Posted by: kimberlysullivan | September 17, 2013

Visiting Telluride, Colorado: Wish all public transport were like this!

2013_September_Telluride1Most urban planners the world over suffer the same dilemma: how to decrease car traffic and pollution.

The idyllic Rocky Mountain ski resort/summer hiking resort/site of the famous film festival, Telluride, was once no exception.

Telluride, ColoradoBut some years ago, Telluride came up with an ingenious solution for connecting the town of Telluride, the major ski slopes, and neighboring Mountain Village (the major traffic artery) during the peak winter and summer months: creating the United States’ first and only free public transportation system – a gondola service running daily from 7 am to midnight.

On our visit to Telluride, we were staying at Mountain Village, and were thrilled to park our car at the hotel for the duration of our stay and use the gondola service to bring us up and down the mountain to go out in Telluride or the area around the ski lodges, to go hiking, or just out to dinner.

Telluride, ColoradoTelluride was a stop on a wider trip we took in the Southwestern US (I’ve already blogged about it here). We enjoyed our little escape out of the desert and up in the Rocky Mountains.

Telluride is a pretty Victorian town nestled 8750 feet (2700 meters) high in the Rocky Mountains. The town was established in the late nineteenth century, after gold was discovered there in 1858. Mines were set up, mostly mining tellurium, zinc, copper and silver. The famous Butch Cassidy robbed the local bank in 1889. The small, but well organized Telluride Historical Museum is worth a visit to provide an historical context to the town.

Mountain Lodge, Telluride, ColoradoWe took some nice walks, one up to the Bear Creek waterfall, and enjoyed exploring the town and relaxing in our hotel pool, while the kids waved to those passing overhead in the gondola.

We loved our stay at The Mountain Village Lodge, a fantastic mountain base close to the gondola service. Telluride was a wonderful family vacation destination, one we’d love to visit again.

Next time, I’d love to stay longer and explore The San Juan Skyway – including Ouray, Durango, Silverton and all the stunning scenery in the area. On our way to Bryce Canyon, Utah, we did manage to stop and enjoy the amazing Mesa Verde National Park  – not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Telluride logoTelluride, Colorado


  1. Sounds very well organised. Too often in the mountains in Italy there are huge cars ripping along tiny mountain roads – very unpleasant! I don’t know what the solution would be where we ski as there always needs to be a huge parking lot somewhere. Looking forward to next week !

    • Agreed, Catherine. One of the reasons for going to the mountains in the first place is to escape city smog and breathe the fresh air. I was really impressed with Telluride’s system – plus the mountains are beautiful…

  2. Looks and sounds very interesting and inspiring…🙂

    • Thanks, Ledrake. That, it certainly is. I remember your post on Denmark’s highest ‘mountain’. You may think about installing this gondola system, too. : )

      • ‘hehehe’ – it’s 174m… “lol” 😉

  3. It looks and sounds wonderful!🙂

    ps: When are you back on CC? The queue ain’t the same without you.🙂

    • VERY sweet, Nicola. I’ve been slow getting back after holidays (sigh!), an I have the Matera Fiction Festival (and pitches) coming up next weekend, so I’ll be back after that. BUT I saw Martha’s back this week, so I’ll definitely pop by early to see what’s happening this week! : )

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