Although we are not snow skier’s we had the opportunity while staying in Cortez, Colorado to take the drive up Colorado 145 to see Telluride.
Our drive began with passing through the small town of Dolores. This was a pleasant, relaxing and beautiful drive along the Dolores river. Many rivers in Colorado have a golden color to them from many years of mine tailings but the Dolores river is crystal clear.
The Dolores River begins south of Telluride, in the Lizard Pass area and forks shortly after running through the towns of Dunton and Rico with a few creeks feeding into the river throughout. The Dolores is stocked by the Division of Wildlife and according to information provided in the “Guide to Fishing in Mesa Verde Country”, Trout Magazine has referred to the Dolores River as being one of the 50 best trout streams in America. Brook, rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout are found in the Dolores River.
The drive from Cortez to Telluride is almost 2 hours of mountain beauty. During the month of April snow is still on the mountains. In fact, snow was falling during our drive. We may not have needed a jacket in Cortez but surely needed one about half way to Telluride.
An old mining town named Rico is on the path to Telluride. A history marker in the of town indicates the town had a population of 5000 during a short mining boom in 1892. At that time, the town consisted of 23 saloons, 2 churches and 88 active mines. It does not appear to be very active today, even the local gas station had limited hours.
As we arrived in Telluride we stopped at the Visitors Center to be informed that skiing closed the week prior to our visit and most stores and restaurants were currently closed due to April being a time between the winter season and the summer season.
We walked around a bit looking at old buildings and discovered the museum was also closed. The entire town is part of the historical society so the neighborhood had very pleasant surroundings and beautiful homes. We did not find a store that sparked our interest but did stop by the building that once held the local bank that was the first bank robbery Butch Cassidy pulled off, years ago in 1889. We also discovered another interesting banking story in history known as The Great Waggoner Swindle.
We came to the conclusion that no matter the time of year, there isn’t anything in the town of Telluride for us. What was for us, was the beautiful drive to Telluride, the majestic mountains surrounding the town and the history we read about.