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Experience the Thrill: Our Favorite Climbing & Via Ferrata Tours in Telluride

Ahhhh Telluride, where jagged peaks and adrenaline-pumping adventures await! And what better way to get the adrenaline pumping than to hang suspended on the side of a cliff? Picture yourself clinging to the mountainside, suspended above breathtaking landscapes and conquering challenges that redefine your limits of what you thought you were capable of.

Let this guide be the gateway to your next Telluride Via Ferrata, Guided Rock Climbing, and Mountaineering adventures. 

As your friendly adventure companions, we've sifted through the crags to unveil our top picks for the most heart-pounding yet utterly rewarding climbing experiences in the area. Get ready to ascend with expert guidance, soak in panoramic views, and uncover why Telluride's rocky wonders beckon adventurers from every corner.

Why You Should Consider a Mountaineering, Climbing, or Via Ferrata Tour in Telluride

Climbing near Telluride is an immersive experience that combines adventure, natural beauty, and personal growth, making it an essential addition to any adventurer's bucket list.

Telluride draws world-class climbers and experienced mountain guides who dedicate their time to AMGA certifications, spending years in training, while cutting their teeth climbing in places such as Denali or Chamonix. Telluride's collection of experienced guides prioritize safety while providing insights into the area's geology and history, enriching the experience. Telluride's Via Ferrata, in particular, is a tribute to the town's mining heritage, offering a tangible connection to the adventurers who once traversed these mountains.

One compelling reason to consider such a tour is the unique perspective it offers. As you scale the rugged terrain, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys that are simply unattainable from the ground. The experience of being high above the landscape, secured to the rock face, is both humbling and exhilarating. 

Climbing in Telluride challenges you physically and mentally, providing a satisfying sense of accomplishment upon completion. It's an opportunity to push your limits, conquer fears, and build confidence. The activity also fosters camaraderie, as climbers often work together, offering encouragement and support.

Whether you're a seasoned climber or a first-timer, Telluride offers a variety of routes suited for all skill levels, ensuring everyone gets their dose of jaw-dropping scenery along with an exhilarating climb.

Via Ferrata: The Best of Both Worlds

Now, if you're like me and appreciate the sweet spot between hiking and rock climbing, Via Ferrata is your golden ticket. Italian for "iron path," Via Ferrata combines the best of both hiking and rock climbing—thanks to a system of fixed cables, ladders, and bridges. It's like a real-life ropes course suspended high above the valley, offering a unique perspective of the region that few get to experience.

Originating in the Alps during World War I, Via Ferrata is actually quite rare in North America, with a few notable exceptions, two being here in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. 

Can you climb a ladder? Are you comfortable with heights? The Via Ferrata is not particularly strenuous and does not require climbing skills; however, it is a trail that follows a narrow ledge system on an immense cliff, so you should be in good physical condition and comfortable with exposure. Rest assured, local guide services provide expert-led tours that cater to all skill levels, ensuring safety and an unforgettable adventure.

Telluride’s Classic Via Ferrata Route

For an introduction to the exhilarating world of Via Ferrata, look no further than our classic Krogeratta route. Named after the local climbing legend Chuck Kroger who initially placed the route in the 70’s this route traverses 600 feet above the ground. While climbing the Telluride Via Ferrata, climbers have a stunning view toward the end of the box canyon, seeing eye level at Bridal Veil Falls, the highest free-falling waterfall in Colorado. Looking toward the West, climbers have a birds eye view looking down on the quaint town of Telluride below. This 5 hour excursion is a 4.8 mile loop with 2.2 miles of exhilarating cliff traversing.  and combines awe-inspiring views with the thrill of navigating iron rungs and cliff-side trails. Suitable for all skill levels, it's the perfect way to experience the iconic Via Ferrata route while soaking in the grandeur of the San Juan Mountains.

Telluride Via Ferrata Route

Ouray’s Via Ferrata Route

There are only a couple dozen different via ferrata routes across North America, and we’re lucky to host two of them in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The Ouray Via Ferrata is complimentary yet quite different adventure from Telluride’s Via Ferrata. Iit follows the course of the Uncompahgre River through a deep gorge and encompassing European style elements into the route. Not only are you set in a gorge above beautiful rapids, you start the route by crossing the river made up of three cables and ending on a 75-foot Skybridge. The Ouray route is entirely cabled, and requires lots of climbing up and down rungs, so it is a bit more physically demanding while the Telluride via ferrata is more mentally challenging.

Unleash Your Inner Indiana Jones

Let's face it; climbing a rock face or traversing a Via Ferrata feels a bit like stepping into an Indiana Jones movie. The thrill of conquering challenging terrain, the rush of the wind in your face, and the sense of accomplishment when you make it past the crux—these tours allow you to become the hero of your own adventure story.

Expert Guides

In Telluride, the guides are not just experts, they’re your friendly companions on this epic journey. A wise man once said, “choose wisely who you choose to attach yourself to on the side of the cliff!” The good news is the expert guides at our partner Telluride Mountain Guides are truly some of the best in the business. Their passion for the mountains is contagious, and their knowledge ensures a safe and enjoyable experience.

The Telluride via ferrata can be mentally challenging with some serious exposure, so these guys can set up a supplemental belay in areas where there is not additional protection.

Whether you're a beginner looking for advice or a seasoned climber in pursuit of insider insights, these guides are your key to unraveling the mysteries of Telluride's vertical realm.

A True Test of Grit and Gratitude

Climbing and traversing the Via Ferrata is not just a physical challenge but also a mental triumph. Each step, each grip on the iron rungs, is a testament to your courage and resilience. Telluride’s via Ferrata in particular is a true mental challenge because of the sheer vertical height and exposure. But when you push through the challenges along the way, the view becomes more than just scenery—it's a reward for your determination and a moment to savor the gratitude for the journey.


