The gondola ride between Telluride and Mountain Village is a popular attraction among tourists and locals alike. The ride is completely free, making it an affordable way to experience the breathtaking mountain landscape of Colorado. The gondola’s red cabin, introduced to commemorate its 20th anniversary in December 2016, is especially popular with kids who often describe it as being better than a ride at Disneyland.
Originally built to reduce air pollution by decreasing the number of cars on the road, the gondola has been transporting an estimated 2.8 million skiers, snowboarders, hikers, mountain bikers, and festival-goers annually since its opening in 1996. The ride up and over the 10,500-foot Coonskin Ridge offers panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains, mesas covered with Aspen trees, and waterfalls. The ride provides a bird’s eye view of both towns and, on a clear day, riders can see the La Sal Range in Utah.
In addition to its stunning views, the gondola is also the first and only free public transportation of its kind in the United States. The ride from Telluride to Mountain Village takes approximately 13 minutes, and visitors can enjoy lunch, explore the slopes, and visit the playground near Poacher’s Pub before heading back down.