcase their best work locally. You never know, you might learn a few tricks of the trade and find the perfect souvenir.
The greater Telluride region is home to some of the most pristine wilderness areas in the United States. Mountain chickadees and pine siskins dress the woods with their songs, and it’s common to see elk or deer grazing near the highway leading into town, beaver swimming in the streams or marmots scurrying around the rocky hillsides. The most abundant wildlife species in the region are mule deer, elk, marmot, pika, hare, chipmunk, squirrel, porcupine, beaver, and a large variety of birds. While enjoying the outdoors, it's important to remember that we share this land with predators, as well. Mountain lions, coyotes, black bears, bobcats and lynx are commonly found in these parts. Although it is extremely rare for predatory animals to show aggression toward humans, it is important to know how to stay safe during your visit.
The region's varied climate zones provide a wealth of flora for naturalist exploration. From the spectacular wildflower season—typically mid-June to mid-August—to the vast quantities of edible plants in these mountains, researching the regional flora is an exciting adventure. The surrounding mesas and meadows provide the perfect landscape for alpine poppy, wild raspberries and strawberries, fireweed, monkshood, bluebells and columbine—the state flower. For the serious forager, the Telluride Mushroom Festival offers a weekend of festivities celebrating all things fungi in mid-August.
Wildlife Viewing Tips
· Lock the lids on all outdoor garbage containers. Animals that become accustomed to such meals are tagged, and repeat offenders are euthanized.
· Keep all pet food inside and your pet on a leash to avoid conflicts. If your pet is attacked, do not try to intervene.
· Walk with a flashlight or headlamp at night and whistle, sing or talk aloud to alert animals of your presence.
· When hiking with friends and family, stay together. Don’t let small children wander off alone.
· Keep your distance from all wildlife. Don’t frighten or feed them, and stay away from their young. If you encounter an animal, stay calm. Don’t run away or make eye contact. Sudden actions may provoke the animal. Stop and back away slowly. Speak softly while you leave the area. If you are with a group, move away together.
These tips are brought to you by the Telluride Ecology Commission. For more information, visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s website at www.wildlife.state.co.us.
For educational hikes, contact Herb Walker Tours.