The Uncrowded Mountain Town

May 30, 2008
Outside Magazine
Telluride main street

MOUNTAIN TOWN, USA: Telluride, Colorado    Photo: courtesy, Colorado Tourism

TELLURIDE, COLORADO - Between the weekends of Memorial Day and Labor Day, the town of Telluride hosts no fewer than 15 festivals. Think about that. On any given Saturday, you might have to share this remote outpost's epic hiking trails, casual restaurants, and approximately 23 parking spaces with either hordes of slamgrass fans (the Bluegrass Festival), a gaggle of oeno­philes (the Wine Festival), or an army of downward-doggers (the Yoga Festival). But crowds are the last thing you want to see here. Placed at the dead end of a box canyon and surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, Telluride offers as good a setting as any town in America for a quiet summer idyll. So there's only one celebration worth attending: The Nothing Festival. For three days, there are zero planned events—but something incredible does happen. Hotels open up (try the Telluride Mountainside Inn; doubles, $119;, Main Street empties out, and a few visitors breathe easy. How to spend those days? Just bring your hiking boots and follow the directions on "Thank you for not participating." Nearest airport: Montrose, Colorado, 70 miles away.