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.
Western Colorado is SUCH a beautiful and mesmerizing part of Colorado mixed with mountains, mesas, and intermountain desert. This part of Colorado is more rural with majestic world-class beauty.
We lived in Grand Junction for over ten years. When we lived in Grand Junction, one of our favorite weekend warrior activities was an adventure to the San Juan Mountains to dink around Telluride and Ouray, Colorado. Keep reading for the local scoop on fun things to do in and around Telluride when you only have 24 hours.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a commission if you purchase through our links at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
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. This Gondola is pet-friendly and handicap accessible. Yes, it is still open during COVID.
Check out the Visit Telluride website for additional details. Bring a camera! We especially love the free gondola during the summer and fall.
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).
After your descent down Telluride Trail, trek 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—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.
Are you tired after hiking down the Telluride Trail? Well, hop back in the car and drive to Ouray to soak in the Ouray Hot Springs.
Ouray is about an hour from Telluride with a beautiful drive through the mountains. Relax and romanticize about the glorious day. Savor the views and the moment.
If you are up for a different hot springs adventure, Orvis Hot Springs outside of Ridgway is clothing optional. Super fun at night. Mmmmm… Lobster Pot (name of one of the pools).
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!
We love staying at Chipeta Sun Lodge. The first time I stayed there was for a private yoga retreat when I was doing my 200-hour Iyengar yoga teacher certification. Chipeta Sun 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, fun, healthy breakfast options, and charming rooms. We love the sushi happy hour in the summertime. You must check it out.
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.
We hope you enjoy these ideas!
Have a great trip!
Ashlee & Pablo
Are you hanging out in Western Colorado longer?
Have you been to Grand Junction or to see the Colorado National Monument?
You might enjoy our other Colorado articles:
Have you been to Telluride? What did you do while visiting the Telluride area?
Follow us on Instagram
I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!