Discover the Best Winter Activities in Telluride, Colorado

What To Do In Telluride In Winter

What To Do In Telluride In Winter

Nestled among the rocky mountains of Southwestern Colorado, Telluride is nothing less than a paradise for adventure lovers. While this quaint little town is perfect for a vacation throughout the year, it has become a world-renowned destination during the colder months due to the vast array of winter activities Telluride offers.

Wondering what to do in Telluride in winter? Here are a few amazing ideas to get you going and make your snowy vacation to Telluride an unforgettable experience.

Best Things To Do In Telluride In Winter

1. Skiing at the Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride is well known for being one of the best Colorado ski towns, so it’s the obvious choice to start this list off with a bang! The world-class Telluride Ski Resort has nearly 150 trails, each offering mesmerizing views of the surrounding peaks. The resort also offers a whole host of different ski lessons so you can improve your skills no matter your level.

The Telluride Trail is an idyllic intermediate run weaving skiers directly down into the adorable center of town below. See Forever, another blue run, is a local classic that begins at close to 12,000 ft, winding down from the Gold Hill Ridge and ending nearly 2,000 ft below. Galloping Goose, a double-green run perfect for beginners is one of the longest runs in North America at 4.6 miles! It brings you from nearly the top of the resort along a peaceful yet dramatic landscape back down into the heart of Mountain Village. Of course if you are an expert skier there’s plenty of terrain to challenge your skills! From back bowls in Revelation and the Gold Hill Ridge to hike-to-terrain up to Palmyra Peak where you will have the chance to reach an imposing 13,150 ft of elevation.

2. Snowmobile Tours

If you have an inclination for speed and want to explore the beauty of the Telluride mountains beyond the resort, spending a day snowmobiling is another great choice. Telluride Outside offers half-day and full-day guided snowmobile tours tailored for experienced and inexperienced snowmobilers alike. Some of the most famous destinations you may visit include Alta Lakes, Lone Cone Cabin and Beaver Park.

3. Nordic Skiing

Nordic skiing has grown increasingly popular in Telluride in recent years, and the local area offers several terrific Nordic ski trails with stunning views. There are 6 primary nordic ski areas around Telluride you’ll want to investigate: Town Park, the Valley Floor, the Mountain Village Golf Course, Priest Lake, TopATen on the ski area, and Trout Lake. The Telluride Nordic Association manages the trails and posts a daily grooming report. Of course if you are particularly keen you can also check out the Ironton Park Cross-Country Ski Area and Top of the Pines nordic trails located outside the beautiful nearby towns of Ouray and Ridgway, respectively.

4. Snowshoeing

If you are interested in an accessible, affordable and invigorating winter activity to enjoy with the family, a snowshoeing adventure amongst the vast natural beauty of Telluride could be just the ticket. Many local outfitters including the Telluride Nordic Center, Bootdoctors and San Juan Outdoor Adventures offer snowshoes for rent as well as guided tours of all levels. If you plan to go out without a guide always remember to check avalanche conditions to ensure your proposed route is safe for travel. In addition, snowshoeing etiquette dictates that you please refrain from walking on groomed nordic trails. Some of the best places to go snowshoeing in Telluride include the Valley Floor, Hope Lake, Alta Lakes and the Lizard Head Pass area.

5. Heli-Skiing and Backcountry Touring

Heli-skiing in Telluride is an activity to enrich even the most adventurous of souls. Imagine flying to the top of some of San Juan’s most spectacular mountains and couloirs while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views. You’ll then be dropped off at the summit, ski gear donned, for an unforgettable guided backcountry skiing experience. If you are interested in this kind of thrill you’ll want to take a look at Helitrax. They are well-known for their professional services, experienced guides, and focus on safety. Helitrax also offers custom heli-ski tours for anyone interested in crafting their own adventure, although booking your tour well in advance is highly recommended. When it comes to backcountry skiing, the entire Telluride area is your playground, though you’ll absolutely want to check avalanche conditions before departing and consult with local outfitters on current conditions. Unless you are an expert, it is highly recommended that you hire a guide, such as the well-loved Telluride Mountain Guides.

6. Hot Springs

Now, for those who are wondering what to do in Telluride in winter for relaxation and tranquility, paying a visit to one of the area’s nearby hot springs could be just the right thing. Kick back, soak in the views and let your muscles rest by sinking into a naturally heated pool. Orvis Hot Springs just outside Ridgway is a popular option that offers grotto-like pools of varying temperatures and stays open until late so you can stargaze from the steaming waters. Please note Orvis is recommended for adults as it is clothing optional. If you want a family-friendly option be sure to take a look at Ouray Hot Springs, which has pools, slides and games to delight the kids.

