Day Trip to Dog-Friendly Telluride, Colorado

While visiting the town of Montrose, Colorado, we took a day trip to the lovely town of Telluride, located amongst the San Juan Mountains, in the Uncompahgre National Forest. The drive there was about an hour-and-a-half and was full of gorgeous, mountainous views. When we eventually pulled into Telluride, we couldn’t wait to explore this little town that we had heard so much about.

Telluride, Colorado, is surrounded with beautiful, colorful peaks in all directions.

The views along the trip to Telluride were full of lovely peaks in every direction!

When we arrived mid-morning, the town was already alive and well, full of plenty of hustle and bustle. As expected, we saw lots and lots of dogs, since we had heard from several people that Telluride is super dog-friendly. This was reassuring, since we had decided to bring our border collie, Max, along for the day trip. Spoiler alert: he had a blast!

While we could have easily spent weeks in this beautiful city, we only had a single day there. However, we saw as much as we could in about six hours time, and it was one of our favorite day trips to date. If you are planning a trip to Telluride (for one day only or longer), we highly recommend the following activities for the quintessential Telluride experience.

We hiked the dog-friendly Ridge Trail from Station San Sophia to Station Mountain Village in Telluride, Colorado. We hiked the dog-friendly Ridge Trail from Station San Sophia to Station Mountain Village in Telluride, Colorado.

1. Explore downtown

The first thing we did in Telluride was to walk Main Street and explore the downtown area. While not a huge area, there are so many shops, restaurants, and more, all located along this strip of road running straight through the center of the city. Most places are dog-friendly, and if they are not, there is ample puppy parking for your dog to wait while you go inside! We had so much fun wandering the various outdoor gear shops and checking out the old town and it’s Western architecture. Max enjoyed it too!

Downtown Telluride, Colorado, is historic and Western.

Downtown Telluride, Colorado, is historic and Western.

Telluride, Colorado is incredibly dog-friendly.

2. Grab a meal, a drink, or a coffee

After wandering Main Street, we stopped at The Coffee Cowboy, a small, bustling coffee cart on a well-decorated patio. Since it was warming up, we both grabbed iced coffees and brought them to the nearby downtown park to enjoy them in the sunshine.

While in Telluride, we didn’t eat at any restaurants, but we have heard amazing things about La Marmotte and Brown Dog Pizza. If we were to return to this little town, we would definitely make the time to eat at one of these two restaurants.

Cowboy Coffee in downtown Telluride, Colorado, is a great place to stop for a latte or cappuccino.

Cowboy Coffee in downtown Telluride, Colorado, is a great place to stop for a latte or cappuccino.

3. Check out the town park

Just off of Main Street is the Telluride Town Park, where we briefly stopped to enjoy the sunshine and views from a park bench. Here, there is a little fishing pond, a playground, ample seating, and plenty of bike trails. This is also the location of the festivals and concerts that frequent Telluride in the warm summer months.

The Telluride Town Park is a great place for a stroll.

4. Stroll along the riverwalk

Adjacent to the Town Park is a beautiful and well-maintained walkway beside the San Miguel River. This trail crosses a few bridges and is totally dog-friendly. Max had a blast splashing in the river, as we enjoyed the mountainous views around us. The river was pretty tiny in mid-July, but we have heard that it is much larger and more powerful in the spring months.

The Telluride Riverside Park is a great place for a stroll. The Telluride Riverside Park is a great place for a stroll.

The Telluride Riverside Park is a great place for a stroll.

5. Ride the FREE gondola (dog-friendly and bike-friendly!)

Our favorite part of our visit to Telluride was riding the free gondola. Yes, you heard that right. The gondola is totally free to ride, and, to top that off, it is dog-friendly to boot! This gondola is used as a form of public transportation in Telluride, and transports visitors from the city of Telluride to Mountain Village on the other side of some tall peaks. There are racks for bikes on every car, and gondolas arrive every fifteen to thirty seconds or so, leaving little wait time.

The views ascending and descending are vast and sweeping, and we would have rode the gondola for the views alone. Max wasn’t the biggest fan of the swinging car, but he did just fine, and he made some new friends each time we rode.

The Telluride gondolas are a free, epic way to see the city and the beautiful sights. The Telluride gondolas are a free, epic way to see the city and the beautiful sights.

