Telluride, Colo. Summer, 2012-One look at the mighty San Juan Mountains that surround the historic town of Telluride in southwest Colorado is a good indicator that summer fun comes with some serious pitches and elevations. And it requires some serious equipment to make the most of whatever adventure visitors have in mind. Options range from heart-thumping mountain bike rides, rafting rapids in rivers left icy from the winter runoff, or casting a line into a serene mountain stream. Then, there’s the more social activities such as jeep tours, horseback trails rides, hot air balloon rides, and kid’s camps. The legendary Butch Cassidy may have robbed his first bank here more than a century ago, but today’s wild times come from the outdoors–not outlaws.
Planning and outfitting a modern day adventure in and around Telluride can be organized efficiently at the aptly named Adventure Desk inside Telluride Sports on Main Street in the center of town. Their experienced staff of long-time locals can help visitors pick what to do–and what gear they’ll need to do it. Whether mountain biking around town or on a technical single track trail, planning a camping trip for one night or several, or prepping for a trip to the river for either fly fishing or floating, all the necessary equipment, clothing, and accessories are available in this single location.
These steeply pitched mountains draw mountain bikers of all ability levels. Trails range from easy to difficult, and dazzling views are the norm. Telluride Sports has a full fleet of mountain bikes for rent with front and full suspension. They also rent “tag-alongs” for younger children, tow-behind carriages and baby joggers for $27 day. Bike rentals can also be picked up in Mountain Village at either Telluride Sports in Gondola Plaza or Neve Sports. One of the most popular options is to take a free gondola ride from downtown up to Mountain Village, rent a bike, and then with the expertise of the Telluride Outside guides, take a tour down the single-track trails back into town.
The rivers and streams around Telluride offer plenty of water recreation. Rafting and fly fishing trips can be booked with two top outfitters–Telluride Outside or Mild to Wild Rafting right inside Telluride Sports. Half and full day raft trips range from gentle to boisterous with sections of the San Miguel River delivering anywhere from Class I to Class III rapids. Costs range from $80-$125 for a half day depending on the section of the river or $145-175 for a full day. Fly fishing trips have space for both novices and experienced casters. Expert guides know where the best spots are for catching Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brooke, and Brown Trout. Plus they can recommend the right lure, show how to tie the perfect fly, and provide tips for improving an angler’s cast. Half-day trips are $230 for one person, $270 for two people, or $350 for three anglers. Full day trips that include lunch are $300 for an individual, $400 for two people, and $450 for three anglers. Prices include use of a top-of-the-line Orvis rod and reel, lightweight waders, and all the needed tackle.
For a water workout, kayaking provides a plenty of paddling and skill development to go with the scenery. Individual and family instruction and trips can be arranged with the Telluride Kayak School through the Adventure Desk.
Then, there’s the four-wheeling jeep jaunt with Telluride Outside, or a Jules Verne style adventure in a hot air balloon with San Juan Adventures. The San Juan Outdoor School provides an introduction and instruction on the basics of rock climbing while nothing captures the Old West like mounting up for a horseback ride at Circle K Ranch. The Adventure Desk can also get children enrolled in the Kids Day Camp where they can explore their own definition of fun with the San Juan Outdoor School. For a more sedate pace, European-style trek tours run by Rider-Walker Adventures are also available.
And, to ease the fatigue at the end of the day, the Adventure Desk can also book relaxing and restorative spa services at the Peaks Resort.
For mountain bike rentals and reservations, visit www.telluridesports.com , or call 970-728-3134. For information on rafting, horseback rides, jeep tours, rock climbing, other activities or Kids Camp, call 970-728-4477 ext. 211.