Places to Visit: Cortez Colorado

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Cortez Colorado

Located on the western plains less than two hours from Telluride, Cortez is a regional business hub near Mesa Verde National Park and impressive mountain biking terrain.

  • Cortez is a growing tourist destination because of its proximity to national parks and good mountain biking.
  • The town is less than two hours from Telluride and one hour from Durango.
  • Cortez is one of the more developed town in southwest Colorado and has a full range of services.


Set on the fringes of the San Juan Mountains, Cortez has a year-round population of 8,000 people but attracts visitors year-round looking to explore nearby mountains and national parks. The town is a major business hub of southwest Colorado and has all types of supplies, services and lodging.


Cortez is about 50 miles west of Durango and 75 miles to the southwest of Telluride near the southwest corner of Colorado.


Cortez is one of the more developed towns in southwest Colorado and has a full range of services and lodging.


The rocky, rolling hills and desert tundra surrounding Cortez form prime mountain biking terrain, and more and more bikers are funneling into town each year. The surge in interest has led several shops to open in town and trails are constantly being developed. Stop by one of the shops for more information.


Mesa Verde National Park
The site of ancient cliff dwellings and artifacts, Mesa Verde is a highlight of southwest Colorado. Drive east out of town on Highway 160 and look for the right turn into Mesa Verde at about the 10 mile mark.

Four Corners
At the Four Corners it’s possible to pass through four states in one day. Follow Highway 160 south out of town and take the right fork when 160 splits to the west.

Getting Here

To reach Telluride from Cortez, exit town on Highway 145. You will see the turnoff to Telluride after 75 miles.