Nestled in the northeastern corner of Colorado, the town of Telluride offers a charming alpine experience for visitors of every age. And rest assured that this small mountain town offers plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains!

From water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding to snow activities like snowboarding and skiing to exploring mountain trails via horseback or mountain bike—there’s an activity for every experience level and budget.

Though much of the mountain can be explored without assistance, hiring a San Juan mountain guide is well worth the investment for true adventurers. Whether you’re new to Telluride or you’re a seasoned mountain expert, learn more about how to hire the right mountain guide for your Telluride adventure!

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What is a Mountain Guide?

Simply put, a mountain guide is an experienced and specially trained professional mountaineer that is certified through local authorities and outdoor associations.

Mountain guides are considered high-level experts in their particular region and they can be hired to instruct groups or lead teams through the wilderness.

Why use a Mountain Guide?

Any mountain adventure, no matter how long or short, carries some degree of risk—especially for visitors that aren’t used to the changing elevation and mountain conditions. Hiring a professional mountain guide is a great way to discover the unseen side of Telluride and ensure the highest level of safety.

Mountain guides are familiar with the safest and most scenic mountain routes, often taking guests off the beaten path to hidden gems. Additionally, mountain guides are certified in CPR and wilderness safety, so you will be in good hands should an emergency arise.

Things to Look for in a Guide

If booking a guided tour through an agency, only work with companies that offer full transparency about their guides. You should get the name and background information for your guide prior to departure so you can make sure the guide is a good fit for what you’re looking for.

If possible, book a guide that has a few years of guide experience in your particular region—in this case, Telluride.

Additionally, book for a mountain guide with the ‘American Mountain Guide Certification’, which is the AMGA’s highest level of credential that is recognized in more than 20 International Federation of Mountain Guides Association member countries. The certification requires more than 86 days of training with the AMGA and specific training in the areas of alpine, rock, and ski. AMGA-certified mountaineers are also CRP certified, have specialized avalanche training, and have wilderness first responder (WFR) training.

Telluride Mountain Guides

Aptly named, Telluride Mountain Guides (“TMG”) is the mountain’s premier guide service. With over 30 years of experience, TMG knows every inch of the majestic San Juan mountains inside and out. This small group of local experts offers an intimate tour experience tailored to your personal needs. Explore the mountain with a scenic hike, enjoy the mountain’s best ski routes, or climb hidden cliffs that couldn’t be found without expert guidance. From true beginners to seasoned experts—TMG supports explorers of every experience level.

Visit the Telluride Mountain Guides website for more information and to book your tour:

Other, less private ‘guides and ‘tours’ are readily available at other mountain purveyors. These companies offer services like guided rock climbs, horseback riding tours, and more. Here are a few of Telluride’s top tour guide services:

Bootdoctors & Paragon Outdoors

Address: 650 Mountain Village Blvd, Telluride, CO 81435

Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Daily

Phone: (970) 728-8954


Bootdoctor provides guided summer trips for rafting, hiking, biking, and paddleboarding. They also offer generous discounts for groups!

Mild to Wild


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& that’s a wrap.. or a rapid. You pick.

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Address: 50 Animas View Dr, Durango, CO 81301

Hours: 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Daily

Phone: (970) 247-4789


See a different side of Telluride by booking a guided tour with Mild to Wild, who specializes in whitewater rafting and Jeep tours.

Mountain Trip


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Address: 135 W Colorado Ave #2a, Telluride, CO 81435

Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Daily

Phone: (970) 369-1153


Explore to new heights with Mountain Trip, a local company that offers experienced climbing guides and tours throughout Telluride.

San Juan Outdoor Adventures


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Reposted from @yogimagee ‐————————- To me it isn’t summer without a Via Ferrata climb with the @sanjuanoutdooradventures guides. Last year Bridal Veil falls wasn’t flowing much but two years ago, when this photo was taken, it was epic. I’m excited to head back this June and twice in August for my Telluride Retreats that each have an amazing group of people signed up. This was the retreat I built my business when I started running retreats in 2014, so it will always have a special place in my heart. It never gets old coming here because each group I have makes it unique and special. You also don’t have to climb the Via Ferrata. While I hire the best guides I know some people just aren’t interested and take a free day to shop or get massages or hike or mountain bike instead. There’s so much to do here you’ll never get bored. You’ll also never want to shower because we only get dirty all over again! . I still have 4 spots left on my retreat this August 14-18th during the Annual Mushroom Festival. There’s one spot that opened up for the June Retreat 26-30th during the wine festival. I linked the trips in my bio! I most likely will only be running one retreat in Telluride next summer so this is your chance to get your fix since this retreat usually sells out in 24 hours! . Can’t wait to hang out here with you!

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Address: 223 East Colorado, Telluride, CO 81435

Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Daily

Phone: (970) 728-4140


Variety is the spice of life! San Juan Outdoor Adventures offers a wide array of tour guide services, including backcountry skiing, ice climbing, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, and more.

Telluride Helitrax


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Address: 9509, 136 Country Club Dr, Telluride, CO 81435

Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Daily

Phone: (970) 728-8377


See Colorado from a completely new perspective with an unforgettable guided helicopter tour!

It’s not hard to see why Telluride is one of the top mountain destinations in the United States. A popular spot for mountaineering beginners and pros alike, a trip to Telluride isn’t complete without a thorough tour of the surrounding landscape. Book a guide for your next trip and make the most of your mountain adventure!