Located in Colorado’s San Miguel County, Telluride is situated on the San Miguel River and along the San Juan Mountains, both of which contribute to the abundance of outdoor and leisure activities defining life in this tiny resort town.
Telluride is defined not only by the mountains that surround it but also the stunning old growth forests are found in abundance in and around this scenically beautiful area, located in a remote area of Southwest Colorado, which reaches an elevation of 8,750 feet.
Once called "The City of Gold," because of its mining history and rich deposits found in the Tomboy Mine, Telluride has long held appeal for the world's wealthy and elite. At the start of the 19th century, more millionaires called Telluride home than New York City. It also earned the nickname "The City of Lights" because it was the first in the world to have an electric streetlight.
The Telluride Historic District
Telluride is known not only for a renowned ski resort, but also its charming historic district, which spans about 80 acres in the heart of downtown Telluride. This tiny, quaint area of Telluride features Victorian-era architecture and maintains much of the town’s original history.
Some of the landmarks found in this historically designated area are the Telluride Museum, The Sheridan Opera House, the Lone Tree Cemetery and the Rio Grand Southern Railroad Depot.
Perhaps one of the most well-known is The New Sheridan Hotel, which is a boutique property located in the heart of the town's historic district, offering an exclusive setting and only 26 guest rooms. The social scene is a big draw at The New Sheridan as well, as the hotel boasts a scenic rooftop bar, a wine and beer bar and their own adjacent coffee house.
An iconic part of Telluride's history? The famous criminal Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in the town. The San Miguel Valley Bank was located at the corner of Pine and Main Streets, and while it has since burned down, it's where Cassidy and his accomplices stole approximately $21,000 and started their long reign of outlaw style robberies.
Industry In Telluride
While Telluride is known primarily for being a hub of skiing and tourism, with most of the residents considering themselves part-time, this little Colorado town has been stepping up recent efforts to build a sense of industry that exists outside hospitality.
It can be challenging to develop a sense of industry outside of tourism in Telluride since it is such a remote locale, but at the same time, there are an abundance of world-class entrepreneurs and mentors with second homes in the town who have worked with the Venture Accelerator. Some of the program’s mentors include Cheryl Roster, founder of Hotels.com, and Jeffrey Katz, founder of Orbitz.
Some of the startups that came out of the latest round of Venture Accelerator include ProEditors, which is a tool that helps novices create professional-quality videos from smartphone and GoPro footage, as well as Mountain Drones, which is a start-up that aims to build and operate unmanned drones customized for use in avalanche mitigation.
One area Telluride has been shown to excel in terms of industry is in films and television. Most recently Telluride was the setting for Quentin Tarantino's much-anticipated "The Hateful Eight" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell.
During filming the movie crew occupied local lodging for a total of 9,000 nights, and in addition to the economic advantages of working locally, it's also expected to create even more buzz around the already iconic town thanks to its relationship to Telluride as well as the breathtaking scenery included of the area in the movie.
As you’re considering routes to reach this remote area, Telluride/Montrose Regional Airport(MTJ) is the primary way to reach Telluride. During the winter, there are usually 14 direct flights into the airport from 11 major cities in the U.S. This airport is located about 65 miles from Telluride, and there are numerous options available for transport from the airport to the town.
Also notable is Telluride Regional Airport (TEX), which is located just six miles from town and is open to general aviation and private planes. The airport is open daily and also offers ground transportation from a variety of luxury limo car services.
When driving to Telluride you can reach the town via State Highway 145, part of the San Juan Skyway, and there are two alternate passes, Imogene Pass, and Black Bear Pass.
Skiing in Telluride
One of the reasons people flock to Telluride is because of the skiing opportunities. The Telluride Ski Resort is internationally revered as one of the premier destinations for winter sports, and it was rated America’s Best Ski Resort in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards from 2012 – 2014.
Telluride Ski Resort and the surrounding region receive more than 300 inches of snow annually, and the resort features over 2,000 acres of space that’s skiable and geared towards all experience and expertise levels. Along with the abundance of snow Telluride receives, it also enjoys about 300 sunny days a year.