7. Ice Skating

An all-around classic Telluride winter activity is of course, ice skating! If you’re interested in hitting the ice you have three different rinks to choose from. The Hanley Ice Rink is an indoor rink that’s open only during the colder months. They offer open skates daily as well as hockey scrimmages. If you prefer outdoor ponds just head to the Town Park Core Area Ice Rink, conditions of which are weather dependent. Of course you can also check out the Madeline Mountain Village Ice Rink located in the heart of quaint little Mountain Village that offers opening skating and several special events. You can rent ice skates on location at the Madeline as well as from the Telluride Nordic Center.

8. Horseback Riding & Sleigh Rides

Horseback riding and sleigh rides are very popular Telluride winter activities that are sure to constitute a unique highlight to your trip. You can ride through majestic forests and snow-clad trails to take in the spectacular landscape from a different perspective. You’ll want to take a look at Telluride Sleighs and Wagons and Roudy’s Horseback Adventures for tour options.

9. Fly Fishing

If you enjoy fishing you’ll be delighted to know that Telluride has numerous lakes, ponds and streams famous for fly fishing—even in winter. Of course you can always rent gear yourself, however, if you are unfamiliar with the area you can opt for guided fly-fishing trips operated by Telluride Outside and Telluride Fly Fishers. Some of the best fishing spots in Telluride include the San Miguel River, The Uncompahgre River and the Dolores River.

10. Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is undoubtably an exhilarating and challenging sport! The Telluride area offers several ice-climbing destinations suitable for beginners and experts alike. Bridal Veil and Ames are both fabulous locations to put your skills to the test. If you are a novice you’ll definitely want to hire a tour company such as the Telluride Mountain Guides. You’ll also want to take a look at the the recreational Ouray Ice Park, where you can benefit from guides and enjoy a variety of exciting types of climbs.

11. Watch a Live Concert

If you’re less in the icy mood and more interested in warmer winter activities, you are in luck! Telluride is a well known music mecca, hosting numerous concerts and events throughout the year. If you are looking for a fun and vivacious activity to expend some extra energy and take part in the local culture, you can check out the Sheridan Opera House and Club Red for information on upcoming events.

12. Explore Local Shops

Naturally a visit to Telluride is incomplete without spending a day browsing for gifts and souvenirs to take back home. Both Telluride Main Street and the Mountain Village Core offer eclectic mixes of shops you’ll want to explore. Some favorites include the Hook for novelty gifts; Between the Covers for all your book needs; MiXX for the finest handmade jewelry, furniture & home decor; the Telluride Resort Store for all your branded merchandise; and Scarpe for boutique clothing. Don’t forget to check out the esteemed Wilkinson Public Library for a fun family activity as well!

13. Visit the Telluride Historical Museum or Take a Walking Tour

If you are looking for another idea for a break from snowy activities, lovers of history will be amiss if they don’t make a stop at the Telluride Historical Museum, which is located in the restored 1896 miners’ hospital. The museum houses several exhibits that showcase the rich history of the region, from the era of the Ute Indians, to Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbing back in 1889, and the official opening of the ski resort in 1972 with 5 chairlifts. If you have time to spare, you can follow the museum up with a walking tour exploring the preserved mining era buildings in downtown Telluride. You can also take a self-guided tour using this guide. This is one of the best family-friendly activities in Telluride, no matter the season.

14. Bar Hop & Enjoy the Local Cuisine

This one almost goes without saying, but it’s such an important activity we had to mention it! A trip to our box canyon is simply incomplete without hitting up some of the best restaurants in Telluride for a beer, coffee or delectable meal surrounded by the fabulous San Juans! Some of the best bars and eateries in Telluride and Mountain Village include The Butcher & The Baker, Smugglers Brewery, Brown Dog Pizza, Tomboy Tavern, Liberty Bar & Lounge and Stronghouse Brewpub. If you’re looking for more of a fine dining experience you won’t want to miss The National,  The Cosmopolitan, Altezza at the Peaks and Allred’s at the top of San Sophia Gondola Station. Be sure to make reservations well in advance so you ensure you get what you want!


We hope this guide has helped give you ample ideas of some fun things to do in Telluride in winter. So now that you’ve got a list of activities for your next trip, it’s time to get out here and start trying them out! Whichever adventures you decide to embark on, your stay in our majestic mountains is sure to be a memorable one.

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