When we were deciding where to escape to for one last summer adventure, Telluride was the obvious choice. Undoubtedly one of our choice snow season spots, the "box canyon" offers an overwhelming amount of summertime activities. Besides the fact that you can literally see waterfalls from their picturesque downtown strip, scenic hikes and biking trails can keep you plenty busy for however long you can manage to stay.
This trip we managed to coincide with the town's annual mushroom festival, which now leans more towards the "hunt and gather" aspect and less on the free-hallucinogens-for-everyone (but we are preeetty sure you can still find that, though). Telluride also manages to celebrate anything and everything all summer long, so there is a good chance you will intersect a festival of some sorts.
If you are crafty with your lodging, you can position yourself to never having to get in your car during your stay. The town gondola takes your back and forth over the hill from downtown to Mountain Village and vice versa. Pup cabins are on deck and easily fit at least one Bernese Mountain Dog and 5 humans. We stayed at the city's town park & campground, which we normally would avoid (google "Camp Jellyrock"...), but this IS Telluride we are talking about and there really is no going wrong. Plus, it is likely the nicest car camping experience you will ever have. $30/night (season restrictions), $3 showers and flush toilets which are cleaned nightly. But a heads up- absolutely no fires in this town! Since the city sits in a bowl, the smoke would wind up sitting over the city and clogging the fresh Colorado air. But, a mere $250k gets you a fireplace permit. Gumball money.
This trip, we explored:
- Prospect Trail (MTB): roughly 9.5 miles and 1100ft of climbing, this trail still kicks your ass and shows you some of the best views. Once you make your way down grab a hot coffee (or cold beer) + bowl of chili from Tomboy Tavern
- Bear Creek Trail to Silver Lake: roughly 2 miles (depending on where you park) and 1650ft of elevation gain, which puts you at about 11,000ft above sea level. You start this hike at the base of Bridal Veil Falls and the power plant and quickly gain elevation through fields of wildflowers and scattered, abandoned mines. The path crosses streams and narrows at times through the lush vegetation. Coming from the Arizona valley, the views are an incredible treat. Raspberry bushes line the trail and there are plenty of shady spots to sit and catch your breath. The risk is well worth the reward once you make it to Silver Lake, so give yourself plenty of time to set up a hammock and fish once you get up there. On the way down you will be able to watch the sun shining through the canyon walls and illuminating the layers of ancient rock. Yeah, Colorado sucks.
Baked in Telluride
We swear these guys don't pay us. Our mornings revolve around this fine establishment's bake case. We also don't go home without at least 3 loaves of their freshly baked bread. Sure, there are other options in town for breakfast, but why bother?
Rent mountain bikes and winter gear, and pick up any forgotten items at Telluride's local ride shop.
Nothing sounds better at the end of a long day outdoors than a fat plate of Pad Thai. You will likely have to wait for a table at this corner spot, so arrive early and start your meal with the Nipple Platter (it never gets old).
Lizard Head Pass
Just outside of Mountain Village lies Lizard Head, a summit just off the highway that offers hiking and mountain biking trails along with a sprawling grassy campground for dispersed camping. We recommend staying the night and snagging a campsite in town first thing in the morning (they fill up quick).
- Pup swamp cooler
That vest our canine comrade Bash is wearing is actually a pretty sweet swamp cooler that keeps the big boy cool on long hikes. Check out Ruff Wear for gear. We picked up one of their "Knot-a-Long" leashes for our girl Riley from local shop Mountain Tails.