Telluride, Colorado, USA

Telluride, Colorado, USAThe Switzerland of America

  • Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012
  • Updated on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Large scale cattle ranches and highly productive farms are interwoven with smaller family holdings, while a number of the most dramatic “trophy ranches” owned by some of America’s wealthiest families are notably located throughout the region.  The rare combination of authentic Western history, breathtaking natural beauty, fertile soil and a highly favorable climate make the farms and ranches of this region among the most sought after landholdings in North America.

Telluride’s Farm and Ranch lifestyle

With more than 300 days of sunshine and 300 inches of annual snowfall, the region’s higher altitude and lower latitude make for a near-perfect alpine setting and climate.

Telluride reinvented itself in the 1970s to become one of North America’s last great ski towns, while during the 1980s, Telluride developed a reputation for being "Colorado's best kept secret," which paradoxically made it one of the more well-known resort communities.

Due to its significant role in the history of the American West, the core area of Telluride was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. Telluride is one of only four other Colorado communities with this honor.  The sites are so special that, in theory, they are eligible for consideration as National Parks.

In addition to Telluride’s reputation as a world-class ski resort, the local communities offer a wealth of cultural and recreational opportunities including the internationally renowned Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride Mountain Film Festival and Telluride Blues & Brews.

Who we are

Set within the greatest density of 14,000-foot peaks in the lower 48 states, the Telluride region is often referred to as the “Switzerland of America” for its dramatic peaks, rolling meadows, winding river valleys and picturesque Victorian mining towns.

Originally home of the Ute Indian tribes, the fertile valleys, temperate climate, prolific wildlife and geothermal features of the San Juan mountains were long a draw for the tribes as their seasonal hunting grounds. The Ute Indians who summered here for centuries, hunting for elk, deer and mountain sheep, referred to this region as the "Valley of the Hanging Waterfalls." They considered this area sacred, with the land and its natural wonders their greatest treasure.

In the early 1880’s large deposits of silver, gold and iron ore were discovered by prospectors inspiring the rapid settlement of a series of mining “boomtowns’ throughout the steep alpine valleys of the region. Tremendous fortunes were made by Eastern investors with the small towns offered a level of urban sophistication that belied their rugged isolation. As commerce grew, narrow-gauge lines of the Rio Grande railroad brought more people to the region, which flourished. What began as a rugged mining settlement soon had a hotel, opera house, brothels, gambling tables, saloons and banks.  During this period famous outlaw “Butch” Cassidy robbed his first bank in Telluride.

The Silver Bust of the early 1890’s decimated the region’s mining towns and many residents were forced into agriculture and ranching as a means of survival. Throughout the early part of the 1900’s large family farms and ranches were homesteaded throughout the region, with ample water, good sunshine and long growing seasons contributing to the settlers’ success. A series of families within the area grew to control vast holdings of lands into the hundreds of thousands of acres in size and their regional influence grew along with their fortunes. The communities of Ridgway, Montrose and Mancos remain deeply entrenched in the heritage of ranching started over a century ago while many of these same ranches remain within the same family’s stewardship.

For more information

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