Celebrating the Fourth of July safely

There’s no doubt that July 4 will be different this year in San Miguel County, but while traditional festivities are on hiatus, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Independence Day safely. The region’s wide-open spaces offer endless ways to get outdoors and distanced, and a variety of activities and events are scheduled with best practices in place.

San Miguel County boasts some of the finest trail systems in the west catering to all abilities, including the new Telluride Bike Park and the Thunder Trails in Norwood for those on wheels. The Bike Park offers a lift-served experience with a variety of interconnected trails including freeride, technical and cross-country.

Hiking options in the region are endless, ranging from easily accessible trails in Telluride and Mountain Village to high-country treks, with options for all levels and interests. A variety of stunning high alpine lakes run the length of the county, from Miramonte Reservoir to Trout Lake.

Maps and recommendations can be provided at the Visitor Centers located in Telluride and Norwood. Hikers are encouraged to continue practicing physical distancing and mask wearing while passing people on trails.

Activities and events that highlight the holiday weekend while encouraging best practices include the Sunset Stroll, Rundola, the Summer Arts Bazaar at the Transfer Warehouse and more.

Kick off the festivities in Mountain Village with the Sunset Stroll on Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music from Tyler Simmons and happy hour in Heritage Plaza.

The Telluride Art Walk will kick-off the holiday weekend on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. featuring new exhibits and artists at participating venues in Telluride. Those craving more of the art scene will enjoy the second annual Telluride Arts Bazaar on Saturday and Sunday at the historic, roofless Telluride Transfer Warehouse. The SHOW Bar at the Sheridan Opera House will display and sell paintings from Telluride Plein Air artists from Thursday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m. Live music in outdoor areas in Mountain Village and Telluride will provide entertainment to pedestrians and al fresco diners on Saturday and Sunday. Venues will be allowing a limited number of people in their spaces at a time, and participants must wear face masks, physically distance and avoid large groups.

The Telluride Foundation’s annual Rundola will take place on July 4, with modifications made to ensure a safe, socially distanced event. The popular footrace starts at the base of the gondola and finishes at the top San Sophia Ridge, a 1,810 foot elevation gain. Participants must register by July 2 at 4 p.m. at runreg.com.

“Our community has done an incredible job in finding creative solutions to keep the area festive during Independence Day weekend,” said County Manager Mike Bordogna. “We are hopeful that the variety of small events and activities offered throughout the County will disperse people and prevent group gatherings.”

Based on the State’s Executive Order and the County’s alignment, group size cannot exceed 10 people, and restaurants are open at a limited capacity with al fresco dining available in Telluride, Mountain Village and Norwood. Masks are required in public places in Telluride and Mountain Village (including in gondola cabins), and maintaining six-feet of space between individuals is highly encouraged.

“Best practices can be easily forgotten when we are enjoying a holiday that is typically filled with group gatherings,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “While celebrating the 4th, it’s important that we stay focused on long-term goals to successfully endure this pandemic by minimizing group size, wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing and proper hygiene, and staying home when sick.”

For a complete list of activities and events go to: VisitTelluride.com and NorwoodColorado.com

For up to date coronavirus information visit: SanMiguelCountyCo.gov/coronavirus

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