Enjoying Autumn in Telluride

I love September! We were lucky enough to have my mom visit us this past weekend so we packed up the car and drove to Telluride. The gang included myself, my husband, my little sister, and my mom. Fall is jusssst in the air there with a cool chilly breeze in the morning and evening but nice sunny days. Plus the Aspen leaves were just starting to turn yellow! I truly hope that every human gets to experience being surrounded by canopies of golden leaves. It’s magic. Hokay! So, here is what we did:

Day 1

Telluride is a good 6 hour haul from Colorado Springs so by the time we got there, we were tired of sitting down and wanted some fresh air but didn’t have too much time to do anything crazy. The place we stayed at was a block walk from the (free!) gondola, so we rode that up the ski mountain to enjoy the views. Afterwards, we walked around downtown, enjoyed a gorgeous red-hued sunset, and went out to dinner at a delicious Thai restaurant called Siam. I highly recommend the Tom Kha Gai soup and the drunken noodles. Noods.

Day 2

This was all about a challenging hike. Keep in mind, my mother lives a sea level, is a certain age I will not disclose, and still crushed it up to 12,400 feet and over 8.5 miles! She was definitely feeling the altitude and oxygen deprivation and had to take many a break, but I’m so so so glad she got to witness the beauty of Ice Lake and Island Lake. To be fair, she’s a little crazy anyways so we weren’t sure if she was encephalopathic, if she had snuck in a “special” brownie, or if she was just her usual self. The weather got cold and windy at the top and there were even a few snowflakes, but there were brief periods of time that the sun shone on the lake, lighting.it.up. I’m not sure everybody enjoys the 4WD drive long along Ophir Pass as much as my husband and I do. Its a very narrow 4WD shelf road over a mountain pass with scree field on one side and cliff aka tumbling to your death on the other side with a hairpin turn added in there for funsies. But we survived! If you look closely at the picture on the right, you can see a tiny speck of a white truck.

The hike up to the lakes is almost as good as the destination. It’s just the most perfect little valley with huge rocks and water features thrown in. There was a lovely golden ochre undertone in the vegetation that made it feel very much like autumn.

So now I’m going to shut up and just let y’all appreciate this.

I mean….what??? God creates some BEAUTIFUL THINGS YALL. I chose not to filter or adjust color on these photos at all because the real deal speaks for itself. But also nothing can do it justice and its 7598475x more stunning in person and can bring you to tears.

Day 3

Some of our members were pretty dang sore so on day 3, we compromised and did half of an active day in the morning, and half of a chill day in the afternoon.

After driving up to Bridalveil Falls, these two adventurous fools and I tackled the Via Ferrata, a traversing route spanning the Box Canyon with views of Bridalveil Falls and Telluride 500′ beneath us while we were suspended on iron rungs by a harness! I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again and I know I’m safe, but this still gets my heart pumping. Especially when a nice gust of wind hits ya.

Then in the afternoon and evening, after watching football on the couch for a hot minute, we ventured around the shops of downtown, including an apothecary (which made my hippie heart swoon), a coffee shop, and a brewery.

The fourth day was just driving home and hating ugly views of the San Juan range on the way. Not tooooo shabby my friend.

Our Favorite Colorado Summer Trips

Living in Colorado for the past three years has been an absolute dream. It’s a constant feast for the eyes and playground and worship service all at once. The possibilities are actually endless.

Although some people are saying “fall is in the air” (I get it. Kind of. I’m just not ready yet.), I’m saying pop one of these getaways into your schedule over the next few weeks or plan them in advance for next year. We can still have summer on our mind for a little while longer! These three trips/activities have been our go-to’s time and again, so if you’re able to do them, you won’t be disappointed!

Wildflower viewing in Crested Butte

The state flower (purple and white) is the Columbine. The other stalk-like purple one is the lupine. The yellow ones are called Aspen sunflowers. The white bouquet-like one is a cow parsnip. The reddish orange (one of my favorites) is the Indian paintbrush. This is just a fraction of what you will come across. Imagine frolicking up valleys and along ridgelines with every turn bringing a different display of color and the Sound of Music soundtrack playing. The.hills.are.alive.son. I mean have you ever seen anything so pretty? It makes my face excited like this:

Our favorite trails to enjoy the wildflowers are:

Rustler’s Gulch Trail: We hit this up at the end of the July and due to the crazy moisture this spring, we saw species of flowers we’d never come across!

Snodgrass Trail: This is very very accessible from town and is also fun to mountain bike on.

Baxter Gulch Trail: This is a ridge hike so you can see town and Mt. Crested Butte along the way. The best for yellow flowers!

As an aside, Crested Butte is the most adorable mountain town ever and offers some bomb food. Go to Secret Stash pizza and get the Woodward without egg. Our second favorite option is Bonez for their deliciously strong margaritas and make-it-in-front-of-you guac. I’m not much of a drinker so just one of these makes my quads go like jello.

Hiking to high alpine lakes

So there’s this magic thing that happens in some areas of Colorado (and from what I’ve seen, Canada…and Argentina…etc…bucket list…) where the lakes are so freeeeaking blue and gorgeous that no filter is needed. The water in these lakes is actually glacial melt that feeds in during the spring and summer. The fine rock and sediment material floats at the top of the lake rather than sinking down, allowing the sun to reflect off this and make turquoise food coloring. Check it!

The good news is, these hikes are not as hard as 14’ers, so they’re pretty accessible. Expect 8-10 miles and a decent climb of a couple thousand feet, but not too high of an altitude. If you’re lucky, the skies will be clear and the sun will hit that water and light it up to where you have to blink excessively to determine if it’s real. Hop in the water if you have time! Quite refreshing.

Ice Lake and Island Lake outside of Ouray/Silverton are a 2-for-1

Blue Lake outside of Ouray/Telluride has 3 lakes but I’d say the first one is the prettiest

Channel the Wild West in Telluride

Man this place just makes you feel like you are at the edge of the world. I know you’re not. But there’s something about the remoteness and remnants of its mining history that makes you feel like you’re in the Wild West. This summer we learned that Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery occurred here, yippee! There are numerous music festivals that take place here yearly and heading to the Bluegrass Festival sometime is on our list! Regardless, roll the windows down and crank some of that twang on your way to the trailhead. Here are some favorite activities we’ve done there:

Sneffels Highline Trail: The trailhead starts right from town so it’s easy peasy to get to. This is a pretty long and challenging hike but the views are spectacular.

Via Ferrata: This is less of a hike and more like the coolest/weirdest thing ever. For part of the 3 mile trail you’re just walking sideways along a thin but sturdy cliffside. For other parts, you’re harnessed in and traversing along on very exposed areas relying on small iron footholds. Wear a helmet and be safe! It’s honestly not as scary or skill-dependent as it looks and is totally worth it.

Wilson Peak: This stunning 14,023′ mountain is the inspiration for the Coors can. It’s so 3D! So pointy! So picturesque. The climb to the top is a haul but such a fun scrambly adventure. Not for the faint of heart or clumsy of ankle. And you must enjoy one of said beverages at the top with a friend.

Telluride Gondola: If all that seems a little too intense, a really good option is to take the free gondola from downtown Telluride up to the ski resort and have a walk-about up there. The 360* views are gorgeous, limited mobility is required, and dogs are allowed on the gondola!

That’s about it for now. Get your butt out here. Hope this inspired you.