The New Years Eve Torchlight Parade in Telluride


Did you know that Telluride, Colorado, hosts a spectacular Torchlight Parade every New Year’s Eve? This annual tradition draws visitors from around the world to witness skiers meandering down the mountainside with torches, lighting up the night sky alongside a dazzling fireworks display.


  • The Torchlight Parade is a beloved New Year's Eve tradition in Telluride, bringing the community together to celebrate the start of a new year.
  • Visitors can enjoy a range of activities and events surrounding the Torchlight Parade, from pre-parade festivities to post-parade celebrations.
  • Planning ahead is essential for those looking to attend the Torchlight Parade, with tips on the best viewing spots, accommodations, and what to wear.

Understanding the Torchlight Parade Tradition

The Torchlight Parade has been a staple of Telluride’s New Year’s Eve celebrations for many years. The tradition involves Telluride Ski & Snowboard School instructors skiing down the mountain with torches, creating a mesmerizing display of light against the snowy backdrop.

The parade holds significant cultural and community value, bringing together locals and visitors alike to share in the excitement of welcoming a new year. It’s a time for reflection, celebration, and setting intentions for the year ahead.

The Visual Spectacle of the Torchlight Parade

Attendees of the Torchlight Parade can expect a breathtaking visual experience. As the sun sets on New Year’s Eve, the ski instructors begin their descent down the mountain, each carrying a bright torch. The procession of lights creates a stunning contrast against the dark sky and white snow.

Behind the scenes, a great deal of preparation goes into ensuring a smooth and safe parade. The ski instructors carefully coordinate their routes and timing, while event organizers work tirelessly to set up viewing areas and manage crowds.

Planning Your Visit to the Torchlight Parade

Best Viewing Spots for the Torchlight Parade

To fully enjoy the Torchlight Parade, it’s important to find a prime viewing spot. The parade is visible from both Mountain Village and Telluride, with the fireworks best viewed from Mountain Village Center. Arrive early to secure your spot and avoid the largest crowds.

Accommodation and Dining Options in Telluride

New Year’s Eve is a busy time in Telluride, so it’s crucial to book your accommodations well in advance. The town offers a range of lodging options, from cozy cabins to luxurious ski resorts. Be sure to make restaurant reservations early, as dining spots fill up quickly during the holiday season.

Activities and Events Surrounding the Torchlight Parade

Pre-Parade Festivities in Telluride

In the hours leading up to the Torchlight Parade, Telluride comes alive with pre-parade festivities. Visitors can enjoy live music, ice skating, scenic sleigh tours and family-friendly activities throughout the town. Many local businesses offer special New Year’s Eve menus and holiday-themed events.

Post-Parade Celebrations

After the Torchlight Parade and fireworks, the celebrations continue into the night. Telluride’s bars and restaurants host New Year’s Eve parties and gatherings, offering a chance to toast to the new year with friends and fellow revelers. Remember to celebrate responsibly and arrange for safe transportation.

Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Torchlight Parade

What to Wear and Bring

Telluride in December is cold, so dressing appropriately is key to enjoying the Torchlight Parade. Wear warm, layered clothing, including a coat, hat, gloves, and sturdy boots. Don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot cocoa or coffee to keep you warm during the festivities.

Safety and Etiquette at the Parade

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay within designated viewing areas and follow the instructions of event staff.
  • Keep a safe distance from the ski instructors and their torches.
  • Be respectful of other attendees and maintain a friendly, celebratory atmosphere.

Capturing the Torchlight Parade Experience

Photography Tips for the Torchlight Parade

The Torchlight Parade offers countless opportunities for stunning photos. To capture the best shots:

  • Use a tripod to stabilize your camera during long exposures.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds to create light trails from the torches.
  • Position yourself strategically to frame the skiers against the mountain backdrop.

Sharing Your Torchlight Parade Memories

After the parade, share your photos and experiences on social media using the hashtag #TellurideTorchlightParade. Engage with the Telluride community by tagging local businesses and ski resorts in your posts. Your shared memories contribute to the town’s vibrant New Year’s Eve story.


What time does the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade in Telluride start?

The Torchlight Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, and lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Are there any costs associated with attending the New Years Eve Torchlight Parade?

Viewing the Torchlight Parade and fireworks is free, but some related events and activities may have associated costs.

What is the best way to get to Telluride for the Torchlight Parade?

Telluride is accessible by car, shuttle, or air travel. Consider booking transportation early and allow extra time for holiday traffic.

Can the Torchlight Parade be enjoyed by all age groups?

Yes, the Torchlight Parade is a family-friendly main street event suitable for all ages. However, keep in mind that it takes place outdoors in cold weather.

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions or guidelines in place for the parade?

As of 2023, there are no specific COVID-19 guidelines for the Torchlight Parade. However, it’s always a good idea to check for updates closer to the event date.

Does Telluride host other events throughout the year?

Yes, Telluride also hosts the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride Comedy Festival, Telluride Fire Festival, Telluride Wine Festival, Telluride Film Festival, and several other events throughout the year.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.