Telluride is a town with a reputation: a winter wonderland swathed in snow, scribbled with ski tracks and lit by fireplaces in cozy lodges. That image isn’t wrong—just incomplete. Telluride is also one of the best off-season destinations the West has to offer, with countless hiking and biking trails, top-notch kayaking and paddleboarding on the Alta Lakes, chef-driven destination restaurants and the most beautiful newly renovated resort in Colorado.
Nestled at 10,540 feet, that resort is Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, where guest experiences include off-roading, horseback riding through wildflower meadows to a saddlebag brunch, foraging expeditions with the chef and guided fly-fishing trips to private mountain streams. Or stay in to experience amenities such as the Alpine Swim Club, where you can sip a drink in the heated outdoor pool with the majestic San Juan Mountains as your backdrop, and one of Telluride’s newest fine-dining restaurants, Timber Room, which mixes superbly crafted cocktails (with a notable emphasis on whiskey) to pair with elevated rustic dishes such as Rocky Mountain elk tartare, buttermilk fried rabbit and a dry-aged bison tomahawk. The hotel’s décor complements the stunning natural landscape—wood-grained walls, sweater-stitch carpets—with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the sweeping peaks and valleys in the distance.
Beyond the resort, golfers will revel in the mountain views at Telluride Golf Club, one of the world’s highest courses, while the alfresco happy-hour crowd has another reason to flock to beloved institution Cosmopolitan, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (its spicy tuna roll has become the stuff of local legend) which recently opened an outdoor patio complete with fireplace tables for cool nights.
Book a Labor Day trip and enjoy Telluride’s famous annual Film Festival; stay a few weeks so you don’t miss the Wine Festival, from September 23 through 26. Or perhaps the area’s abundance of outdoor activities and natural wonders such as Bridal Veil Falls, a 365-foot waterfall surrounded by wilderness, has convinced you to make your vacation more permanent? Tom Cruise’s Telluride estate may have just sold for $39.5 million, but, as of this writing, Jerry Seinfeld’s is on the market for less than half that price.