Telluride, CO, Sep. 11, 2001–I should reveal my bias from the beginning. I love the serrated ridges of the San Juan, the soft slopes of green and yellow grasses that rise from the canyon floor unbroken, their integrity eventually interrupted by verdant evergreens and impeccable aspen. The hues resonate against the rusty earth, gray peaks, and unblemished blue skies. In the winter, a downy curtain of white draws across all but the sharpest crests. But this is summer, in Telluride, and the skis are gathering dust in the closet while my mountain bike is collecting the same though from use, not lack thereof.
Mountain biking in Telluride is a treat. Rides range from screaming downhills to twisting singletracks among the aspen to mellow explorations of back roads and sea-like pastures. There is something for everyone here and the aprés scene also leaves little to be desired.
Local’s Loop This is a mellow ride with great views. Ride 3 miles west out of town and turn right on the airport road. Climb 2 miles and turn right on Last Dollar Road. Follow this road 2.3 miles to the bottom of a long hill. Cross a bridge and turn left onto Deep Creek Road 639. Descend 2 miles to Hwy 145 and turn left. Turn right on the second dirt road on the right. In .7 miles, intersect with Illium Valley Road 63L. Ride past Telluride Gravel and continue for 2.5 miles. Ride .5 miles past Camp Illium and look for the Galloping Goose trail on the left. Follow the trail for 2.75 miles to Hwy 145 and ride back to town.
Distance: 19 miles
Estimated time: 3.5 hours
Bear Creek Falls Be aware of all the walkers, especially on the descent! From the clock tower (Colorado and Oak) go 2 blocks east on Colorado to Pine St. Turn right and ride to the end of Pine, where the trail begins. Climb steadily for 2.5 miles. Bear Creek road ends after 2.3 miles at a huge boulder. Leave your bike here and climb .25 miles to the base of the waterfall. Go back from whence you came.
Distance: 4.6 miles
Estimated time: 1.5 hours
Telluride Trail Do laps on the free gondola or try this loop for some extra exercise. From the clock tower, ride down Oak St. to its end at Pacific St. Between the gondola station and chair #8, there is a ski service road that starts at a bridge across the San Miguel River. Ride .2 miles to an intersection and turn left. Switchback up a steep and rocky road for just over 1 mile. Turn right on a very steep road. Pedal hard for 1.7 miles to the upper gondola station. Enjoy the views and rip down the way you came.
Distance: 7.2 miles
Estimated time: 1.5-2 hours
For more rides and rental information, contact:
150 West Colorado Ave.
P.O. Box 1140
Telluride, CO 81435
217 West Colorado Ave.
P.O. Box 1620
Telluride, CO 81435
119 Lost Creek Lane
Telluride (Mountain Village), CO 81435
And you gotta eat somewhere, right? Check out Rustico Ristorante for deliciously authentic Italian cuisine or the New Sheridan Chop House for meaty steaks and other game. If you’re looking for a little Asian new wave flare, hit Honga’s on Oak St. If views and reinvented classics are your thing, check out Allred’s in Sophia Station, the upper gondola house.
Don’t forget to wear a helmet and drink lots of water!