Play Telluride, Crested Butte, Gunnison and Durango

Fireworks and the Strater Hotel in Telluride
Fireworks outside the 129-year-old Strater Hotel in Durango


A suddenly sizzling hot spell throughout the Southwest has us turning our beat-the-heat attention to the southern Rocky Mountains — places like Telluride, Gunnison, Crested Butte and Durango — where the high altitude environs offer golfers a natural resplendent and blissfully cooler getaway.

Horseback riding in Telluride
Telluride Horseback Riding


Telluride, as always, is rocking it big time with a litany of signature events and celebrations including the 43rd annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 16-19), Telluride Wine Festival (June 23-26), Fourth of July Celebration (July 4), and The Ride Festival (July 9-10). Posh and indulging overnights are at the Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge, Lumiére Hotel, and the AAA Four Diamond Madeline Hotel and Residences. The semi-private Telluride Golf & Ski Club is a 6,574-yard delight that promotes its par-70 routing with mesmerizing, 14,000-foot views of the San Juan Mountains.

Crested Butte hiking
There are plenty of hiking options in Crested Butte


Crested Butte underscores its celebrity as a storied summertime attraction with golf at the Troon Privé-managed Club at Crested Butte and its semi-private, 7,208-yard Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course. Must-attend events include the expanded Crested Butte Bike Week (June 23-26), 30th annual Wildflower Festival (July 11-23), and the Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival (July 28-31). Enticing stay and play packages are available at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square.

River rafting in Gunnison
A family rafts in Gunnison


In nearby Gunnison, the annual snowmelt is passionately celebrated during the Gunnison River Festival (June 23-26), now in its 14th year. Two other superlative events are the 116 annual Cattlemen’s Days (July 8-17), plus the summer-long I Bar Ranch Concert Series (June 21-Aug. 20), which will pack ’em in with performances from The Subdudes, Pure Prairie League, Asleep At The Wheel and others. Tee it up at the John Cochran/Dick Phelps-crafted Dos Rios Golf Club, and for information and one-stop lodging in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area, call (877) 213-5357.

Durango, Colorado
Beautiful Durango


Durango’s playground is a Technicolor display of wild-and-wooly river sports, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, gliding, camping and more. Golfers prize 7,076-yard Hillcrest Golf Course; the semi-private, Ken Dye-designed Dalton Ranch Golf Club; and Glacier Club’s members-only 27-hole (soon to be 36-hole) golf complex designed by Arthur Hills, Hale Irwin and Todd Schoeder. Coordinate your stay around the True West Pro Rodeo Series (Wednesdays through July 20), Music in the Mountains Summer Performances (July 8-31), and the 81st annual Durango Fiesta Days (July 23-31). Luxurious downtown overnights are close by at the grand Rochester Hotel and Leland House, landmark General Palmer House, and the 129-years-young Strater Hotel.

Southwest Colorado trout fishing in the summer
A fisherman catches a trout in Southwest Colorado


Durango Train
The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train winds through the mountains


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Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via