Get ready for an experience that will not only test your physical limits but also reward you with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. 

When to go

The best time of year to do the Via Ferrata is in the late spring, summer and fall, from late May through early October. Be sure to ensure there is not snow or ice on the route or you can get into some pretty scary situations.

Make sure to watch the weather forecast as there is no option for escape once you are on the route. Telluride often experiences afternoon rains in July through mid-August. Be especially careful if you choose to do the Via Ferrata in the spring when there is still snow or spring runoff above the route as avalanches or debris can let loose from above.

My favorite time of year is during the peak season of Fall mid to late September.

What to Bring

Now, onto the essentials. Telluride's mountain weather can be unpredictable, so prepare for all scenarios. Wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing and sturdy footwear with good grip. Don't forget to pack a light backpack with snacks, a water bottle, and sun protection. Most tour operators provide the necessary climbing gear, but if you have your favorite pair of hiking boots or a lucky chalk bag feel free to bring them along.

Guided Rock Climbing Adventures

More traditional rock climbing on bolted sport routes or trad climbing is also available near Telluride. With the right guide, you can experience anything from an introductory half-day rock climbing adventure to a full day of pushing your lead technique and placing equipment for more intermediate to advanced climbers.

With a focus on hands-on instruction, this tour is great for climbers of all levels. Whether you're a beginner gaining confidence on the rock or an experienced climber honing your skills, our knowledgeable guides will tailor the experience to suit your abilities.

Climbing & Rappelling with Expert Mountain Guides

If you're seeking a mix of climbing and adrenaline-pumping rappelling, our expert mountain guides have you covered. Their full-day adventure takes you up vertical rock faces, providing a true taste of traditional climbing. Plus, the descent via rappelling adds an extra layer of excitement. With experienced guides leading the way, this tour is tailored for both beginners and experienced climbers looking to elevate their skills.

Summiting Telluride's Peaks, One Adventure at a Time

If you are more focused on summiting a big peak, Telluride has those too. The opportunity to participate in a big mountain or technical summit experience with world class guides offers an exciting and challenging adventure. These guided trips, including climbs like Wilson Peak, Mt. Wilson, and El Diente, are set in stunning locations and cater to various skill levels, from intermediate to advanced climbers. Participants can expect to traverse rugged terrains and enjoy panoramic vistas. The experience includes essential gear like harnesses, helmets, and ropes.

How to Decide Which Tour or Experience is Best for You

Telluride offers a spectrum of climbing experiences, so how do you choose the one that's right for you? Consider your skill level, fitness, and the amount of time you want to spend on the rocks. If you're a beginner, look for introductory courses with experienced guides who can provide hands-on instruction. Advanced routes with technical ascents might be the perfect fit for the seasoned climber seeking a challenge. Via Ferrata tours are generally more accessible to all skill levels, however a moderate level of fitness is recommended. Be sure to communicate your comfort levels with exposure to height with your guide to ensure a tailored experience.

Safety First: What Guides Want You to Know

Safety is paramount, and your guides are there to ensure you have a thrilling yet secure experience. You'll receive a thorough safety briefing before you embark on your climbing or Via Ferrata journey. Pay close attention to the guide's instructions on harnessing, clipping, and movement techniques.

Ask more questions rather than assuming you’ve got it. The goal is to ensure you feel confident and secure throughout the adventure.

Wearing a helmet is an important safety measure while on the Via Ferrata as there are multiple places where rockfall can come from above. Also, watch out for weather updates.

While you are welcome to approach the climbing routes and via ferrata on your own, we highly recommend hiring a local guide service. Guides provide all the proper equipment for safe travel and are very familiar with the route, local weather or recent changes in conditions.

Now that you're all geared up and eager for adventure, let's dive into our top picks for climbing and Via Ferrata tours in Telluride. Each of these experiences offers a unique blend of challenge, scenery, and expert guidance. Check them out and see which one resonates with the adventurer in you.

Choosing Your Adventure: Tips for Decision-Making

Skill Level

Consider your climbing expertise. Some tours are designed for beginners, while others cater to more advanced climbers. Be honest about your abilities to ensure a satisfying experience.


Whether you're seeking a half-day thrill or a full-day immersion, the duration of the tour matters. Choose a timeframe that aligns with your preferences and energy levels.

Scenery Preferences

Some tours offer panoramic mountain views, while others might take you through more secluded, forested areas. Think about the kind of scenery that will enhance your adventure.

Guide Expertise

Look for tours led by experienced guides who prioritize safety and offer valuable insights. A knowledgeable guide can make a significant difference in your overall experience.

In the heart of the Rockies, Telluride unveils a unique world of climbing and via ferrata experiences that transcend the ordinary. From conquering iron-clad paths to scaling rock faces in the desert, each tour weaves adrenaline, expertise, and jaw-dropping vistas.

So, whether you're a novice seeking a thrilling intro or a seasoned climber chasing the next summit, let Telluride be your ultimate playground. As you descend from the heights, take a moment to savor the triumph, shared laughter, newfound friendships, and the rugged beauty that defines Telluride. See you at the summit!


Written by: Kelli

Travel Company Owner: Kelli Gleason is the Owner of Telluride Tourbase, a travel tech company focused on helping people find the best tours and activities. She is a 5th generation Colorado native and currently resides in Telluride, Colorado. You can often find her on a sailboat in the Caribbean or connecting with nature on her skis, bike, hiking shoes, yoga mat, or a raft. 

All of our content at Tourbase is written by experienced travel writers who have visited all of the locations we recommend. And our review board of local tourism experts ensure that all the information we provide is accurate, current and helpful

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