Running through the San Juan Mountains in Colorado


AUGUST 26th - SEPTEMBER 1st 2018

The 7-Day San Juan Running Adventure is a scenic tour of the best trail runs in the Telluride, Silverton and Ouray areas. This tour will give you the opportunity to run trails to cascading waterfalls, run through beautiful forests of aspen, visit historic mining ghost towns and enjoy multiple runs through the alpine tundra of the San Juan high country. Starting in the town of Telluride you will travel to the small town of Ophir, climb up and over Ophir Pass, visit the historic town of Silverton and finish in the colourful town of Ouray.

This adventure has intermediate level runs with possible distances up to 15 miles, moderate elevation gain with possible altitudes up to 13,000foot. Although we do our best to help you prepare for higher elevations it is a known fact that everyone acclimatises differently. With this in mind, know that running at these altitudes will still be challenging for all whether you are acclimatised or not and you should not expect your body to perform as it does at home. Most runners should expect to hike many sections of these trails, especially during the first few days at altitude. During this time most will enjoy running only the easier flats and gradual down hill sections while hiking the uphills like many people do during longer ultra-marathon races. Because of the beautiful scenery through out our trips most people have no problem adopting this philosophy of “run when I can, hike when I can’t” and simply take in the beauty of Colorado while hiking.

2017-07-04 12.43.21 HDR.jpg

How strong of a runner do I need to be for this trip?

We offer this trip for everyone. You do not need to be an experienced trail runner, ultra marathoner or avid outdoor enthusiast to enjoy our adventure. We invite first time trail runners who might not have access to mountainous terrain at home and want to experience the joys of alpine trail running. Like any endeavour in the mountains, most will have a far better experience if they are in shape and should begin a training program well before the trip. Please study the detailed itinerary for the day to day distances and elevation gains. Keep in mind that we will typically have most of the day available to complete these distances and you will most likely have the option to take significant breaks at scenic over looks, lakes, mountain passes etc.. More importantly, one should be able to complete these distances day after day knowing there will be few rest days planned. We are available for training tips and advice for those who are new to this kind of running.

What to expect?

During this 7-day adventure you will have the opportunity to run on five separate outings. The first few days will be spent in the Telluride area and will consist of a short acclimatisation run, followed by a long scenic run through the forest on the second and an unforgettable run through the alpine tundra and wildflowers on the third. From Telluride we will work our way east and enjoy two more days of stunning trails as we work our way to the Ouray area. Here you will have the opportunity to run old historic mining roads while passing through ghost towns dating back to 1880 as well as an exhilarating run into Ouray on a trail that is literally cut into the mountain side. Many of the runs during this adventure are considered to be of moderate level and we encourage participants to arrive in good running condition. This is a perfect trip for both experienced trail runners and those new to the sport looking to experience the joys of running on beautiful mountain trails. During this all-inclusive adventure you will spend one night in the small town of Ridgeway, day nights at a historic hotel in the colorful town of Telluride, one night perched high on the top of Ophir Pass at the cozy Opus Hut, one night at an old Victorian hotel in historic Silverton and one night in beautiful Ouray.

How much? 

  • US$2495
  • US$500 non refundable deposit required to secure place, deposit can be transferred to another adventure.
  • Remaining balance due by July 1st 2018. Registrations after that date must be paid in full.
  • 100% refund if trip is cancelled

Cost Includes:

  • Experienced guides
  • Transportation to and from the Montrose Airport
  • All daily transportation to and from trailheads
  • All lodging
  • All breakfasts, most dinners and some lunches (See itinerary for what meals are included)
  • All group equipment

Not Included:

    • Hotel costs before and/or after scheduled trip dates
    • Personal trail food, gels, energy drink mixes
    • Any alcohol with meals
    • Trip cancellation insurance
    • Personal running gear and clothing
    • Guide gratuity

    Participants: 8-12

    Guides: Jared Vilhaur, Anna Frost and Braz

    ADD ON Telluride Mountain Race: 

    • 25th August 

    ADVENTURE Itinerary:

    Please note that daily runs are subject to change due to weather and trail conditions. Summer in the San Juans typically produces afternoon thunderstorms that we can plan around by starting and finishing our daily runs early. In the event of bad weather, especially above tree-line, MOST planned runs have a contingency option that will give us a safer run for the day. All runs are optional and you can choose not to participate at anytime.

    Day 1: Arrive in Southwest Colorado - Telluride

    There are many options for flying to SW Colorado with the easiest and most popular option being Montrose (MTJ). If possible, please choose a flight that will arrive in the afternoon so that your hotel room will be ready for you when you arrive. Shuttle from Montrose airport to Telluride, where we will spend the night and have a nice welcome dinner.

    • Lodging: Telluride
    • Meals included: Dinner

    Day 2: Deep Creek Trail

    Most people on this trip will be arriving from lower elevations and will find that it might take a few days to get used to thin air in the San Juans. With this in mind we will help your body acclimatise to this higher elevation with a run on one of Telluride’s finest forested trails. The Deep Creek Trail is a scenic rolling trail that runs through giant aspen groves, open flower filled meadows and past cascading waterfalls. This trail will have a few short climbs that will require some hiking but has mostly rolling terrain that everyone will enjoy running.

    • Lodging: Telluride
    • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Yoga: with Anna
    • Run: 10 miles

    Day 3: Lizard Head Wilderness Alpine Run

    Today’s run is one of our favourites!. The Lizard Head Wilderness is home to multiple stunning 13-14,000ft peaks as well as some of the most scenic trails systems in the area. This loop through the alpine wilderness will begin with a climb from Lizard Head Pass to the high alpine where we will spend most of the outing. 

    • Lodging: Telluride
    • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Yoga: with Anna
    • Run: 10 miles

    Day 4: Run to Opus hut

    Today we will choose from one of the many options of beauty to get to the Opus hut - options include via Bridal Veil, Wasatch, Ophir Pass or Columbine Lake. 

    • Lodging: Opus Hut, Ophir Pass
    • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Yoga: with Anna
    • Run: 10 miles

    Day 5: Alpine Run Near Silverton

    Home of the Hardrock 100, Silverton is a quint town in the heart of the San Juans with a reputation for great trail running. Today we will choose from one of the many options in area and enjoy the spectacular scenery the area has to offer. Following the run we will spend the night in historic downtown Silverton.

    • Lodging: Silverton
    • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Yoga: with Anna
    • Run: 7+ miles

    Day 6: Alpine Run to Ouray

    Today will be our final run and one of the best of the trip. Starting up 4wd road, we will climb to the top of Engineer Pass where we will gain some of the best views of the entire trip. From here we will head down on a single track trail through fields of wildflowers and alpine tundra across the American Flats in the Uncompahgre Wilderness. Before descending down into Ouray this trail will make one last climb and traverse a spectacular breathe taking ridge known as The Bridge of Heaven. As a bonus to today’s run, this trail will lead us directly into the town of Ouray and our hotel. Following the run we will have a farewell group dinner at one of Ouray’s restaurants and a relaxing soak in the town’s hot springs.

    • Lodging: Ouray
    • Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Yoga: with Anna
    • Run: 15 miles

    Day 7: Travel Home

    Today you will travel home. Please be sure to let us know your departure flight details so that we can arrange your transportation back to Montrose. If possible, please try to arrange a morning or late morning flight.

    • Meals included: Breakfast