Colorado, renowned for its stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures, unveils some of its most captivating gems in the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and Crested Butte. Each destination possesses a unique charm, offering visitors an unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a rich cultural tapestry.

Exploring Western Colorado: Telluride, Ouray, and Crested Butte Charm

Ouray: The "Switzerland of America"
Known as the "Switzerland of America," Ouray is a charming mountain town renowned for its natural hot springs and dramatic scenery. Surrounded by towering peaks, waterfalls, and steep cliffs, Ouray offers a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere compared to some of Colorado's larger resort towns.
Visitors can soak in the soothing waters of the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, an iconic attraction that is open year-round. The pool's outdoor setting provides a unique experience, allowing bathers to enjoy the views of snow-capped mountains or starry skies, depending on the season.
Beyond the hot springs, Ouray offers a network of hiking trails that cater to various skill levels. The Perimeter Trail, which circumnavigates the town, provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The historic downtown area is a delight to explore, with its well-preserved Victorian architecture and a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants. The town's setting, nestled in a box canyon, enhances the feeling of seclusion and tranquility.

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Ouray: The "Switzerland of America"

Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a picturesque escape. The town, with its well-preserved Victorian architecture, is a National Historic Landmark, transporting visitors to a bygone era. The main street, Colorado Avenue, is lined with vibrant storefronts and a mix of eclectic shops and restaurants.
Telluride is perhaps best known for its world-class skiing. The Telluride Ski Resort boasts over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, catering to all skill levels. In the warmer months, the mountains transform into a playground for hikers and mountain bikers, with trails offering breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks.
For a unique perspective, visitors can take the free gondola ride that connects Telluride with Mountain Village. The panoramic views of the mountains and valleys are unparalleled, especially during the fall when the aspen trees turn golden, creating a spectacular tapestry of colors.
The town also hosts several festivals throughout the year, drawing in art lovers, music enthusiasts, and film buffs alike. 

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Telluride: A  Historic Box Canyon

Crested Butte, often referred to as the "last great Colorado ski town," is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. Known for its colorful buildings and laid-back atmosphere, Crested Butte captures the essence of a true mountain town.
In the winter, the Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The town is also renowned for its Nordic skiing trails, providing a different way to explore the winter wonderland. In the summer, the mountains come alive with wildflowers, and the resort transforms into a mountain biking haven with trails for all levels.
For a taste of Crested Butte's rich history, visitors can explore the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, housed in a former blacksmith shop. The museum showcases the town's evolution from a coal mining hub to a vibrant mountain community.
Crested Butte's lively arts scene is evident in its numerous galleries and the annual Crested Butte Arts Festival, attracting artists and art lovers from far and wide.

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Crested Butte: A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Deciding between Crested Butte, Telluride, and Ouray depends on your preferences, interests, and the type of experience you're seeking. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

Scenery and Activities:

Crested Butte: Known for its stunning wildflowers in the summer and exceptional skiing in the winter. If you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and skiing, Crested Butte might be the ideal choice.
Telluride: Offers a mix of outdoor adventure, cultural events, and beautiful landscapes. It's famous for its film festival and has a range of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and festivals.
Ouray: Known as the "Switzerland of America" for its picturesque setting. Ouray is great for those who love hot springs, hiking, and exploring historic mining towns.

Seasonal Considerations:

Consider the time of year you plan to visit. Each town has its own seasonal attractions. For example, Crested Butte is known for its fall foliage, while Telluride hosts many summer festivals, and Ouray offers unique winter experiences like ice climbing.

Cultural Atmosphere:

Crested Butte: Has a laid-back and artsy vibe, with a strong emphasis on community events.
Telluride: A little more upscale with world class dining and shopping.
Ouray: Offers a blend of history and outdoor adventure, with a more relaxed atmosphere..


Consider the ease of reaching each town based on your starting point. Telluride & Ouray are both accessible via the Montrose Airport. You will need to rent a car to travel to Ouray, but Telluride offers a transportation service to and from the airport called Telluride Express. It is also very walkable once you arrive. Crested Butte is a little harder to get to. You can fly into Gunnison Airport and take a shuttle for a premium, or you can fly into Denver and make the 4 hour drive in a rental car.
Accommodations and Amenities:

Telluride offers luxurious hotels and Airbnbs, while Ouray has many quaint cabins and Bed & Breakfast options. Crested Butte has a mix of both high end hotels and relaxed B&B options. 


Consider your budget for the trip. Some towns may be more budget-friendly than others in terms of accommodations, dining, and activities. Telluride will be at the highest end and Ouray at the lowest. 

Personal Interests:

Think about your specific interests. Whether you're into outdoor adventures, cultural events, or simply relaxing in a scenic setting, choose the town that aligns most closely with your preferences.

Combine Destinations:

If possible, consider combining visits to multiple towns. They are relatively close to each other, and experiencing the unique offerings of each town can provide a well-rounded Colorado experience. Ultimately, your choice may depend on the kind of experience you're seeking, the time of year, and your personal preferences. Each of these towns has its own distinct charm, so you can't go wrong with any of them.

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A Telluride + Crested Butte photographer. 
If you are after a seamless experience, gorgeous scenery, and heirlooms you can pass down through the generations...then I'm the photographer for you.

I'm Savannah


Serving Telluride, Ouray and Crested Butte, Colorado