Telluride, Colorado. Editorial credit: Kristi Blokhin /

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride is the most populous town of San Miguel County, located in the southwestern part of Colorado, United States. Telluride initially started as a mining camp, but currently, it is well known for its world-class skiing and stunning ambiance. The town is one of five Colorado communities with places labeled as National Historic Landmark District. The citizens are committed to preserving the town's historically significant architecture and traditional design elements.

Geography Of Telluride

Colorado Avenue facing the San Juan Mountains
Colorado Avenue facing the San Juan Mountains in Telluride, Colorado. Editorial credit: Nick Fox /

The town of Telluride is situated in an isolated spot at an altitude of 2,670 meters in the southwestern part of the US State of Colorado. The town covers a total area of 5.76 sq. km. There are two waterfalls on the eastern side of the town of Telluride: Ingram Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The most common way to enter the town from the western side is through Colorado Route 145. In addition to this, the two high mountain passes, the Black Bear Pass and the Imogene Pass, can also be used to enter the town. The town of Telluride is served by the Telluride Regional Airport, which is located about 9.65km west of the town. 

Climate Of Telluride

Aerial view of Telluride and the San Juan Mountains in winter
Aerial view of Telluride and the San Juan Mountains in winter. 

According to the Köppen climate classification, the town of Telluride experiences a humid continental climate. January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging -6°C, while July is the hottest month, with temperatures averaging 25.3°C. The town receives frequent thunderstorms during summer and snowfall during winter. Because of the terrain and altitude, Telluride gets an average of 177 inches of snow every year.

Population And Economy Of Telluride 

Visitors enjoy the end of ski season at Telluride Ski Resort
Visitors enjoy the end of ski season at Telluride Ski Resort. Editorial credit: photo-Denver /

According to the 2000 census, about 2,221 people live in the town of Telluride. The city's population had increased from the 1990 census, which showed that the city was home to 1,309 people. The city has a population density of 1,207.8 inhabitants per sq. km. About 92.57% of the city's population is considered White, of whom most are non-Hispanic. The Hispanic group accounts for 7.20% of the city's population, Native Americans at 0.81%, Asians at 0.72%, African Americans at 0.41%, Other races at 4.14%, and 1.35% from two or more races. The census also revealed that there were 1,013 households and 357 families residing in the town. The median income for a household in the town was $51,938, whereas the median income for a family was $66,136. Telluride was known for silver mining which was the only industry until 1972. With the installation of the first ski lift and the construction of the Telluride Ski Resort, the economy shifted from relying on mining to tourism services and different industries. Today, the largest industries in Telluride are Accommodation & Food Services, Technical Services, and Real Estate, Rental & Leasing.

Tourist Attractions In Telluride

Two skiers descend the Mountain Quail ski run at the Telluride Ski Resort
Two skiers descend Mountain Quail ski run at the Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride, Colorado. Editorial credit: DBSOCAL /

Surrounded by high peaks, Telluride is an incredible place to visit in winters and summers. In summer, visitors venture into the alpine and ride along winding old mining roads and meandering meadows. The area is filled with lakes that people visit to relax, have picnics, and do other recreational activities. Telluride is nestled in a box canyon, and with the surrounding peaks, it offers majestic views at all turns. In winter, visitors enjoy the consistent snowfall, which allows them to glide and bike on winding paths and enjoy the Telluride Ski Resort - North America’s top-rated ski resort. Visitors also enjoy the colorful Victorian-era homes with European architecture in the historic mining town and designated National Historic Landmark. Just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long, Telluride has a lot to offer with its saloons, spas, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants. 

History Of Telluride

The Ute Indians used the San Juan Mountains as a summer camp, and the Spanish explorers gave the mountain range its name in the 1700s. The Mountains attracted miners looking for silver and gold. By the mid-1870s, the Sheridan Mine was the first of many mines to be set up, and a tent was established in the valley below. The Columbia mine camp became a town in 1878, and its name was changed to Telluride. Towns established around mining work usually flourished when a railroad connected the town to others. It was the same case to Telluride when the railroad came in 1890, as many immigrants seeking their fortunes arrived at the town and turned it into a thriving community of 5,000 inhabitants. Mining was a significant contributor to the town’s economic boom and prosperity. However, silver prices crashed in 1893, followed by the First World War. The two events led to the collapse of the mining business and caused a decrease in the population, which gradually dwindled from thousands to hundreds as miners moved on to other places. In 1972, the Telluride Ski Resort was opened, which changed the community's character, and the town spun back into high gear. Cultural events, festivals, and music and art performances were founded and flowed through the seasons, attracting visitors year-round. In 1961, the United States Secretary of the Interior listed the core area of Telluride as National Historic Landmark District due to its significant role in the history of the American West. The listing is the highest level of historic status available to sites. 

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