Despite its ever-growing popularity, Telluride continues to hold tight to its mining-town roots and small-town charm. That's good because come summer, when the sun lingers longer over the town's colorful Victorian 8,750-foot-high downtown, its streets bustle with festivals of food, music, wine and art. In early May, spend a weekend learning about contemporary environmental issues at Mountain Film. In June, the Bluegrass Festival infuses the town with crowds and some of the nation's best bluegrass, folk and country music. Food and wine junkies will want to coincide their visits with either the Wine or Mushroom festivals (June and August, respectively). But also allow time to experience the more organic side of a Telluride summer. Bikers and hikers rave about the 2,126-vertical-foot ascent up Telluride Mountain. If your lungs aren't up to the climb, hop the free gondola and scream down Telluride Trail, or just take in the spectacular views of the San Juans. For a less-taxing, up-close look at Telluride's stunning wilderness, float down the San Miguel River, or ride a horse across Wilson Mesa. Golfers will feel like super-heroes as they watch their drives soar 15 percent farther at the Telluride Ski and Golf Club (970-728-6157), located at 9,300 feet above sea level. Don't be surprised when this small town takes your breath away. It could be the altitude, but it's more likely the beauty.
DON'T MISS The Telluride Film Festival at the beginning of September, with free outdoor showings and a mountain-top town picnic.
BEST DEAL The Adventure-A-Day package: Three nights' lodging at the Mountainside Inn, a half-day of river rafting or a Jeep Tour, and a half-day guided mountain bike tour, starting at $253 per person. Call (888) 783-0257, or visit www.gotelluride.org