Telluride, famously known for its world-class skiing, is also a great option for a weekend or weeklong trip during the mid to late summer months. Situated in the western San Juan Mountains of the Rocky Mountain Range, Telluride’s natural, mountainous backdrop is both picturesque and chock-full of outdoor activities.
Activities and Amenities
Visit Telluride, the official Telluride tourism group (www.visittelluride.com), paints a picture for the small Coloradan town that many have previously only associated as a winter destination. They list several popular activities including hiking, camping, fly fishing, river sports (ex. kayaking), 4×4 off-roading, golfing, rock climbing, running, picnicking and paragliding.
Telluride’s unique location, climate and history also make it a favorite gathering spot for festivals, with the town welcoming thousands of visitors from across the world. Many of the festivals are long-standing, with some held 30-plus years. These events range from art, food, music and include the Bluegrass Festival, Jazz Festival, Mushroom Festival, Telluride Film Festival and many more.
Foremost an outdoor recreation and events city, Telluride has a permanent vibrant arts and culture scene, predominately within the Telluride Arts District. This area is home to more than a dozen theatres, galleries and even a school for the arts where people can learn to hone their art-related talents.
The downtown area is home to a vibrant food and drink scene. Many of Telluride’s restaurants are highly rated, with some of the country’s top chefs calling the area home. The eateries are so acclaimed that Conde Nest readers ranked Telluride as a “Top 20 American Town for Foodies” and Fodor ranked it in their Top 10. Just about all fares are offered from Middle Eastern, Italian, Mexican and French cuisines. While most restaurants within the town are open year-round, it is important to note that some may be closed during the off-season.
Visit Telluride also notes that Telluride is “a town known for playing hard, and that doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.” The city’s upbeat atmosphere continues well into the night with its many bars and live music venues, making for unforgettable experiences for residents and visitors alike. And when it’s time to turn in, accommodations are plentiful with visitors able to take in the landscape’s natural beauty from resort-style hotels, tents at a local campground or one of the many cabin lodges.
Flying into Telluride
Flying into Telluride Regional (TEX) is an exciting adventure in itself. Brannan Johnson, a former air show pilot, has visited the airport several times and highly recommends the experience to other pilots.
“This is truly a bucket list airport to fly in and out of,” said Johnson. “It is one of the best mountain airport towns on the planet. And with the town being difficult to reach by car, flying simply makes sense.”
Situated on a cliff, making it “similar to landing on an aircraft carrier,” the airport is a challenging yet rewarding one to land. Acclaimed the highest commercial airport in the United States at 9,070 feet above sea level, it is likely that many pilots have heard others’ stories about landing at TEX.
The single runway, 9/27, offers instrument approach procedures and stretches 7,111 feet by 100 feet. While twin and turbine aircraft can operate in and out of the airport, the elevation and surrounding terrain add complexity to the landing operations, including turbulence due to the proximity of nearby mountains.
But first-timers can find numerous sources (ex. www.tellurideairport.com) and videos online describing the arrival in detail and steps to take for safe mountain flying. These sources are a beneficial tool for operators preparing to fly into what is regarded by many as one of America’s most beautiful airports and enjoyable small towns.