Considering a winter trip to Telluride, Colorado? As the cold months descend, this historic mining town transforms into a playground for snow seekers and adventure lovers alike.
With beautiful snow-covered mountain peaks that tower over the charming town, Telluride not only offers unparalleled beauty, but it is a haven for winter activities.
While the resort town in southwest Colorado is best known for its skiing and snowboarding, there are a lot of things to do in Telluride in winter, off the slopes, as well.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or stunning mountain views, this guide to visiting Telluride in winter includes the best activities – both on and off the slopes.
14 FUN Things to do in Telluride in Winter
From world-class skiing on powdery slopes to exhilarating ice climbing adventures and cozy evenings sipping local delights, here are the best things to do in Telluride during the winter season.
Hit the Slopes
Skiing and snowboarding are without a doubt the most popular things to do in Telluride in winter. The ski resort boasts more than 2000 acres of skiable terrain with nearly 25 percent of their runs rated for beginners, making it one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.
Although there are plenty of runs for novice skiers and boarders, those craving a challenge will find lots of expert terrain off the Coonskin chair lift, Plunge lift, or Gold Hill lift.
The resort also has a fun terrain park and plenty of ski-in, ski-out lodging.
Hike Bear Creek Trail
Bear Creek Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Telluride. The 4.5 mile trail is open year round, and during winter, it transforms the hiking experience into a magical journey along a serene, snowy path.
You’ll slowly ascend the mountain along a scenic trail surrounded by evergreens and Aspen trees. You’ll traverse the winding path where postcard-perfect scenes await you at every turn.
One of the best parts about hiking Bear Creek trail in winter is that the soft crunch of snow beneath your feet adds a tranquil ambiance to your hike. The out-and-back hike takes you to a waterfall that is beautifully frozen during the winter season, giving you a frosty perspective of Colorado’s stunning wilderness.
If you plan to hike the entire trail, give yourself at least 3 hours for the roundtrip hike during the winter time.
Bear Creek is also a great trail for snowshoeing. You can rent snowshoes at one of the sports equipment stores in town.
Visit a Spa
Are you looking for things to do in Telluride in winter while your partner or family skis? Splurge on your mental and physical well being and visit one of Telluride’s spas.
You can book a massage or go for a full spa package with more unique services ranging from infrared sauna experiences to spa treatments in a salt cave, or cryotherapy.
Go Window Shopping in Town
The town of Telluride is cute, festive, and one of the best Christmas destinations in the United States. Sitting on a valley floor surrounded by mountains on all sides, the town of Telluride is beautiful any time of year.
With lights strung across Colorado street, colorful, Victorian houses lining the side streets, and souvenir shops, clothing boutiques, and local restaurants sprinkled throughout the town, spending a morning or afternoon perusing the shops in Telluride is a fun way to pass a few hours.
You’re bound to meet friendly locals and lots of canines in this earth-friendly, dog-friendly community.
Take a Dog Sledding Tour
Dog sledding tours are popular winter activities in mountain towns and Telluride is no different. During winter in Telluride, book an excursion with a team of eager and well-trained sled dogs who will navigate along trails on an unforgettable experience.
Guided by skilled mushers, a dog sledding tour not only provides a unique winter adventure, but it allows you the opportunity to bond with your canine companions.
Explore Mountain Village
Located at the base of Telluride Mountain Resort, Mountain Village is like a small community where winter sports enthusiasts reign.
The Mountain Village is linked to the historic mining town of Telluride by a free gondola, providing residents and visitors with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding peaks as they make their way to the village.
The European-inspired architecture of the village creates a picture-perfect setting as you wander through the upscale boutiques, dine in restaurants just steps away from the slopes, or admire the atmosphere of the walkable area.
Eat in an igloo or gondola
For a unique winter dining experience, you can head to either Mountain Village or the town of Telluride.
In Mountain Village, select one of several gondola cars positioned on the ground around the plaza, where you can order take out and enjoy lunch or dinner in a private gondola. Be sure to close the doors to keep it warm while you eat.
In the town of Telluride, just a block from the Free Gondola Station, La Marmotte is an upscale French restaurant that offers igloo dining. Each private, glass igloo is heated and makes for a fun seasonal experience.
Take a gondola ride
One of the best things to do in Telluride in winter is actually one of the cheapest – because it’s free! Telluride is a unique mountain town. Unlike many other ski areas like Jackson Hole, and Steamboat that require a car to get from the town to the mountain resort, in Telluride you can get from the town to the base of the mountain, or Mountain Village by gondola.
Even better, the gondola is always free. Whether you are skiing in Telluride or just visiting Telluride during winter. The gondola ride takes you up the mountain, giving you a beautiful perspective overlooking the town as you enjoy the ride. Be sure to bundle up because the gondola isn’t heated and the ride takes about 10 minutes.
Enjoy a craft brew
Colorado is known for its craft beers. In fact, sampling craft beers in the state is worthy of our Colorado bucket list.
