How to Spend 24 Hours in (and Around) Telluride

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You can experience the quaint mountain town of Telluride easily in 24 hours or less. Whether you live in Colorado, the surrounding area, or are flying in for a vacation, below are our top recommendations when you only have 24 hours in and around Telluride, Colorado.

We lived in Grand Junction for over ten years. When we lived in Grand Junction, one of our favorite weekend activities was an adventure to the San Juan Mountains to dink around Telluride, Ouray, and Ridgway. Keep reading to get a local scoop on fun things to do in and around Telluride when you only have 24 hours or are visiting for the weekend.

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How to Spend 24 Hours in the Telluride Area

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image credit: iStock.com/danicachang

Western Colorado is such a beautiful and mesmerizing part of the state mixed with mountains, mesas, and intermountain desert. This part of Colorado is more rural and has majestic world-class beauty. We’re sharing all the best things to do in the Telluride area. First we’ll share all the best things to do in Telluride, then lead you on over to Ouray and Ridgway.

Things to Do in Telluride

Ride the Free Mountain Village Gondola in Telluride

Telluride is a small town tucked away in a massive box canyon. It is best to get into town and start the day early to find a place to park and beat the crowds.

If you are not from the area, you most likely flew in from Denver, Grand Junction, or the Montrose Airport(s). Find a place to park in town and walk over to the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola.

Hop on the enclosed gondola and bask in the majestic San Juan Mountain scenery. The gondola is pet-friendly and handicap accessible.

Check out the Visit Telluride website for additional details. Bring a camera! We especially love the free gondola during the summer and fall.

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Riding the gondola in the summer

Hike the Telluride Trail

Hop off the gondola at the first stop to take pictures. From there, if you want to hike around (and if it is not wintertime), there are trails to run, walk, or bike.

We love the Telluride Trail for a morning hike. It goes straight down into town. Lots of people run this section as well. There are great views. It can be steep, so wear hiking shoes and bring water, maybe even some hiking poles. It is a blue run (for ski/snowboard season).

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Eat Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride

After your trek down the Telluride Trail, head to the main Telluride strip and grab a table at Brown Dog Pizza. Are you hungry? Are you gluten-free? Do you like pizza and beer? Who doesn’t like pizza and beer?!

Brown Dog Pizza has AWESOME gluten-free pizza. They have regular pizza and many other delicious menu items. Ask for a table upstairs with a window to watch the town meanderings.

There are many other great options to eat in town, just pop in a random restaurant! Have a food adventure.

When you are done with food, check out all the local shops— it is such a cute town to explore. We love Telluride so much.

There is a trail through town by the stream you can check out while you are wandering around.

Things to Do in Ouray

After you’ve had fun exploring Telluride, hop in your car and head to Ouray. Ouray is about an hour from Telluride with a beautiful drive through the mountains.

Visit the Ouray Hot Springs

The Ouray Hot Springs are a great place to relax and savor the views. It is surrounded by mountains.

Treat Yourself to Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee

Ahhh, time for a post soak snack and coffee. Head on over to Ouray’s main street strip and grab a delicious dessert or coffee at Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee. You deserve it – you probably hiked (or went skiing) at high elevation today. Take a box of chocolates home and treat yourself or a friend. What is that saying – oh, life is short, eat dessert first!

Things to Do in Ridgway

Visit Orvis Hot Springs

If you are up for a different hot springs adventure, Orvis Hot Springs, outside of Ridgway, is clothing optional. It is super fun to visit at night. Check out the ‘Lobster Pot’ (the name of one of the hot pools).

Stay at the Chipeta Lodge

The Chipeta Lodge is in Ridgway, Colorado, which is about 20 minutes north of Ouray. It is an hour from Telluride if you head straight to or from the lodge.

This fun adobe-themed lodge and spa has a pool, hot tub, rooftop bar, happy hour libations and food, healthy breakfast options, and charming rooms. We love the sushi happy hour in the summer time. You have to check it out!

We love staying at the Chipeta Lodge. The first time I ever stayed here was for a private yoga retreat when I was doing my 200-hour Iyengar yoga teacher certification. Then we stayed again for a wedding close by. It is fantastic!

Visit Ridgway State Park

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Ridgway State Park

If you have more time to adventure, there is a paved trail in Ridgway accessible from the central town park, which leads to Ridgway State Park along the river. Ridgway State Park has gorgeous views on top of the hill.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a place to take a weekend trip in Colorado, we highly recommend the Telluride area. The scenery is beautiful and the town and surrounding area have plenty of activities to keep you busy. Make sure to check out the free gondola ride – it offers some great views of the area. And if you have time, be sure to explore some of the hiking trails in the area; they offer up some amazing sights.

Have fun on your trip!

Ashlee & Pablo


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view of telluride downtown with flower bed and mountain gondola overlooking town
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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer and founder of The Happiness Function. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and is passionate about the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.

2 Comments

  1. Juli Ames-Curtis on October 15, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Wow! Great GF pizza, yummy chocolate, stunning scenery, fabulous hiking trails-and the Chipeta Sun Lodge to top it off. I may want to stay a week!!! Thanks for the inspiration.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 16, 2020 at 10:52 am

      Hi Juli! Thanks so much for reading our post. The Telluride area is amazing. When you go, we would love to hear more about it. Have a beautiful day.