While it may be famous for being a ski resort, there’s something happening in Telluride just about every week in the summer. This laid-back, hippie-chick mountain town plays host to everything from wine and food events to major music acts and, of course, outdoor and fitness adventures. The picture-postcard setting provides the perfect backdrop for the historic main streets filled with boutiques and coffee shops, and a top-notch foodie scene.
For outdoor summer adventure, the San Juan Mountains are the ultimate playground. Hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding are popular activities, with plenty of protected green spaces and well-marked trails leading to big payoffs such as spectacular waterfalls.
The upcoming Telluride Film Festival (August 29-September 1) is a prestigious event that has brought together industry masters since 1973, showcasing some of the best filmmakers over a magical weekend. This film festival is more low-key, dedicated to the love of the art rather than the hoopla of more high-profile, celebrity-focused festivals.
For something a little quirkier, check out the Telluride Mushroom Festival (August 15-19). Bringing together all things fungal, mushroom connoisseurs are in good company among general enthusiasts and experts in activities such as guided hikes to identify and hunt mushrooms, lectures and cooking demonstrations.
As the Executive Chef of Hotel Madeline, Cory Sargent says that harvesting the mushrooms by hand makes this festival a very rewarding one as a chef. “Being able to be in the wilderness and hunt for chanterelles, oyster, and porcini mushrooms is just magical,” he says. “We hire the best local mushroom hunter in town, ‘Sir Jesse,’ to take the clientele out into the woods to hunt for everything from wild onions, edible flowers, & all the different varieties of mushrooms.”
While they are hunting, Sargent and his sous chefs create a four course mushroom dinner in a tent with views of the mountains. Through each course of the amazing meal, Sir Jesses explains the different mushrooms as a sommelier pairs them with wine.
In September, the Blues & Brews Festival brings together two of many people’s favorite things: music and beer. The weekend (September 12-14) features Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and the Violent Femmes; as well as more than 50 microbreweries on hand and a Grand Beer Tasting on Saturday. When B.B. King performed here in 2004, he told the crowd, “Out of the 90 different countries I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than what you have here.”
For those whose interest lies more in health and fitness, the Telluride WOW Festival (September 18-21) is a health and wellness event that brings together world-class instructors and athletes for fitness classes, lectures and the latest in nutrition and medical trends.
Where to stay: Hotel Madeline is a luxurious yet comfortable hotel that is completely at one with its setting in Mountain Village. Part of the Leading Hotels of the World, Madeline is majestically situated on the peaks above the town of Telluride, the hotel is easily accessible via the free public gondola system — and you get amazing views to boot.
Don’t miss a highlight of the hotel – its amazing food at Rev Restaurant and Smak Bar, often sourced straight from the downtown farmer’s market by Chef de Cuisine Bud Thomas. Thomas and Executive Chef Cory Sargent share a passion for local ingredients foraged from the market and ranches, farms and fisheries across southwest Colorado, putting the taste of the Rockies right on the plate for their guests. Right now the Hotel Madeline is offering a special where you can get the third night free when you book two nights.
For more planning information: check out the comprehensive Telluride Summer Recreation Guide.