If you’re dreaming of a Rocky Mountain adventure with your dog, look no further than the pet friendly village of Telluride! Tucked high in Colorado’s rugged San Juan Mountains, this off-the-beaten-path location is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. With spectacular scenery, miles of hiking trails, the pet friendly gondola, and a nice selection of eateries and lodging that welcome pets, Telluride will not disappoint!
The Native American Ute tribe first occupied this land and called it the “Valley of Hanging Waterfalls.” Spanish explorers passed through in the 1700s, but it wasn’t until 1875, that Europeans began moving to the valley. Drawn by mines rich in zinc, lead, copper, iron, silver, and gold, the town served the growing industry and its employees.
More mines followed, along with the railroad, and the population of Telluride quickly soared to around 5,000 residents. The town’s affluence attracted all kinds of characters – including Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, who began their infamous bank robbing careers here in 1889.
The start of World War I coincided with a crash in silver prices and nearly turned Telluride into a ghost town. But in the 1970s developers began focusing on the area’s potential as a recreation destination. Mountain Village was built 750 feet up the mountain from Telluride as a year-round resort with golf, top-notch accommodations and restaurants, and more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain.
In 1996, the construction of the gondola connected Telluride with Mountain Village and became one of the town’s most popular attractions. This free, pet friendly transportation system was the first of its kind in North America.
Cars marked with paw prints are pet friendly, as long as pets are leashed or in a carrier. The gondola is free and runs from mid-November to mid-October, shutting down for one month each year to prepare for the winter ski season.
Halfway through the ride the gondola enters the St. Sophia station. You can hop off here and hike back down to Telluride, or remain in your car and continue on to the final stop.
Depending on the time of year you visit, Mountain Village can be quiet and laid back, or bustling with skiers and snowboarders. We visited in early October, enjoying the fall colors with a handful of other leaf peepers.
There are several restaurants in Mountain Village with pet friendly outdoor seating areas. In fact, it may be easier to get a table here with your pup than in Telluride.
Mountain Village is a great place to spend a day, with hiking trails, widow shopping, and a disc golf course. When you’re done exploring, get back on the gondola for a breathtaking ride down to Telluride.
You can pick up the Idarado Trail at Town Park in Telluride. This 1.5-mile stroll takes you by the Pandora Mine. Opened in 1875, plaques along the way provide interesting insights into the mine’s operations and Telluride’s colorful history.
At the head of the canyon, Ingram Falls plunges over the cliff into the San Miguel River. As you continue on the path, Bridal Veil Falls and the power plant at the top come into view.
The autumn landscape is really something to behold. Snow frosts the mountain tops, the aspens flaunt their yellow foliage, and the stoic evergreens anchor the scene.
Pets can also join you on the River Trail, Boomerang Road, and on the recreation trail along Highway 145. In these areas, dogs can shed their leashes, but must be under voice control. Just remember, dogs cannot go on the trails at the Telluride Valley Floor Preserve.
If your feet need a break, jump aboard the Galloping Goose! Telluride’s free downtown shuttle welcomes leashed dogs to join you!
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