(click on images to enlarge)
Telluride is tucked into a box canyon surrounded by 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks. The town of Telluride is just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long. Because of its significant role in the history of the American West, the core area of Telluride was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. This listing is the highest level of historic status available from the United States Secretary of the Interior. These sites are so special that they are eligible for consideration to become national parks. With the town’s colorful Victorian-era homes, clapboard storefronts, boutiques, art galleries, gourmet restaurants, historic buildings and more, Telluride is a delight to explore. Our citizens are committed to preserving Telluride’s historically significant architecture, open space, traditional design elements and, most of all, Telluride’s small-town mountain lifestyle.
The town of Telluride is the county seat and most populous town of San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Colorado. The town is a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains. The first gold mining claim was made in the mountains above Telluride in 1875 and early settlement of what is now Telluride followed. The town itself was founded in 1878 as “Columbia”, but due to confusion with a California town of the same name, was renamed Telluride in 1887, for the gold telluride minerals found in other parts of Colorado. These telluride minerals were never located near Telluride, causing the town to be named for a mineral which was never mined there. However, the area’s mines for some years provided zinc, lead, copper, silver, and other gold ores.
Telluride sits in a box canyon. Steep forested mountains and cliffs surround it, with Bridal Veil Falls at the head of the canyon. Numerous weathered ruins of old mining operations dot the hillsides. A free gondolaconnects the town with its companion town, Mountain Village, Colorado, at the base of the ski area. Telluride and the surrounding area have featured prominently in pop culture. It is the subject of several popular songs. It is especially known for its ski resort and slopes during the winter as well as an extensive festival schedule during the summer.
The Telluride Historic District, which includes a significant portion of the town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmarks. The town population was 2,325 in the 2010 United States Census.
Black Bear Road is a notorious jeep trail that starts from 11,018-foot (3,358 m) summit of Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550 (between Ouray and Silverton) to Telluride. The Black Bear Road crests at Black Bear Pass, elevation 12,840 feet (3,910 m). The road descends over a set of infamous switchbacks as it navigates the heights above Telluride. The road passes Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado, the highest waterfall in Colorado. The trail/road can be hiked, biked or jeeped.