There are a few places in Telluride where you can enjoy locally crafted brews, including the Last Dollar Saloon, a historic watering hole in town with a well-curated beer list with various local brews. You’ll also find locally produced beer at Smugglers Brew Pub and Stronghouse Brew Pub.
Situated just outside of town, Telluride Brewing Company offers a taproom experience showcasing their unique creations.
Try ice climbing
Telluride isn’t just renowned for its world-class skiing; it also beckons adventure enthusiasts to embrace the thrill of ice climbing in its stunning frozen landscapes.
With its rugged cliffs and cascading frozen waterfalls, the San Juan Mountains are popular among ice climbers who come from all over North America in winter and rock climbers in summer.
Local guides and outfitters offer expert instruction and equipment, ensuring a safe and memorable adventure for all who dare to ascend the icy heights.
Go ice skating in Mountain Village
Mountain Village is a great gathering place where you can hang out after you get off the slopes. In the heart of the village, there is a cozy ice skating rink where you can rent skates and take a spin on the ice.
For parents who prefer to sit out while their children skate, there is ample seating nearby where you can watch your kids while enjoying a warm coffee or hot chocolate.
Try a Flatliner
The Flatliner is a specialty drink for which Telluride has become famous. This unique concoction is not just a beverage; it’s an experience that captures the spirit of the mountain town.
Made with vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua and espresso, you can find this signature drink at a variety of restaurants in Telluride, although the bar in the New Sheridan Hotel is perhaps best known for this drink.
Similar to an espresso martini, a Flatliner makes for a great apres-ski beverage or a cocktail to enjoy with dinner.
Satisfy your Sweet Tooth
While out exploring the cute town, be sure to stop into Telluride Truffle, where you’ll find dozens of locally made artisan chocolates crafted with organic cream and occasionally libations!
The chocolate shop, which is located along Colorado Avenue, has been in business for more than 2 decades and has since expanded to other parts of the state.
Visit the Public Library
Mountain towns always seem to have great public libraries, and the Telluride Public Library is no different. The library offers more than just books. The kids area has a playhouse and lots of fun activity tables and cozy reading nooks.
Throughout the 2-story library, you’ll find plenty of comfortable seating areas where you can grab a book or magazine and a cozy afternoon curled up with a good read! You can also buy a coffee inside the library to add a little extra warmth to your winter day.
How to get to Telluride in winter
Reaching the town of Telluride, Colorado is a little trickier than getting to many of the other popular ski resorts in Colorado because it is much further from Denver.
ALSO READ: How to fly with skis
How to get around Telluride in winter
Navigating Telluride is a breeze, as the town is small and easy to explore on foot. For those who want to get around faster, you can rent a fat tire bike. Fat biking is not only a great workout, but the larger tires make it easier to bike in snow.
There is also the free Galloping Goose bus system which is another great way to get around if you don’t want to walk or have mobility issues.
The free gondola gets you to the Mountain Village, and another free gondola will take you from Mountain Village to the upper village where you’ll find even more mountain lodges.
Where to stay in Telluride
When determining where to stay in Telluride, you’ll want to decide whether to stay in town, at the Mountain Village, or further up the mountain. We personally love staying in the town at Hotel Columbia. It offers a complimentary breakfast and is located directly across from the free gondola, making it super convenient if you are skiing or snowboarding.
Staying in town gives you the benefit of the fun night atmosphere within a short walk from your hotel.
If you choose to stay at the Mountain Village, Lumiere with Inspirato is a popular option just steps from the main lifts. The heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and complimentary breakfast basket for your stay, make this an ideal hotel for families wanting to be close to the slopes.
Where to eat in Telluride
Because Telluride is a tourist destination, you’ll find no shortage of great restaurants and places to eat in Telluride.
For an upscale dining experience with breathtaking views, Allred’s Restaurant is situated at the top of the gondola mid-station and serves gourmet American cuisine.
If you’re in the mood for locally sourced and organic fare, The Butcher and Baker Café is a charming spot known for its delicious breakfast and lunch options.
As mentioned, La Marmotte offers elegant French cuisine with optional glass igloo dining.
For a relaxed pizza parlor experience, head to Brown Dog Pizza in town or Crazy Elk Pizza at the Mountain Village.
And finally, for a laid back, family-friendly pub vibe, Smugglers Brew Pub and Stronghouse Brew Pub are both great options near the Telluride Gondola Station.
Other Things to Do Near Telluride
While there are a lot of things to do in Telluride in winter, the region around Telluride boasts lots of other great winter activities.
The Ouray Hot Springs make for a great day trip from Telluride. While soaking in the naturally heated water in the thermal pools, you’ll have stunning mountain views, making it a perfect retreat for relaxation or family fun.
Open year-round, the hot springs offer therapeutic benefits and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Conclusion: Telluride in Winter
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or someone simply seeking the mountain charm and winter serenity, Telluride offers lots of exhilarating experiences and plenty of fun things to do that make winter in Telluride an unforgettable vacation.
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