Telluride + Ouray | Colorado Summer Vacation

2019-09-08_0013.jpgAlright guys, COLORADO is one of the most beautiful places, even in the summer! The Western slope of Colorado is not one of the most popular or shared areas for vacations. When we were planning this vacation we were trying to do some research and find the best places and we learned that there wasn’t a whole lot of great resources so I am hoping this is a great one for you!
This will be PART 1 of our week long Colorado vacation so stay tuned for our other blogs! As well as, our YOUTUBE videos to see us in action! 🙂 I also wanted to make sure to share that I am destination + travel photographer and would love to hear from you all if you are looking for a photographer to travel to you!

We started out at the airport in Montrose, CO, we rented a car and headed to the Telluride area. We found a last minute hotel at The Peaks Resort + Spa in Mountain Village for about 60% off, which we got super lucky on! The Peaks was beautiful, the air was SO fresh and it smelt amazing outside!



We started out by taking a short 5-10 minutes walk to the gondola area. The gondola can take you to the market area where there is a full grocery store, or you can take a different gondola to the top of the mountain, San Sophia Station.

From there you can go to the town of Telluride.  We walked around the quiant town of Telluride, the town is between the mountain and it makes for beautiful views everywhere you look. We had dinner at Smugglers Brewing Company. The crawfish mac-n-cheese was soooo delicious, as well as the burger!

We called it a night after a long day of traveling and walking around Telluride. Our view back to the hotel was beautiful as the sun was setting and the cool breeze was coming in. We slept great in our room and enjoyed our night at The Peaks.

The next morning we set our alarms at 6:00AM to be able to see the sunrise and grab some footage before everyone else woke up.  It made for perfect lighting!



The gondola opened up at 7AM and I am pretty sure we were the first people to go up to the mountain. We sat on the top of the mountain and waited for the sun to pop over the mountain. It popped over right around 7:09 and IT WAS WORTH IT!! The photo I got was a lot better coloring than the video, but you can view our full video here. It was totally worth the early wake up on vacation. It was August 26th if you need a reference for the time of year.

The town of Telluride was also super empty in the morning so we basically had this Monday morning to ourselves.


We checked out a little shop called BAKED in Telluride, they had a gigantic selection of patries, burritos and other speciality items. From the cafe, we walked to the end of town to what is called, “Town Park”, super original name. But WOW, it was like a movie and took our breath away!!


We didn’t do much outside of the main Mountain Village area and Telluride. I am sure there are beautiful things to hike to (Blue Lake to name one) but because we really had less than 24 hours to visit, we went to the areas that were quick and FREE to get to. All the gondola rides were absolutely FREE, and like I said the hotel was 60% off so we really had a cheap time in Telluride, which I am always happy about!

We packed up and started toward Ouray. Ouray is an old mining town that I think I had heard about in movies. Its a rather quiant, small town and there were only a few things on our list for our time there, because again we only had a few hours to explore.  Our first stop was Box Canyon, this was one spot that showed up several times in our search proir to the trip, so we knew we had to check it out!

Box Canyon is a 85 ft waterfall that plummets down a super narrow quarts canyon. You will drive down to where you can see the visitor center and there is a parking area. It costs $5 for adults to enter the park so it really is pretty minimal, plus they have nice bathrooms to use and $1 cold water bottles.


The lower area is very easy to get to and would be fine for most ages. We walked down the stairs all the way down to the area where the waterfall flows into the river and you could see the waterfall pretty well.
We then walked up to the Upper area of the falls. You walk up to an extension bridge where you can see forever! If you are scared of highs you can still walk up to the area and not have to go on the bridge.  This was still a fairly easy hike, but if you elderly or have injuries it might be challenging for you. We were breathing heavy, believe me, but it wasn’t TOO difficult.

When you get to the top you can walk across the bridge and walk through a cave area that leads to the Perimeter Trail. We did not do the trail, but still walked through to see what was on the other side.


We then headed out to the town if Ouray, we were told that the patio area at Ouray Brewing Company was great so we stopped by there for a snack. We tried the pretzel bites and they were fine, nothing too special but the burgers looked amazing.  I wanted to walk around downtown, so we shopped the local stores and enjoyed the mountain views. Ouray is called the “Switzerland of Colorado” because of the way the mountains surround the town. I have been to Switzerland and I do agree that there is a tiny bit of a Switzerland vibe there.

Million Dollar Highway, was recommended to us by multiple people. This highway is referring to the drive from Ouray to Silverton. It is very pretty and very steep in some areas. You will look out the car window and feel like your going to drop off the mountain! So be careful and DO NOT be distracted! Starting on the highway you will see the popular Ouray sign!


This lake area, we think it is called Crystal Lake, was about 5 miles into the drive. We stopped here for some drone shots and it was beautiful!! We decided that we felt like we got the “Million Dollar” experience so we decided to head back toward Ouray. This highway got its name because at the time it was build, it costs about 1 million dollars (present time) to make it, per mile.2019-09-08_0026.jpg
One recommendation that we were not able to make enough time for was Yankee Boy Basin. We heard it was a beautiful basin full of wild flowers. You have to schedule take Jeep tours in Ouray to get there. Thankfully we got to go to the wild flower capitol of the country in Crested Butte a few days later…be sure to find that blog to see!

These are our recommendations for Telluride + Ouray and we really spent a minimal amount of money. We can call this your “FREE” guide to Ouray. (Minus the hotel night)

Be sure to find us on YOUTUBE and Instagram- @mckaylabee

I will see you next week with Pt. 2 at the Grand Mesa!

XO, McKayla

  1. John G. Dorrer says:

    Awesome post, spent a month on Colorado in September chasing the aspens.

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