Telluride Gondola and Transportation
There are several options available for visitors traveling to Telluride. Flying into Denver, Montrose, Grand Junction, and even directly into Telluride is all possible. Flights to the other Colorado airports will require a drive, which is why many travelers opt to connect directly to the Telluride Regional Airport. Whichever way you choose to get here, know that you're headed to one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
Most visitors find that once they get to Telluride, almost everything they need is within walking distance or a gondola ride away. However, if you want to venture outside of town, you'll want to rent a car for at least a day or two. Flying directly to Telluride and picking up a rental car for all or part of your visit is the best approach, in our opinion.
If you want to keep things simple and seamless, you have the option of flying directly to Telluride Regional Airport (TEX). As the highest commercial airport on the North American continent, Telluride Airport makes it easy to get to town. Another option is the nearby airport in Montrose (MTJ), just under 70 miles away. Depending on the weather, it's about another hour or so to drive up to T'ride.
If you're visiting in the winter months, be aware that the weather can affect your travel plans. This is just one reason why savvy mountain visitors choose a direct flight right into town. Flights from Denver International Airport (DEN) are serviced by Denver Air Connection, a United Airlines service partner. If you're flying into Montrose, you'll have more options available. United, American, and Southwest Airlines all provide service to Montrose, with direct flights from Denver and Houston.
Everything from shared shuttles to luxury limos is available for your transfer to Telluride. Be sure to book early to ensure that there's adequate availability for your needs. Whenever possible, it's recommended to fly directly to Telluride rather than driving in from another airport.
Be aware that high-season air travel options will be more frequent than during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. It's always best to check directly with the airline to confirm that there are flights available to accommodate your schedule.
Once you arrive in Telluride, you'll have a few transportation options. One of the most popular options is picking up a rental car at the airport. If you opt to fly to a regional airport and get to town via ground transportation, you can still pop up to the Telluride Airport to rent a car from Hertz.
Having a rental car can make it more convenient if you're planning any side trips out of town. Visitors who are planning a serious ski vacation will likely be able to navigate town on foot. There's plenty to see and do in the downtown core, so a car isn't always necessary. Many folks fly into Montrose, take the shuttle to town, and choose not to rent a car.
Anyone who wants to explore the area surrounding town will be well-served by a four-wheel drive rental vehicle. If you're an inexperienced mountain driver, be sure to always allow for extra time for caution, photos, and pulling over to check out some of the more breathtaking spots.
If you fly into Montrose, you have a few transportation options available to get to Telluride. One of the most popular is the Tellurides service that runs out of Montrose Airport. This service is perfect for visitors who aren't comfortable driving in snow or on mountain roads and S-curves.
Another option is to rent a car in Montrose and drive the 68 miles up to the box canyon and into Telluride. The roads can experience significant snow delays, but it's a much easier drive than coming from Grand Junction or Denver.
The easiest way to get from Denver to Telluride is to fly. There are a number of airports that are much closer than Denver's 400 or so miles away. Connections are available direct to TEX, Durango, and Montrose. Barring that, the next best option is a shuttle service. Denver is located on the Front Range with Telluride on the Western Slope, with many mountain passes in between. Renting a car and driving is another popular option for folks used to mountain driving.
The drive can take over six hours and it passes through many beautiful locations. If you're traveling in the summer, there are a number of stops you'll want to make as you head west. Red Rocks, just outside of Morrison, is internationally known as one of the best outdoor music venues on the planet. And, a quick run of the steps is a great way to stretch your legs!
If you're in a hurry, stay on I-70, but if you want the scenic route, drop down to 285 South. You'll pass through Fairplay (the inspiration for the town of South Park, be able to visit the Sand Dunes National Park, and stop in Salida to check out some of the local brews. Pagosa Springs is a beautiful town and the perfect place for a restorative soak before getting back on the road. Durango is the perfect place to load up on supplies and check out the historic train before continuing on your journey.
Remember that no matter if you choose a rental car, shuttle service, or limo, your journey can be interrupted by heavy snow and wind and mountain pass closures in the late autumn, winter, and early spring.
The 88 miles between Grand Junction Airport (GJT) and the town of Telluride can take as long as three hours. Grand Junction airport is serviced by American, Southwest, and United Airlines, with connecting flights available from Denver, Phoenix, and Dallas/Fort Worth Airports.
If you fly in and then rent a car, you can check out the wildly popular towns of Fruita and Palisades. The drive over from Junction, as it's locally known, to Telluride is a scenic one with many amazing overlooks and photo opportunities. If you're traveling in summer, be sure to stop for some peaches and melons from one of the many roadside farm stands. This locally-grown produce is a popular summer treat and beyond delicious!
Shuttles typically navigate the route between the Junction and Montrose airports. From there, you'll need to rent a car, hop on another shuttle, or hire a limo to get you to Telluride. One of the quaintest towns to stop in is Ouray. This gorgeous town is referred to as the Switzerland of the Rockies and is worth a visit if your schedule permits. It's about one hour of beautiful driving between the two towns.
Other airport options to consider include Durango (125 mi), Moab (130 mi), and Gunnison (132 mi). These are regional airports that provide limited service, especially in the off-season. Be sure to check with your carrier for available flight itineraries.
Whichever transportation option you choose, you're going to love Telluride! This charming mountain destination has something for everyone, from outdoor adventurers, foodies, gallery hoppers, and anyone who loves basking in natural beauty. As with any remote locale, it's always a smart idea to plan every detail of your travel in advance.
From flights to ground shuttles, to ride shares, and rental cars, you'll want to know how you're getting from Point A to Point B ahead of time. Make sure to leave enough time between connections to absorb any delays, and you'll enjoy a much less stressful journey. You can't forget that Mother Nature may have a few plans of her own, so always be prepared for changes to your itinerary.