Opened in 2008 at the Telluride Ski Resort was the Revelation Bowl, which is a European-style terrain located above the tree line and featuring advanced and expert skiing opportunities, in arguably one of the world’s most beautiful locales.
For beginning skiers and snowboarders, Telluride offers broad slopes with no lift lines, primarily at Lifts 10, 11 and 12. Also great for beginners is the Galloping Goose, which is a 4.6-mile trail featuring a relatively gentle decline from Lift 12 down to Mountain Village.
For advanced and expert skiers seeking a heart-stopping challenge, there’s Lift 10 which features bump runs including Spiral Stairs and Mammoth while The Plunge is a black diamond trail descending 3,140 feet into Telluride.
The Telluride Ski Resort is actually located in Mountain Village, Colorado, which is the town adjacent to Telluride, know for having the highest concentration of peaks reaching 13,000 and 14,000 feet in all of North America.
The Telluride Gondola system provides transportation between the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride and its one of only three free transportation systems of its kind in the U.S. While it’s an eight mile drive to go back and forth between the neighboring towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, the Gondola provides a direct three-mile route which takes you directly over the mountains.
Not only is the gondola a more convenient means of transportation for visitors and residents, but it’s also an eco-friendly initiative, which is part of the Colorado Climate Action Plan, designed to reduce the state’s greenhouse emissions 20 percent by 2020.
Summer In Telluride
It’s not just winter that makes Telluride amazing—the town is known for its plethora of outdoor activities in the summer months as well.
Mountain biking is incredibly popular in the area, and there are plenty of trails that afford fantastic views and terrain ranging from basic to challenging, including a path along the Galloping Goose Railway. Also popular are hiking and backpacking through Mesa Verde National Park and Black Canyon National Park.
Kayaking, canoeing, river rafting and fly fishing are all great summer activities, thanks to the riverside location of Telluride. The San Miguel River features Class II and III+ rapids, and trips are available from May through August. One of the most popular day trips starts at Specie Creek and continues nine miles to the Beaver Creek River access.
Along with the San Miguel River, the Dolores River is nearby and features one of the most sought-after wilderness whitewater experiences in the country.
Telluride is home to a wide range of hot springs, which create a relaxing natural spa experience, including Dunton Hot Springs, Orvis Hot Springs and Trimble Hot Springs. Many of the hot springs locations near Telluride offer full spa experiences as well as soaks in the water itself.
For golfers, the area features the Telluride Golf Course, surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, and scenic vistas thanks to its location nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. This 18-hole course is known not only because it's surrounded by soaring 14,000-foot mountain peaks, but also its challenging design and available instruction and clinics from PGA professionals.
Shopping and Dining In Telluride
Because of its allure for affluent and celebrity residents and visitors, Telluride offers an amazing culinary experience. There are more than 50 restaurants found in Telluride and nearby Mountain Village, ranging from five-star eateries to casual cafes.
In 2015, Ski Magazine ranked the Telluride food scene as the fifth best in the world, and Fodor’s named Telluride as one of the top 10 Best Ski Towns for Foodies.
La Marmotte is a favorite, giving visitors the feeling they’re in a French chateau the moment they enter. The chef serves elegant-but-simple French fare and maintains a strong relationship with local farmers and ranchers, to bring a fresh approach to the food.
221 South Oak bills itself as a modern bistro, featuring unique twists on food originating from South America, France and California.
If you like to dine right on the mountain, you can visit Alpino Vino, with a staggering elevation of 12,000 feet, located at the Telluride Ski Resort. This European-style restaurant features internationally-sourced wine, cheese, soup and antipasti plates.
When it comes to shopping, despite its small size Telluride has great options for that as well. The town’s main street in the historic district is where you’ll find most of the retailers, and while many are high-end, it’s not what you think of when you think Rodeo Drive. Instead, much of the retail centers around local shops featuring art and jewelry made nearby, custom ski boots, leather goods and upscale women’s clothing from independent designers.
The town of Mountain Village is also one worth discussing when looking at investing in Telluride, as this incorporated area is located at the base of the Telluride Ski Resort.
