Colorado in May

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Katie Anderson

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Colorado in May
Curator’s statement

May is a wonderful time to visit Colorado because it’s warmer, but not uncomfortably warm. The roads are typically clear, and the options are endless. For this trip report, my focus is on the western side of the state because I think May is an ideal time to visit some of these spots. As a Colorado local, I have explored this beautiful state up and down and can offer insider tips on just about anywhere you would like to visit. This trip is perfect for solos, couples or families.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection

Posh mountain-chic hotel with two restaurants, a spa, an outdoor pool and ski-in/ski-out access.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

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Fairmont Heritage Place - Franz Klammer Lodge

Experience luxurious mountain living at its finest with Fairmont Heritage Place - Franz Klammer Lodge, where elegance meets alpine charm.

The Hotel Telluride

Discover elevated hospitality and mountain elegance at The Hotel Telluride – your premier destination for a refined Rocky Mountain retreat.

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Days 1-3: Telluride

Fly from your home airport to Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) or Durango La Plata County (DRO) airport and pick up your rental car. Make your way to Telluride, a gorgeous mountain town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, formerly a Victorian mining town, for a three-night stay at your choice of accommodation. Recommended options include: Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, The Hotel Telluride or the Fairmont Heritage Place – Franz Klammer Lodge.

Once in Telluride, ride the free Telluride Station Gondola (12-minute ride) up to Mountain Village for some spectacular views at 10,500 feet. The gondola runs from 6:30am to midnight and will give you access to several restaurants at the mid-mountain stop (Station St. Sophia). Additional Telluride activities in May include: strolling downtown shops, biking, hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or rafting.

Food & Drink

For the best pizza in town and a great lunch spot, head to Brown Dog Pizza, a laid-back pub with a variety of pizza styles. For an upscale dinner of New American cuisine, head to Cosmopolitan Restaurant. The seafood stew is amazing!

Days 4-5: Durango & Mesa Verde National Park

Make your way to Durango for a two-night stay at the Historic Strater Hotel or Club Wyndham Durango. From Durango, drive yourself approximately 48 minutes to Mesa Verde National Park. A super-unique national park featuring Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. I really enjoyed this national park and you’ll have the opportunity to climb inside several of the dwellings for a close-up view.

Additional Durango activities include a stop at Four Leaves Winery, a rafting 2.5 hour guided tour, or a 12-zipline adventure tour in the San Juan Mountains.

Food & Drink

Head to Eolus Bar & Dining for some delicious New American cuisine. Grab a drink at the Diamond Belle Saloon, located inside the Strater Hotel for some live music, or head to Lola’s Place, which is a cozy spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Days 6-7 - Ouray

Finally, drive yourself to Ouray, Colorado for a two-night stay at the Beaumont Hotel & Spa – Adults Only, the Ouray Inn or the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs, depending on whether or not you are traveling with children. Ouray is an underrated, hidden gem in Colorado, also known as “Little Switzerland of America” that you will absolutely love! This tiny town sits at 7,800 feet and is surrounded by gorgeous mountain views. No Colorado vacation is complete without a stop at the hot springs. I would highly recommend a stop at Ouray Hot Springs, geothermal-heated mineral pools, located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

Additional Ouray activities include a short hike to Cascade Falls, visit Ouray Brewery, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, drive the 25-mile Million Dollar Highway (it has been named number two for most dangerous roads in the nation).

Food & Drink

Eat at the Goldbelt Bar & Grill and grab a spot on the patio. Get coffee and dessert at Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee, or try Brickhouse 737 for a nice dinner.

Need to Know

Depending on which airport you fly into, you may flip-flop days four and five & six and seven. If you fly into Montrose, then I would end in Ouray, whereas if you fly into Durango, I would end there. You could also shorten or lengthen this itinerary to your desired trip length if needed. Colorado

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colorado. In need of further inspiration? Check out Jen Barnes’s guide, Active Long Weekend Getaway to Vail, Colorado.

Travel advisor Katie Anderson smiling for the picture

Travel Advisor

Katie Anderson

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