On a recent vacation to Telluride, we had a fun off road ATV tour with Telluride Outfitters. We signed up for the 2 hour tour and Telluride ATV Tours picked us up promptly at the designated time and our tour guide, Alex, drove us about 15 miles from Telluride to their base camp at Fall Creek. During a scenic ride though the majestic mountains, towering trees, and along the San Miguel River to and from the base camp we learned a lot from Alex about the area, river rafting, some interesting history, and some good bars and restaurants in Telluride.
After 15 minutes or so, we turned onto a dirt road and about the time I was thinking maybe I misunderstood and our tour is going to be in a Suburban - we were on US Forest Service road, there were no ATV's in site, and it didn't look like an office with ATVs would be anywhere nearby. I was about to ask Alex when he pulled next to what looked like a small railroad car. He unlocked the door and inside were six awesome looking ATVs with a smile on their face just waiting to hit the trail.
Alex pulled out three of them, fit us with helmets, and gave us a short lesson on rules of the road and how to operate the ATVs. The Polaris Sportsman 500 ATVs looked brand new (2012) and they had 498 cc engines with speeds capable of up to 50 miles an hour - you speedsters, don't get too excited because the average tour speed is between 10 and 30 miles an hour. They also had very comfortable seats that could handle two people. Alex asked if we wanted to ride double or single and since I don't like back seat drivers and Mrs. Texas Outside doesn't like my driving, we both answered "single" at the same time! After Alex made sure each of our ATVs were running, he set off up the dirt road in a blaze of dust. Mrs. Texas Outside was right behind him - I don't know if she followed so close because he was cute or because she didn't want to get lost in the forest. Either way, I was in third place and pretty far behind in a cloud of dust!
Over the next two hours we covered over 20 miles as we rode up and down some US Forest Service dirt trails that twisted and turned through a variety of towering trees and past open meadows with majestic panoramic views of mountain ranges (some up to 14,000 feet!) in all directions. Colorado had 3 different fires raging when we visited and you can see some of the smoke off in the distance.
We made several stops to relax the gas finger and learn about the mountains, some history on logging and mining in the area, and snap some pictures that will never do the scenery justice. It was a bright and sunny day and at one stopping point we could see for miles well into Utah. Some of the highlights of our tour included:
All too soon we were back at the ATV storage shed and on our way home to that refreshing Coors. What a fun trip! Watch a video of one of the tours.
In addition to the two hour tour that we enjoyed, Telluride Outfitters offers a five hour tour as well as a full day ATV tour with lunch. During the winter, they store the ATVs and bring out the snowmobiles. It's hard to beat a snowmobile tour and they offer a wide variety of tours for first timers as well as experienced snowmobilers - you can take a remote high alpine back road tour, a ghost town tour, or snowmobile to Dunton Hot Springs and enjoy a sit down gourmet lunch and a soak in the natural hot springs.
In addition to the ATVs and snowmobile tours, Telluride Outfitters will take you fly fishing on the San Miguel, mountain biking with a choice of a wide variety of trails, or on a class 2 rafting run with several class 3 rapids down the San Miguel. And they would like to offer Texas Outside visitors a 10% discount on any tour - print and present this coupon to get the discount.
Read about the rest of our fun Colorado and New Mexico Vacation golfing, enjoying an exciting off road tour up the mountains, a fun zip line tour, rafting down the Animas River, and more.