Above: Landscape near Madeline Hotel & Residences, Telluride

Relaxing on my balcony in the Mountain Village, high above the 19th-century mining town ofTelluride, I remembered why it is one of my favorite places in the Rockies. Telluride’s rivals may have more-lavish hotels and more-sophisticated restaurants, but few, if any, can compete with the drama of its setting. Looking west, I could just make out the ribbon of the airport runway, at an elevation of 9,070 feet, from which private jets would rise lazily into the sky and then swiftly disappear. Ahead of me, on the far side of the valley, stretched an unbroken wall of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks, a rampart given scale by the toy figure of a paraglider suspended beneath a scarlet canopy. And to the east, fissured cliffs and forested slopes sealed off the box canyon that for decades rendered Telluride virtually inaccessible to the outside world.

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Above: Landscape near Madeline Hotel & Residences, Telluride

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