With a small year-round population, Mountain Village is best known for skiing, but there are also areas such as Heritage Plaza, which is centrally located in the village and features shopping, lodges, and restaurants, as well as Reflection Plaza, which is where the Mountain Village Ice Rink is found, surrounded by Hotel Madeline.
Mountain Village is also home to the Lorian III, which is an upscale condominium project featuring stunning views of the San Sophia Mountains, and adjacency to the Double Cabins ski run. These luxury homes range from 3,900 to 6,500 square feet and feature community amenities such as heated decks, a pool and hot tub, heated roof valleys, a private owners’ ski room, custom audio and video pre-wiring, and, of course, idyllic views.
Telluride Celebrity Residents
Telluride is well known for its plethora of celebrity residents and people who own part-time homes in this charming natural setting.
Tom Cruise announced in 2015 he was putting his Telluride hideaway on the market, which features nearly 300 acres of land and private access to the National Forest. As well as legendary Tom Cruise, Laura Linney owns a home here, and world-famous designer Ralph Lauren owns a ranch that spans 17,000 acres just outside of the Telluride town limits.
Oprah Winfrey purchased 60 acres of property for nearly $11 million, located just off Rocky Road and only accessible by the Galloping Goose ski trail, and Jerry Seinfeld has also named as a property owner in the area.
Along with some of the world’s best skiing and outdoor opportunities, Telluride is also known for its abundance of year-round festivals and events.
Perhaps the most well-known of all the events is the Telluride Film Festival, which is a prestigious weekend known as one of the first showcases for many of the next year’s Oscar nominees. The film festival was launched in 1973, and it’s a time when filmmakers, A-list actors and movie lovers all gather for a variety of highly anticipated screenings.
The Telluride Mountain Film Festival is a different film festival held over Memorial Day weekend, in which 85 independent documentaries are curated from around the world, along with guest presentations, parties, book signings and musical events. MountainFilm is widely considered the country’s top independent documentary film festival, having been held in Telluride since 1979.
The Bluegrass Festival celebrates the origins of American music, and main stage performances take place in Town Park while workshops are held on the Elks Park stage in downtown Telluride. The festival also features songwriting contests, late-night concerts and jam sessions throughout the town. The 2014 Bluegrass Festival drew performers including Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Dispatch, the Telluride House Band and Bela Fleck.
Another popular festival is the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, which once hosted B.B. King. Many of the shows for this world-famous festival are held on the Main Stage in Telluride’s Town Park, located along the downtown’s East End, and there’s also a Grand Beer Tasting with dozens of microbreweries represented.
The idyllic Telluride Balloon Festival is smaller than many of the others, but most attendees would say it's one of the most beautiful events in the town. More than a dozen hot air balloons are launched from Town Park in June, and the last night of the festival includes the "Glow" event where propane-fueled balloons make for a spectacular scene along Main Street.
Investing In Telluride
As you look toward Telluride as an investment opportunity, it’s important to note the diversity in the properties that make up this outstanding community. Properties are unique and include historic homes, residential condos with sought-after amenities, and expansive open lots ideal for development.
Reports indicate the Telluride real estate market has shown increasingly strong growth since 2009. Real estate sales in Telluride in 2014 were the best since the end of the Great Recession, and 2015 showed continued strength in the area.
Sales numbers were up 2% in Telluride for 2015 through November 2015, and in addition to the residential market, the Telluride commercial market has also shown tremendous strength, with Town of Telluride commercial properties sales up 100%.
89 condos have been sold in 2015, and 19 condominiums this year in Telluride, with the average sold price exceeding $2 million. The total sales volume for homes is $41,592,400, and the total sales volume for condos is nearly $71 million.
Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty which represents a staggering 40% market share in the area reported a number of significant sales in the Telluride area in the fall of 2015, including the sale of 752 Elk Run Road in Mountain Village for $4 million, featuring gated surroundings and a modern design by architect Tommy Hein, and 139 AJ Drive in Mountain Village, located on the 15th hole of the Telluride Golf Course featuring a design by One Architects.
Telluride Property Areas
Town of Telluride, If you’re searching within the limits of the town of Telluride, the most common properties you’ll discover include historic Victorian homes, as well as luxury condos, many of which offer amenities and proximity to skiing.
