If asked, every skier will give you a different list of their favorite trails. It’s not easy. Narrowing down 127 trails to just a handful of your top picks will give you anxiety. Do you focus on the rewarding hike-tos on Gold Hill? The 4.6 mile-long Galloping Goose trail? The iconic and historic Telluride Trail? It’s ridiculous to single out a few trails from a long list of such greats, but we’re going for it. Here are six trails that we’re nominating for the first annual Favorite Trails Awards.
Well, we all knew this one was coming. See Forever is a main artery of the ski resort. It’s the trail that connects some of our most iconic terrain areas; Front Side, Village, Apex, Plunge, Gold Hill and Revelation Bowl all touch See Forever. The trail provides 2.6 miles of groomed awesomeness starting from the top of Gold Hill Express (Lift 14) and ending at the San Sophia Gondola Station. They don’t call it “See Forever” for nothing. Every inch of it’s 25 acres offers a view. On a clear day, the La Sal Mountains in Utah come into view nearly 100 miles to the west. Mt. Wilson (14,246′) and Wilson Peak (14,017′) are prominently on display to the southwest, and Mt. Sneffels (14,150′) towers over the San Sophia range to the north as you ski down. Looking to the east, Bear Creek and Telluride’s iconic backcountry terrain will take your breath away.
Gold Hill 9
We can’t put a list together without highlighting one of the upper Gold Hills. From the top of Revelation (Lift 15), Gold Hill 9 is a moderate 30-minute hike that offers 360 degree views of the San Juan Mountains. The hike culminates in the Gold Hill Stairs, a staircase that provides access to what would otherwise be inaccessible terrain. From the top of the stairs, and as you traverse the western face of Gold Hill, the views are breathtaking. As you look across the Palmyra basin below, the 13,320 foot Palmyra Peak comes into view with 14er Wilson Peak towering in the background. Drop in from the side, or use a permanently fixed rope to billy-goat down an exposed rock face. The trail widens as you continue down the narrow shoot. Eventually, you’re dumped into the Palmyra Basin where acres of open powder and another 750 foot of vert are still ahead.
Log Pile to West Drain
Looking for an iconic tree run? Log Pile is a good place to start. The name says it all. Acres of gladed forest and pillow drops over massive logs and rock outcrops. From See Forever, you can drop in on your right anywhere along the half-mile stretch between Joint Point and Captain Jacks. Staying left provides pillow drop after pillow drop. Staying to the right keeps you in gladed trees where soft bumps and untracked powder are waiting. The trail eventually leads to West Drain, a natural half-pipe created by a deep snowy gully in the middle of the forest. You’ll end at the bottom of Plunge Lift (Lift 9) where a 13-minute lift ride is a welcome chance to re-energize after an epic run.
Difficulty: Advanced to Expert
There isn’t a kid in Telluride who hasn’t skied the Enchanted Forest. It’s safe to say the majority of adults have also checked it out at some point, even if they won’t admit it. The Enchanted Forest is a childrens’ paradise. The entrance offers a clear path into the forest where a winding trail will bring you past wooden statues and hidden tree gnomes. Okay, seems like this run is just built for the kiddos. But there’s more to it than that. Any skier will get a kick out of the Enchanted Forest regardless of age, trust us.
Milk Run reaches its prime when warmer spring-skiing temperatures begin to take hold. The warmer temperatures soften up the snow on this north-facing pitch, turning hard corduroy into soft corn. It’s located at the top of the Gondola at Station St. Sophia, the ideal place to start your final run of the day when temperatures are at their warmest. At the top, pause a minute to take in the incredible views of the town of Telluride backed by the San Sophia Range, then send it. You’ll be at top speed within seconds of dropping into the steep headwall. From there, you can head to Oak (The New Fat Alley) via Telluride Trail to grab a beer, or down to Coonskin via Lower Milk Run for happy hour at local hot-spots Siam Telluride or There.
Often overlooked as one of Telluride’s greats, it’s time to put Zulu Queen in the spotlight. Zulu Queen offers steep and deep powder accessed from Woozley’s Way and the top of Lift 6. From the top of the run, you can choose to ride the lift line, traversing and dropping pillows over downed trees before dipping into the woods. Or, you can follow Zulu Queen proper, hopping from mogul to mogul down 500 vertical feet before merging onto Allais Alley. While the rest of Apex will quickly become tracked on a powder day, Zulu Queen stays soft. It’s protected in the shade and just far enough out of the way to stay good. True, it’s not the biggest vert offered in a single run in Telluride, but when Zulu Queen first opens in the early season you’ll feel the burn. And it feels so good.