Telluride, CO – Sept 1 – 7, 2021

I have been spending extra time on this post, since Telluride has been one of our favorite destinations since we first traveled there in 1999.  We started planning our first trip there, when we were still just friends. We have visited  at least 10 more times, since then. We almost bought a condo there (which would now be worth 10 times what it cost then).  Dave’s wedding ring has the mountains around Telluride engraved in it, a testament to its importance in our lives.

Matterhorn Campground is a US Forest Service campground, located about 10 miles south of the Telluride Ski area.  We planned our trip around this location, making sure we would have power for heat and would return to lower elevations before it snowed. At 8500′, it is our highest altitude campsite. It is one of very few campgrounds without an accurate map or overhead view on Google Maps, to enable selecting the best campsite. We were surprised to find that the campsite spacing was very irregular and that our site was exteremely close to our neighbor’s. While it is in a beautiful setting, and near Telluride, it was not our favorite campground.

The town of Telluride is at an altitude of 8750′.  It’s an historic mining town, which was still somewhat sleepy and quirky when we first visited. Since then, it has grown significantly and real estate is now for the wealthy, only. Surprisingly, it still does not feel too crowded (at least in the fall) and has not lost it’s original appeal to us. The gondola, the first and only free public transportation of its kind in the United States, runs year-round and provides a quick, free, scenic trip between town and Telluride Mountain Village, the ski area above town.

Our favorite activity there is hiking. There are many hikes that start right in town. This was the first time I could be well-acclimatized before hiking (or even walking around town), which made it a lot more fun for me. Unlike Dave, I definitely feel the affects of altitude. We were happy to hike our old favorites, as well as some new trails.

We were there during the Telluride Film Festival, which I imagine is one of the more low-key or laid-back film festivals. It didn’t really affect our visit too much. That is likely because “filmies” don’t seem to be into hiking. We had no trouble getting a table at our favorite restaurant, Esperanza’s (best Mexican food anywhere!) or a seat at the Last Dollar Saloon. The Historic New Sheridan Bar (est. 1885) is a bit more upscale, so we went there after the “filmies” left town.

We had a great time and hated to leave, but had many more fun destinations on our itinerary. Next stop, Ouray!

Matterhorn Campground, Ophir CO
Matterhorn Campground, Ophir CO
Matterhorn Campground, Ophir CO  This photo taken after our neighbor left. She was less than 10 feet to the right.. We had one of the worst two full-hook-up campsites here. Too close together! The next set of neighbors made a lot of unwelcome noise.

View of the campground from Galloping Goose trail

Taking the gondola from the Telluride Mountain Village, into town. It was the best way to find parking while the film festival was underway
The Jud Wiebe Trail is one of our all-time favorites. It’s a 3.1 mile loop, gaining 1,200 feet. Our AllTrails app counted about 4 miles total, including the walk through town and partway up Tomboy Road (also steep), where the trail begins. It’s rated as “moderate”, but the altitude of 9950′, can make it more challenging.
Jud Wiebe Trail, Telluride, CO
Jud Wiebe Trail, Telluride, CO
Jud Wiebe Trail, Telluride, CO
Jud Wiebe Trail, Telluride, CO
Telluride, CO
The Last Dollar Saloon rooftop
Ophir, CO Yes, this is the entire town.
View of Dallas Dive from Last Dollar Road. This is one of our favorite photo spots, especially with fall colors and snow in the mountains. (photo taken Sept. 2017)
Bridal Veil falls are the tallest free-falling falls in Colorado, at 365 feet in height, The hike is roughly 4 miles round trip on on a jeep road, with an elevation gain of 1360′. (photo taken Sept 2017)
View from the hike to Bridal Veil Falls (photo taken Sept 2017)
View of Telliuride from the gondola (photo taken Sept 2017)
Last Dollar Saloon, Telluride (photo taken Sept. 2017)
Hiking the Bear Creek Trail. The trail head is in town. It’s 4.6 miles (round trip), with a 1,140-ft. elevation gain. (Note: There are at least 2 different  Bear Creek trails in the area)
Bear Creek Falls, from the Bear Creek Trail, Telluride (Note: There are at least 2 different Bear Creek Falls and 2 Bear Creak trails in the area)
Lizard Head Trail, starting at Lizard Head Pass, altitude 10,222′
Lizard Head Trail, with Trout Lake in the background.
Walking the Idarado Legacy Trail, which runs between town and the Pandora Mill Site
Enjoying one last beer in town, at the Stronghouse Brew Pub