Recently, we visited Telluride, a beautiful city in Colorado. It’s been a long time since I wanted to visit this part of Colorado, where a few beautiful cities are located side-by-side. Telluride offers all sorts of activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing, as do the other cities, including Ouray, Silverton, and Durango.
The San Juan Mountain range is quite beautiful and part of the Rocky Mountains. The cities I mentioned are located in the valley floors of this mountain range.
Day 00: Fly to Denver and Drive to Telluride
It was Thursday, and we flew to Denver from Houston in the afternoon around 4 p.m. We acquired our pre-booked rented car and took the I-70 towards Telluride.
Telluride is not directly beside I-70. However, we chose to take it because of the highway’s unique beauty, and the road is better this way. It was near the Grand Junction, where we took an exit and directly started going south towards Telluride.
It was around a 7-8 hours drive, including our lunch and small shopping. On the way, we decided to take a detour to Vail, another beautiful city surrounded by mountains. We spent the evening there, and that’s why we reached our target hotel “The Bivvy Hostel” after midnight.
Day 01: Day-long Mountain Biking and Afternoon Hike
Early Morning at the Placerville Park
We got up early in the morning and explored nearby areas near the Bivvy hostel. Placerville Park was a park only 0.3 miles away, where we hiked a little along the side of the San Miguel River. We were amused to see that they had a soccer field in the park, which is also well-maintained.
We came back to the hostel immediately after our short hike, had our breakfast, and then drove to Telluride City, which was only 13.7 miles away (20 minutes of drive). We took the Gondola and went to the Mountain Village. We rented bikes there and retook the Gondola for the first beginner/intermediate-level trail named Tommy Knocker.
After doing two back-to-back downhill, we started for the cross-country ride, which combines a few other trails. Using that, you go through all the city sides towards the lower valley and come back to the Telluride city. I forgot to track the route. However, it seems to be around 25-35 miles, including the mountains downhill and the valley.
There wasn’t much time left until sunset, and in the last hour, we attempted the Bridal Falls trail. Even though we were pushing ourselves, we went up to the second waterfall on sight and decided to return back from there. At dusk, seeing all the mountains surrounding us was an amazing view. The late sunlight made the mountain tops look golden brown, and it was a well-spent afternoon indeed.
Explore more villages using a Gondola in the Evening
In the evening, we took Gondola rides to all the nearby villages, including the Mountain Village on the opposite side of the mountain. It was mostly wandering around the villages, sitting here and there, and having a chitchat with fun.
Day 02: Blue Lake and Mount Sneffels Hike
Bivvy Hostel to Trailhead
On day two, we again woke up early and checked out from the Bivvy Hostel before breakfast time. We drove to the Blue Lake trailhead. We didn’t know it was a rough road, and 4-wheelers were the best bet to reach the trailhead. However, we continued with our Honda CR-V and reached there without much issue. We had to drive very slowly and cautiously, though. I won’t recommend taking the final few miles if you have a Sedan.
Lower, Middle, and Upper Blue Lake
There seemed to be enough parking spaces available in the morning (we reached around 8 a.m.). It was a bit cold at that time, and we had good preparation. However, after 20/30 minutes, it started to feel warm and wet, and we had to take off all the extra layers we had on our bodies. So, I recommend taking only a light running/sun protection hoody and shorts from the beginning so that you don’t have to carry that extra stuff later.
Almost the whole route is continuous uphill except for a few very short-distance plain trails around the mountains. It’s extra hard in some sections as you gain more elevation within a very short distance. It’s better to carry a bottle of water. There is no need to carry extra as you can drink and fill in water from the water trails or waterfalls.
First, we reached the lower Blue Lake which has the most scenic view. Many people camp there, especially if they plan to hike to Mount Sneffels’s summit the next day. After spending some time, we started hiking uphill towards the Middle Blue Lake. This section has more elevation gain within a very short distance, and you can get beautiful views of the lower lake on the whole way. The middle lake has probably the least beautiful view among the three layers of the lake.
We didn’t wait much as the upper Blue Lake was at a close distance and had a very short elevation gain. We spent some time there after reaching the Upper Blue Lake. The sight was mesmerizing, and there were significantly less number of people around us.
Even though we were supposed to be back from there, we wanted to try the Mount Sneffels summit and went close. However, close to the top were some risky sections with very narrow trails, lots of slippery loose gravel, and supporting rocks coming off the wall. Since we didn’t have proper shoes and hiking poles, we decided to return back.
That Mount Sneffel hike was a bit extreme and strenuous. However, we enjoyed the scenery a lot as both the upper and middle lakes became smaller and smaller. With the surrounding, that was really worth of a view and experience.
Afternoon and Evening
In the afternoon, we were hungry and had a meal at a Thai restaurant in Ridgway, which is right before the city of Ouray. We had to leave for Colorado Springs and decided to go via the Million Dollar Highway and Durango.
The Million Dollar Highway is prettier than I have seen on many YouTube videos. So is the city of Ouray, surrounded by mountains and beautiful to watch.
We ate supper at a restaurant in Silverton and then left for Colorado Springs via Durango. I don’t recommend the route if you don’t start early. We had some miscalculations, and we reached our hotel at Pikes Peak around 3 am in the night.
Day 03: Pikes Peak
We woke up early in the morning and left for the Pikes Peak. We obtained the permit at the gate for $50. It was great to drive uphill all the way to the Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak, often called “America’s Mountain,” stands as an iconic peak in the heart of Colorado Springs. Rising to an impressive 14,115 feet, the summit offers a panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Visiting Pikes Peak is an adventure that can be tailored to all types of enthusiasts. For those seeking a scenic drive, the Pikes Peak Highway provides a leisurely journey to the top. The trip includes a breathtaking view from the summit, where visitors can witness the vast expanse of Colorado and beyond.
We really loved the train there even though we did not ride it. However, we took many pictures with it.
So, we spent time there until noon and started getting down since we had to catch our flight back to the Denver International Airport scheduled at 4:30 p.m. I recommend getting back to Denver a bit early since it might be crowded, and there is usually much traffic during busy hours, especially if it is on Sunday.
So, it was the most extreme trip in my life as it gave me thrilling experiences while mountain biking and hiking. I find a lot of people to travel with. However, it is difficult to find people with similar stamina and mindset.
I was lucky to have some good sports people alongside to make the trip awesome.
Life is short, and the world is wide. Let’s make the best out of it each and every day. Cheers!
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