Where to Buy in Telluride Based on Lifestyle

The majestic peaks, crisp mountain air, endless outdoor activities, and serenity of Telluride is like no other. Telluride is one of the best places to put down roots or at very least visit frequently if you have the ambition and desire to live in one of the most spectacular mountain towns. Incredible people from all over the globe have chosen the quaint town of Telluride to live a lifestyle filled with fresh air and adventures. After visiting Telluride, we hear time and time again that there is no other place like it and other mountain towns pale in comparison. 
You may be browsing for real estate or rentals and if you have not spent a lot of time in the area you may be wondering the difference between Telluride, Mountain Village and the surrounding areas such as Rico, Placerville, and the multiple mesas around the county. Many factors come into play such as budget, space needs, and special criteria you may have. In this article, we will focus on what options are available if you’re planning on laying roots in Telluride and becoming a long term resident, or just looking for a mountain escape to own a second residence. 

Town of Telluride

Let’s start with often the most desirable but hardest to attain location which is the Town of Telluride. Main Street is a historic 12 block street in a box canyon surrounded by jagged peaks. The views are dramatic and remind one of a small town in Switzerland. Downtown telluride is the heartbeat for the entire area, providing a lively and social experience for those who desire vibrant human connections and friendly neighbors. It’s common to run into many acquaintances simply walking down the street, or running errands. Everything in town is conveniently within walking distance, causing some locals to defer from starting their cars for weeks. Skiing, festival grounds, restaurants, shops and bars are all within a half mile. With accessibility at your fingertips, this naturally makes it more desirable. With limited inventory, it is critical to stay on top of the current market if you’d like to own in Telluride. High demand combined with limited inventory make it more difficult to find a residence, and create the cause to act swiftly when something you’d like to buy does hit the market. Overall, for a place in Telluride you will get less space for the price you pay, but are connected to the pulse and liveliness of the town and the convenience factor. Prices typically range from 1 million dollars for a small 2 bedroom condo up to 4-5 million dollars for the average single family home. 

Mountain Village

Situated at 9,547 feet, roughly 1000 feet higher than the town of Telluride is Mountain Village. The village is connected to Telluride by a free gondola and about a 10-minute drive to downtown Telluride. One of the most spectacular aspects is the expansive San Juan mountain range views, the longer hours of sunlight, tremendous ski access, and larger homes and lots. Housing in the village ranges from condos to large estates. Typically, the prices are slightly lower than the Town of Telluride and if you’re looking for more room the village offers this benefit. There are still numerous undeveloped lots, some ski-in/ski-out to build your dream home on as well as an array of condos in the village core with quick access to the slopes, restaurants, and shopping. Prices range from about $400,000 for a small condo to $2-3 million for a residence. Mountain Village boasts some beautiful estates as well if you have a larger family and want a truly impressionable property to bring everyone together. Homes and estates with ski access will reflect higher prices than those that do not have direct access to the slopes. Mountain Village is equipped with a market, pharmacy, and liquor store, as well as a few great restaurants and watering holes. The village is slightly sleepier than town however; it is easy to hop on the free gondola and head into the Town of Telluride if you want a more ambitious night out. 

Surrounding Areas

If you’re looking for room to spread out and typically a little less on the pricey side, the surrounding areas of Telluride have a lot to offer. Just west of Telluride down valley are Illium, Placerville and Sawpit. Tucked into canyons resting along the San Miguel River, Placerville is a sleepy and quaint community. The starting point for a single-family home is about $700,000. 
There are also a number of large ranches containing vast acreage if you prefer more land.
South of Telluride and Mountain Village down Highway 145 are some beautiful mountain communities such as the Ski Ranches, Ophir, Trout Lake, San Bernardo, and Rico. Nestled on the hill just past mountain village is the Ski Ranches neighborhood where you can purchase a home for about $ 1-3 million, with large lots, privacy, and a quick 10-minute drive into the heart of Mountain Village. Beyond the ski resort’s south ridgeline lies an adjacent mountain valley where the small town of Ophir lies. Ophir is just past the ski ranches, about 20 minutes to Telluride, and offers all the outdoor access you could dream of out your front door. Further along, lies San Bernardo and the beautiful Trout Lake area, and about 30 minutes from Telluride, lies the Town of Rico. The town has not changed much over the last several decades which adds to the history of this old mining mountain town. Rico has some of the best mountain biking, hiking, backcountry skiing, and hot springs in the area with local charm to boot. Prices in this town start on the lower end. You can buy a single-family home for around $500,000. With the increase in pricing in Telluride, we expect more people to lay down roots here as this small town is slowly reviving, and there is little room to develop and grow in Telluride. 


There are several mesas surrounding Telluride such as Hastings, Specie, Wilson, and Horsefly/Iron Springs mesa with huge, panoramic unobstructed views, room-to-board horses, privacy, and numerous outdoor adventures out your backyard. Life on the mesas provides solitude, and vast open space, and tends to feel like the true old historic ranches of the wild west in Colorado. The Mesas are approximately a 20-30 minute commute to Telluride, and most have year-round access. The size of land you’d like to dwell on is up to you, with lots from 5-10 acres, up to 100 acres, or more. Prices vary depending on the size of the land and whether or not a homestead is already built. On the mesas, you can purchase a home with land for below a million. If you’re looking to live the western Colorado dream, ranch/mesa life may be the perfect option. 
As we outlined, there are many great options to make Telluride your permanent home or a Colorado mountain getaway. From living in high-energy downtown Telluride to living deeply immersed in nature out on the many mesas, Telluride has something for everyone. What all these places have in common are the stunning views, outdoor mecca, and amazing community. Eric Saunders has lived, walked, skied, and driven every inch of the Telluride area for the last 25 years. If you have any questions about which area best suits your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out. [email protected] 970-708-2447

Four Seasons - Brian O'Neill and Bill Fandel
Highline Residences - Brian O'Neil

Work With Eric

Eric loves to help people discover the mountain lifestyle and magic of Telluride. He brings a high level of professionalism and integrity to each transaction; allowing you to relax and enjoy the buying/selling process. He has been involved in over $400 million in real estate transactions and has guided clients through large-scale and single-family developments, condo, commercial and land purchases.