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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The setting sun casts a glow on the snow in the San Juan mountains near Telluride on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Telluride: “To hell you ride!”

At the height of the gold rush, 5000 people piled into a box canyon in southwest Colorado to strike it rich. And legend has it, as people made the long trek, they hollered "To hell you ride!" The town was then called Columbia, but the Postal Service kept sending mail to Columbia, California, so folks in Colorado renamed this one Telluride. In truth, the name comes from a rare mineral of gold and tellurium. And in the early years there was plenty of gold in the mountains surrounding Telluride. And soon there was plenty of money: Telluride became the first city in the world with electric streetlights. And there was danger: Telluride is where Butch Cassidy first robbed a bank – more than half a million dollars, adjusted for inflation.

Today, a ride to Telluride is faster than it once was. You can even book a flight. Pilots who use the one runway say it’s one of the most beautiful and dangerous in America, and are warned “Nothing you want to do tomorrow is worth risking lives today!”

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.