Within the town of Telluride is Main Street, which includes the majority of the Victorian homes, as well as many of the penthouses and condos part-time residents are seeking. Main Street also tends to offer properties with features like rooftop decks that offer incredible views.
Telluride’s West End runs from Mahoney Drive to West Pacific Avenue and extends eastward to Davis Street. This area of Telluride is convenient to Lift 7 and also includes Victorian homes, including Bachman Village. Other notable residential areas within the West End are Lulu City, Owl Meadow Townhomes, and Telluride Lodge.
The Pacific Avenue Corridor is located on a street south of Main Street, and it’s a unique mix of historic homes alongside sleeker new construction townhomes and condos.
The Gondola District includes the historic homes of Oak Street and is also a combination of restaurants, shops, and hotels.
Riverside is an area of Telluride running along the San Miguel River with condos like the Ballard House, as well as single-family homes found primarily in the Depot area, which is right along the river shores.
The East End is just east of Main Street, and it’s close to Town Park, offering box canyon views from the homes along East Pandora and Columbia Avenues.
Finally, The Sunnyside is located north of Main Street, and it receives more natural daylight than other areas of town which are shadowed by the ski resort. Many historic homes are found here, as well as more expensive and newer homes that have views of the town and the ski area.
Telluride Neighborhoods and Subdivisions
One of the premier Telluride-area subdivisions is Aldasoro Ranch, which is just five minutes from town and features home sites that average anywhere from 3-4 acres in size. Residents seeking larger lot sizes tend to be attracted to this area, and there are also great views here and a maximum amount of sunlight exposure. This development features the availability of not only homes but also vacant land for custom home building.
Gray Head is west of Aldasoro Ranch and is where some extremely high-end properties are found, as well as a private wilderness preserve surrounded by National Forest. Gray Head features amenities including an equestrian facility, a private trail system, ice skating, fly fishing and tennis, and the lots are 35 acres within this luxury neighborhood.
Idarado Legacy is adjacent to the east end of the Town of Telluride, and it features deluxe residential development opportunities, with lots reaching up to nearly 15.5 acres.
The Preserve is an exclusive development located across from the Raspberry Patch, with 12 lots that are each about 13 acres in size, many of which have views of the Wilson and Sunshine mountain peaks.
The Telluride Golf Course is located in Mountain Village and includes a surrounding residential neighborhood, with both single-family homes and multifamily properties, as well as the availability of vacant lots.
This breathtakingly beautiful golf course is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the country, and the home sites are on average about 1 acre in size and concentrated around Adams Ranch Road, Russell Drive and Double Eagle Drive.
The Meadows is a Mountain Village community located at the base of lift 10, and it includes a diverse mix of properties including single-family homes, townhomes, and condos. This neighborhood is desirable for year-round residents because of its community park and convenience to public transport.
Village Central Core is the centralized area of Mountain Village and includes not only tourist and commercial destinations but also condos and penthouses, which put you in proximity to skiing as well as transportation via The Gondola.
Ranches and Mesas
Within anywhere from a 30-45-minute drive from Telluride and Mountain Village are much sought-after Mesa properties, including Hastings Mesa. Hastings Mesa features historic ranches like the Last Dollar Ranch, which was used for filming the moving True Grit. There is a variety of residential properties available here, ranging from 5 up to more than 150 acres, and prices vary from $150,000 up to $2.5 million. Some of the properties here are designated as off the grid, and many are operated by solar power.
Horsefly & Iron Springs Mesa include the availability of expansive ranches and residential properties which extend up to more than 2,000 acres and have prices from $200,000 up to more than $13 million.
Specie Mesa is the westernmost Mesa in the Telluride area, and it has long been a site of cattle ranching. Current ranching properties include anywhere from 35 to more than 2,000 acres, and carry price tags from $200,000 up to $24 million. Subdivisions on Specie Mesa include The Peninsula, Specie Mesa Ranch and Top of the World.
Winter in Telluride
Telluride is a year-round destination for the international elite, but is perhaps most notable for its outstanding winter sports and skiing at the world-class Telluride Ski Resort, often rated by Conde Nast as one of the best anywhere on the globe.
Winter is coming to telluride! ©Telluride Ski Resort