The historic mining town of Telluride is located 39 miles southwest of Ridgway. The 50-minute drive from Ridgway takes you over the impressive, oft-photographed Dallas Divide to the Junction at Highway 145 toward Telluride, which then leads you through the stunning San Miguel Canyon along the San Miguel River through the “Down Valley” communities of Placerville and Sawpit until you arrive in Telluride at 8,750 feet at the base of a box canyon surrounded by 13,000-foot mountain peaks and waterfalls.
Telluride was first established as a town in 1878 by settlers who came seeking their fortunes in the area’s many mines of silver, zinc, copper, lead, and gold ores. With the establishment of roads into this remote area, and then the railroad, the town flourished and the population grew to over 5,000, made up of many legendary and colorful inhabitants. Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in Telluride. After the crash in silver prices in 1893 and World War I, Telluride practically became a ghost town with a population of about 600 by 1960. In the early 1970’s, it was resurrected and began to flourish again with the discovery of its “white gold” (snow) and the development of the ski resort.
Today, Telluride, along with her sister city, Mountain Village, is a world-renowned, year-round ski and golf resort with a population of around 2,000 full-time residents. It is also well-known for its summertime festivals of music and film or food and wine. Telluride is a favorite destination for residents of surrounding communities, who come to enjoy world-class downhill and cross-country skiing, gorgeous and challenging hiking trails, thrilling Jeep roads, art, music, film, and other cultural events, birding, wildlife watching, photography, and mountain biking, fine dining, brewpubs, and coffee shops, all of which offer a lot of “local color.”
Telluride’s rich history is still alive and evident in the Telluride Historic District, which includes a significant portion of the town and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmarks. In recent years, Telluride has become popular among many celebrities who live or have lived here, such as Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Kevin Kostner, Oliver Stone, Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, and Neil Young with his now wife, Daryl Hannah.
Real estate in and around Telluride and Mountain Village is anything but affordable, but for those who can afford it, the opportunities are numerous and diverse, from historic Victorians, condos and townhomes, elegant slope-side ski homes, ranchettes, and sprawling, custom-built mountainside jaw-dropping view homes. Whether looking to live or play in Telluride, it has something to offer everyone of all socio-economic walks of life.