I got up early and planned to go for a run around town first. Although I started running before the COVID-19, I did run longer and longer during the pandemic. I had always been doing the morning walk around town and taking pictures before. Now everywhere we went, I planned in advance where I could run.
Telluride is 8750 feet above sea level, but I didn’t feel much uncomfortable during the run. The sun was still just peeking out from behind the mountains, illuminating the tip on the opposite side of the mountains. The aspens on the hillside had turned yellow and were being lit up by the morning sunlight.
I ran along the main road of the town. Telluride town is small, I already reached the other side of town a little more than half a mile. The road is lined with stores, galleries and restaurants, and looks much more lively and fashionable than Ouray. Similar to Ouray, Telluride prospered in the second half of the nineteenth century due to the rise of the mining industry and declined as the price of silver fell. It was not until the 1970s that the first ski resort was built and Telluride became an outdoor sports paradise. A variety of cultural and artistic activities follow, and the town regained its former prosperity.
I first turned left and ran to the Telluride Historical Museum, which was the hospital during the mining boom, on the north side of the town, and then ran through town to the San Miguel River.
The San Miguel River originates in the San Juan Mountains that surround Telluride and flows through the town and out of the valley. Telluride is an outdoor sports paradise. In the summer time, the hiking trails crisscrossing the area, and in the winter, ski routes from the top of the mountain run directly into the city.
I ran back to the hotel along the San Miguel River, met up with my wife and headed back to town. We had breakfast at a restaurant called The Butcher & The Baker. The restaurant was recommended by the hotel and was really popular, the waiting line run out the door. Their food were really good and lived up to the reputation.
We only planed to stay in the town for one night and then move to the mountain village. One of Telluride’s most famous sights is Bridal Veil Falls. When the snow melts in the spring, the fall, with a vertical drop of over 365 feet, is massive and can be seen from a distance. In the fall, the water volume is much smaller, but we still planed to go there to take a look.
Heading east along the main road that runs through Telluride, about one and half miles out of town, there is a mill. From here, there is a newly constructed trail that leads to the foot of the falls. With an SUV with sufficient horsepower and a high clearance, it is possible to continue on from here, after several switchbacks, to the top of the falls. There is a deserted power station sites there. I stood at the parking lot by the mill and looked at the trail, feeling little confidence in my rental car, so I took a few photos and turned back.
The resort is located on a slope on the south side of Telluride, more than 700 feet above the town. The location of the resort cannot be better, standing on the mountain ridge, one can overlook the magnificent San Juan Mountains and Telluride. The Mountain Village and Telluride are connected by the trails and the gondola, these separated yet interconnected areas offer the possibility of a wide variety of activities around Telluride.
The hotel we booked was the Madeline Hotel, located in the center of the resort. As soon as we arrived at the front desk, the staff handed us drinks and beers. The service was quite good.
In the summer timer, Telluride hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals. Sometimes in the town, sometimes on the mountain. When we arrived, there was a classic car and wine festival, as well as an art show. I thought about whether to buy tickets before we left to Telluride. In fact, the art show was held in the central plaza of the resort, right outside the hotel. You probably had to buy a ticket to see the classic cars.
We had our lunch at the hotel’s restaurant, Black Iron Kitchen & Bar. Put the taste aside, the dishes looked so beautiful. The ingredients were just a variety of carrots and fruits, with cheese and some purple flower petals sprinkled on top, very colorful and appealing.
The plan for the afternoon was to take the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail near Telluride. It is on the other side of town. Instead of driving, we backpacked and took the gondola to the town. The gondola that connects the town to the Mountain Village is one of the highlights of Telluride. From the resort, we took the gondola 960 feet up to Station St. Sophia at the top of the mountain, then the gondola continues 1750 feet down to the town at Oak Street. The gondola runs from 6:30 in the morning till midnight. The trip takes only fifteen minutes each way, making it very convenient for guests visiting both places. It is a perfect place to enjoy sunrise and sunset, and the entire trip is free to all visitors, such a visionary decision that locals made!
The Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail is a three-mile trail with 1200 feet elevation gain. The trail starts gently up and it doesn’t take long to see the whole town of Telluride. The trail is popular because it is not too long and the views are great. In fact, some sections were quite steep, and we felt a little tired after a short while. After all, we were on the mountain at an altitude of nearly 9000 feet.
We returned to town and checked out a few popular restaurants, only to find that they all need reservations. We eventually chose a small restaurant. Actually, the food tasted pretty good.