When Butch Cassidy was in Telluride, Colorado in 1889, at the top of his to-do list was robbing a bank. He took care of that task at the San Miguel Valley Bank, starting his legendary and infamous 20-year career of bank and train robberies. (The building still stands today at 129 West Colorado Avenue.) Your to-do list for a summer visit to Telluride should not get you in trouble with the law, and will hopefully launch nothing more notorious than an unforgettable adventure in this appealing mountain community.
Attend a Festival
Telluride’s summer season is busy with festivals occurring almost every weekend. Two of the most famous ones, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in late June and the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, are both celebrating their 45th anniversary this year. There are other events, however, for almost any interest you can imagine.
Mountainfilm is a four-day film festival (taking place from May 25 to May 28 in 2018) focused on documentaries that tell stories of environmental, political, and social justice. In addition to the Bluegrass Festival, the town’s other musical high notes include the Telluride Jazz Festival (August 3 to 5), the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (September 14 to 16), and the RIDE Festival (July 14 and 15), featuring “rootsy, rocky talent”—this year’s headliners include Sheryl Crow and the String Cheese Incident. From A—the Art + Architecture Weekend (July 20 to 22)—to at least Y—the Telluride Yoga Festival (July 19 to 22), the city’s calendar of festivals covers it all. You can browse through established favorites and new additions at Telluride Festivals and Events.
Savor the Flavors
When Bravo visited Telluride to film two episodes of Top Chef, they shared with the world what locals have long known: this little town has big culinary credentials. Among the stops featured on Top Chef were the New Sheridan bar where the low-key atmosphere helps make it a local favorite, while the adjoining Chop House is known for its excellent cuts of Colorado lamb and aged steaks. The Bravo program took cheftestants to 221 South Oak, Chef (and Season 10 competitor) Eliza Gavin creates innovative dishes that are as spectatucular as the views. Those are only two of some 60 restaurants in Telluride and Mountain Village, so whether you are in the mood for French or fondue, a burger or barbeque, you’ll find a restaurant that serves exactly what you are in the mood for.
Walk with Ghosts
By some estimates, Colorado is home to more than 600 ghost towns. These include farming villages that were abandoned in droughts, stage coach stops that became obsolete with the construction of railroads, and rail stops that faded into history when new rail lines were laid. Near Telluride, many of the ghost towns were once bustling mining camps, deserted either following drops in the price of silver or when the ore at a location had been exhausted. Among those closest to Telluride is Tomboy, once home to a population of nearly 1,000. An easy way to get there, and to other ghost towns (which are often far from any roads maintained today), is on a 4x4 Jeep tour. When you arrive, you’ll realize that ghost towns are very much alive, with marmots among the abandoned buildings and hillsides abloom with wildflowers in the summer.