2013_September_Telluride1Most urban planners the world over suffer the same dilemma: how to decrease car traffic and pollution.

The idyllic Rocky Mountain ski resort/summer hiking resort/site of the famous film festival, Telluride, was once no exception.

Telluride, ColoradoBut some years ago, Telluride came up with an ingenious solution for connecting the town of Telluride, the major ski slopes, and neighboring Mountain Village (the major traffic artery) during the peak winter and summer months: creating the United States’ first and only free public transportation system – a gondola service running daily from 7 am to midnight.

On our visit to Telluride, we were staying at Mountain Village, and were thrilled to park our car at the hotel for the duration of our stay and use the gondola service to bring us up and down the mountain to go out in Telluride or the area around the ski lodges, to go hiking, or just out to dinner.

Telluride, ColoradoTelluride was a stop on a wider trip we took in the Southwestern US (I’ve already blogged about it here). We enjoyed our little escape out of the desert and up in the Rocky Mountains.

Telluride is a pretty Victorian town nestled 8750 feet (2700 meters) high in the Rocky Mountains. The town was established in the late nineteenth century, after gold was discovered there in 1858. Mines were set up, mostly mining tellurium, zinc, copper and silver. The famous Butch Cassidy robbed the local bank in 1889. The small, but well organized Telluride Historical Museum is worth a visit to provide an historical context to the town.

Mountain Lodge, Telluride, ColoradoWe took some nice walks, one up to the Bear Creek waterfall, and enjoyed exploring the town and relaxing in our hotel pool, while the kids waved to those passing overhead in the gondola.

We loved our stay at The Mountain Village Lodge, a fantastic mountain base close to the gondola service. Telluride was a wonderful family vacation destination, one we’d love to visit again.

Next time, I’d love to stay longer and explore The San Juan Skyway – including Ouray, Durango, Silverton and all the stunning scenery in the area. On our way to Bryce Canyon, Utah, we did manage to stop and enjoy the amazing Mesa Verde National Park  – not to be missed if you’re in the area.

Telluride logoTelluride, Colorado