The Telluride gondolas are a free, epic way to see the city and the beautiful sights, and they are also dog-friendly!

6. Explore Mountain Village

Once you arrive on the other side of the ridge, you enter Telluride’s sister city of Mountain Village. This lovely town is home to year-round residents, retirees, vacationers, and the like. It is a bit quieter than the city of Telluride, but there is still plenty to do. Restaurants and shops abound, as well as lots of hiking and biking trails. If you wish to go even higher, there are lots of ski lifts which can transport you and your bike to a much higher elevation. And, obviously, this is the hub for the famous Telluride winter sports that we would so love to return for.

Mountain Village, Colorado, is a beautiful town near Telluride, Colorado, that can be accessed via the free gondola.

Mountain Village, Colorado, is a beautiful town near Telluride, Colorado, that can be accessed via the free gondola.

7. Hike or bike a trail

From the top of Mountain Village, there are tons of hiking and biking trails. We opted for a two-mile downhill hike on the Ridge Trail, which begins at Station San Sophia, a stop halfway between Telluride Station and Station Mountain Village. The trail then descends about a thousand feet through aspen forests with plenty of views, ending back at Mountain Village. It is for hikers only, which is ideal for a popular mountain biking area. As is everything in Telluride, it is very dog-friendly, and Max was able to hike with us off-leash.

If you are into mountain biking, this is also an ideal area, filled with tons of trails. The gondola makes it very easy to descend many downhill trails, without ever having to deal with uphill climbing. We heard from several mountain bikers with whom we shared gondolas that they could easily bomb eight to ten trails in a single day.

We hiked the dog-friendly Ridge Trail from Station San Sophia to Station Mountain Village in Telluride, Colorado. We hiked the dog-friendly Ridge Trail from Station San Sophia to Station Mountain Village in Telluride, Colorado.

The view of Telluride, Colorado from the Ridge Trail is vast and lovely. Vermont Smoke meat sticks are a delicious and nutritious hiking snack!

8. Hike to Bridal Veil Falls

Another popular activity in the Telluride area is to hike to Bridal Veil Falls. We didn’t have time for this during our visit, but we have heard that it is a beautiful hike, especially in the springtime when the snowmelt makes the falls roar. The trail is 3.6 miles in length and ascends 1,600 feet to a 365-foot tall waterfall. It is a family-friendly and dog-friendly trail that is very popular with both tourists and locals.

Alternatively, you can drive to the top of the falls with a 4×4, high-clearance vehicle. From the top, you can hike to the waterfall basin or just observe the roaring water from above.

Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful waterfall and a great hike, just outside of Telluride, Colorado.

Laughably, we read online that the town’s name comes from a phrase uttered by locals in the nineteenth century, “to hell you ride,” which eventually morphed into the name “Telluride.” To us, there was nothing hellish about this area, but we could see why people of the 1800s would consider the drive here frightening. At one point, Telluride was only accessible via a series of alpine mountain passes, that are considered off-roading challenges to this day. A popular trail is Imogene, an eleven-mile trail from Ouray to Telluride which takes upwards of four hours to drive.

We really loved Telluride and even remarked to each other that we could see ourselves calling these mountains home one day. The year-round outdoorsy culture and beautiful views make this an ideal spot to vacation or just visit periodically. We met some vacationers who told us that they have been visiting two times a year for the past eight years and have not yet grown tired of the plethora of things to do. I think that speaks to the town’s fun and lively culture, and I am already looking forward to returning here for a longer visit one day.

The view of Telluride, Colorado from the Ridge Trail is vast and lovely.

Have you been to Telluride, Colorado? How was your experience! Feel free to share your thoughts or anything fun to do in the area that I missed below!

About Samantha Binger

Samantha BingerSam is one-half of the Life Among Pines crew. She is an animal-loving bookworm, an avid photographer and an amateur chef/wanna-be foodie. Travel and adventure are two of her biggest passions in life, and she loves living life on the road, where she can explore new places on the daily. When not writing a new blog post, you can find her sipping tea, hiking with her dogs, sampling a local brewery, or fulfilling orders for her Etsy shop, MugsySupplyHouse. Feel free to reach out and say hi!