Tucked within the San Juan National Forest sits the town of Telluride and it’s ski resort of the same name. Once a booming mining town, this little slice of heaven is the perfect place for skiers to get away from it all. The resort has also consistently been ranked as one of the best places to ski in the United States. There’s no secret as to why either; it’s simply a stunning area with much more to do than you’d expect.
A little over six hours away lies the Taos Ski Valley, an equally impressive resort that almost seems to good to be true in a state mostly dominated by deserts. There, people can experience a multitude of cultures coming together amidst the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The skiing at Taos offers people incredibly dry powder shots and steep chutes, among several other ideal skiing conditions. It’s rich history and people are what keep bringing guests back every year. It’s also why the resort is so highly liked among ski lovers.
Respectively, both resorts offer world-class skiing in places with humble beginnings. They provide guests with the complete ski experience through several off-mountain activities. While they are slightly far apart, traveling between them offers a rare vacation treat. The fun side destinations will offer a lifetime of memories and even better photo-ops!
Whether you’re starting from north to south or vice versa, the journey in itself will inspire you. And get you even more excited to ski! If you’ve got a few days (or a week) to really enjoy a unique ski trip, then this is the perfect winter vacation. No matter what part of the season you decide to go. Here’s a look at what awaits you during your ski road trip from Telluride to Taos and everything you’ll see in between.
Here’s Looking at you, Telluride
Surprisingly (in the best way possible), there’s a lot to unpack on this amazing road trip. Though most of the towns between the resorts are smaller, you’ll find quite a lot of scenery, character, and charm along the way. Before hitting the road, remember to see a few places while you’re in Telluride. There’s a lot of history in the area and though you might not be able to visit it all at least you can plan on these pit stops.
Take a stroll through the town’s Historic District, a place featuring more food options than you can count. It’s impressive what such a small town offers so you should definitely take advantage before you leave. For example, 221 South Oak (a nod to its location in town) showcases some of the best of what they have to offer. It’s also conveniently located near the gondola. Their wine list is outstanding, but it’s the intimate atmosphere and smart menu that truly make it a favorite stop for a great meal.
For more breathtaking outdoor stops, check out Bridal Veil Falls next. The waterfall is certainly more active during warmer months when water flows. But it’s still a sight to behold due to its sheer height and majestic vistas. It’s the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado and seeing it during it’s less active time could inspire a trip later in the year.
When In Durango
After you’ve gotten a taste for the epic skiing and off-mountain adventures in Telluride, your next stop should be in Durango. It’s located a little over 2 hours away from the resort off of U.S. 160 and promises to be a real treat! All of your favorite winter activities like ice shoeing, snow tubing, and dog sledding can be done in town. Which means you can witness more incredible Colorado scenic views. Maybe you will even spend a day or two at nearby Purgatory Ski Resort!
There are also winter train excursions you can hop aboard to take in the area around you. If you’re lucky you can catch a show at the Henry Strater Theater, one of the oldest and most prestigious theaters in the U.S. Performances are said to be a fantastic experience that’s hard to beat. But if your trip doesn’t fall on any current stage performances there are plenty of musical and comedic shows that happen all year long.
Next Stop, Pagosa Springs
Driving for a long period of time can wear your muscles out, especially after a few days of all of your snow activities. So the next best place to do some well-deserved relaxing is at Pagosa Springs. Heading east, you’ll be able to take a dip at the refreshing hot springs which are only about an hour away from Durango.
While you’re there you can enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing, and ice skating to start. The list does get a little long for all the winter fun you can have. Though that probably won’t stop you from trying to do it all. If you have the time to spare, spend a day skiing Wolf Creek Pass!
Once you finish up with your snow activities you can head to the springs and let all your cares melt away. But if you’re in the mood to simply unwind and be pampered then have at it!
The Quaint Village of Chama, New Mexico
Your trip is now almost halfway done, but there’s still so much to see and do. When you really look around at your surroundings, you can get pretty creative with the list of activities you want to accomplish. From Pagosa, Chama is on the way as you head further south on what’ll turn into Highway 84.
It’s so small that it’s actually considered more of a village rather than a “town.” However, it still holds a lot of history and charm that many find intriguing. Though the smell of New Mexico’s famous green chile might not be as noticeable during the winter months, you can at least have a taste of it at restaurants like Fina’s Diner.
There isn’t an official menu, per se, but you can still peek at what they serve up. Try one of their many burrito options or huevos rancheros. You won’t be disappointed by the flavor or the price!
To take a piece of the town with you (in a figurative sense) stop by Cruces de mi Corazon. It has excellent jewelry and handmade items showcase the many talented artists in the area. You can also pick up a gift or two for family and friends if someone’s birthday happens to be coming up.
Say Hello to Taos (the town)
Like many places in New Mexico, the town of Taos is steeped in myth and legend. Mirroring the name of the beloved ski resort, this town is filled to the brim with life. Your options for music, art, and food will leave you feeling dizzy with excitement. There are also quite a few historical sites and beautifully preserved buildings to see like the Taos Pueblo.
The experience will leave you in awe, whether it be because of the hospitality or an incredible meal. Also known as a prestigious art colony in the U.S., visitors will find gallery upon gallery to explore.
There isn’t a single place you can turn where you won’t be swept up by the natural beauty or rich spiritual atmosphere in Taos. Schedule a massage at Taos Sage Waters, or stay at the El Pueblo Lodge. But if you’re planning on a quick pit stop instead, try scheduling a fun pottery or painting class. You can take a piece of your adventure with you and add it to your home as decoration.
The Majesty of Taos Ski Valley
You’ve finally made it! Up the road from Taos is the Taos Ski Valley. Famous for having the lightest snow in North America, this resort is full of adventures and magic. Once you’ve settled in you can hit the freshly groomed corduroy and bluebird skies that are waiting for you. Take on their iconic steeps, and enjoy scenic ridgelines that won’t disappoint.
Though the journey has come to an end (at least for now), there’s so much to talk about! Plus, all the memories you made will be something you’ll forever remember. Your adventure from Telluride to Taos offers many adventurous doors to open. Which ones you choose are up to you, and regardless of what you pick you can’t go wrong.
As they tend to say, it’s not so much about your destination as it is the journey to get there. And while skiing is, of course, the ultimate goal, the added perks of an off-mountain adventure are too enticing to ignore. Happy travels snow buffs, and may this be a trip to make your year!