The historic town of Telluride sits near the end of a picturesque box canyon surrounded by majestic 14,000-foot peaks. Little more than a mile and a half long, the town seems much bigger than its diminutive size suggests. The town’s core with its Victorian houses, brick buildings, and storefront facades is well-preserved because of its designation as a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. The listing is the highest possible by the Secretary of the Interior’s Office. It is extremely rare that an entire town has retained much of its historic flavor, and it makes for a very unique experience.
The town is a menagerie of colorful Victorian homes, delectable restaurants, designer boutiques, art galleries, outfitters, historic buildings, parks and more. In the winter, you can access the world-class ski resort from one of the ski lifts that terminate in town or by the gondola. There are also opportunities for Nordic skiing as well as snowshoeing nearly at your doorstep. During the summer, there are festivals and events nearly every week. Recreational opportunities abound with hiking, biking, fly-fishing, camping, 4x4ing, running and more in and around town.
At over 9,500 of elevation, Mountain Village stands in contrast to the historic town of Telluride. The town was founded in 1986 to serve the growing ski resort. The Village Core is home to shops, restaurants, hotels, office space, homes, and condominiums designed around a European-style village with cobblestone plazas, European street lamps and even red British telephone boxes. Ski runs intersect much of the town, and give direct access to the slopes for many residences. Mountain Village is contemporary alpine sophistication in counterpart to the rustic charm that is the Town of Telluride.
In 1995 Mountain Village became incorporated into its own government. The town’s full time year-round residents number around 1,400. Mountain Village has become a progressive community with green initiatives, energy conservation, recycling and sustainable growth. In the winter, the village serves as the hub for the ski resort with events, activities and outdoor recreation such as skiing, snowshoeing, Jingle Jam, Nordic skiing, Cool Sculpt, ice-skating, holiday activities as well as many other things to do. Summer brings many other happenings, entertainment and recreation opportunities including a summer concert series, downhill bike park, golf, hiking, disc golf, bouldering, fishing, festivals, a farmer’s market and much more.
The gondola was built to not only transport skiers in the winter and bikers and hikers during the summer, but also to link the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village. Affectionately known as the “G”, it became the first and only free public transportation system of its kind in the United States. The trip between the two towns is an approximately 13-minute, spectacularly scenic ride from Mountain Village Station to San Sophia Station at 10,500 feet, then into Telluride at the Oak Street Station. The gondola runs seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight in summer and winter. The gondola does close for maintenance in late spring and late autumn.