Awesome Hikes in Telluride, Colorado
During the winter it may be the realm of ski bums, but in the summer months most people come for the Telluride hikes and mountain biking surrounding this gorgeous Colorado mountain town. I was in town to volunteer at the annual wine festival, but still had enough down time to take advantage of the hiking around Telluride and the adjacent Mountain Village.
The hikes I did started right from the town of Telluride because my only form of transport was the free gondola. Not that it mattered, some of the best hikes in Telluride are accessible straight from town. I guess that’s the advantage of living in a town nestled in the midst of majestic mountains.
Here are some great hikes to enjoy when visiting Telluride!
Bridal Veil Falls
If you go to Telluride you can’t pass up visiting Bridal Veil Falls. Right from the city’s main street you can look towards the mountains and see the waterfall in the distance. You can actually see two, but Bridal Veils is the big one on the right side.
To get to the start of the hike, you head east on Telluride’s Colorado Street towards the mountain. If you’re walking, like I was, just follow the river along the Idarado Legacy Trail that goes practically all the way to the old Pandora Mine. It’s an incredibly casual stroll for any fitness level… don’t get too used to it.
Once you get to the mine there’s some cool looking green lakes… it’s all from leeching minerals, but the effect is, nonetheless, interesting.
From here you follow the switch-backs up the private road. It’s not terribly difficult, but in the hot sun it was a decent 1 hour walk up and I wouldn’t have minded hopping in one of the jeeps bumping up the uneven road. Reaching Bridal Veil Falls is epic… and freezing! The water is, of course, coming straight down from the snowy peaks of the San Juan mountains. The entire area at the immediate base of the waterfall is difficult to stand still in too long and there’s mist spraying everywhere.
You should keep walking up past the waterfall to get to the top where the old electric company’s house sits. It’s probably one of the most dramatic places to drop a house that I’ve ever seen. Here the road becomes a trail and cars can no longer pass. Hikers can keep exploring into the mountains to visit the Blue Lake and Silver Lake which are both more than hour long hikes from the top of Bridal Veil Falls.
I trekked an hour or so onto this trail, but had to rush back to work an event. Also it was starting to rain and the melting snow was creating rivers that would have been best conquered in real hiking boots (which I had neglected to bring).
Some friends and I did drive up to the top of the falls one evening to catch the sunset, which was spectacular, to say the least.
Bear Creek Trail + Waterfall
The Bear Creek Trail is one of the most popular in of the Telluride hikes and you can access it by heading to the end of S Pine Street where the trailhead sits. It starts off as a wide road with a slow and steady climb through the aspens and firs, following the creek. On a sunny June day, you’ll find the area filled with wildflowers and hundreds of dandelions — personally, I don’t care if they’re ‘weeds’, they look cheerful swaying in the wind.
It’s easy to see why the trail is so popular; along the way you’re privy to gorgeous mountain views and waterfalls cascading down the cliffs through the trees. Everywhere you stop and look is picture worthy.
The trail comes to an end at the Bear Creek waterfall. Again, it’s pretty chilly at the base of the falls, but not nearly to the same extent as Bridal Veil so people camp out here for some time, eating lunch and trying to get near the waterfall for awesome shots. It’s nice getting a chance to admire the waterfall you came to see instead of rushing to get a quick shot and get into the warm sun again.
Coronet Falls + Jud Weibe Trail
Head up on N Aspen Street towards the hill and you’ll soon find yourself at Coronet Falls. After seeing it all the time riding up the gondola there was no way I was going to miss out going to it. The hike to Coronet Falls is really short, but a bit tricky with gravely type red earth that you’re likely to slip on. You have to walk past the bridge that heads out to the Jud Weibe Trail for about a quarter mile.
Soon you’ll arrive to the impressive site of water tumbling down the red rocks; the 80-foot high waterfall even made my super tall friend look small (you can see him there in the picture). This waterfall is cool because you can walk underneath it for a kind of crazy, scary view of the water thundering above you. On the shady side it’s also possible to see rainbows forming in the spray of the water.
This totally wasn’t part of the sanctioned hike and it was maybe a little bit dangerous, but my friend and I decided to see if we could get to the top of the falls. Turns out we could with a lot of scrambling up the side of the hill, off the official trail. It was really cool to look down on everyone below and have them wonder how the hell we got up there.
Head back towards the bridge and follow the trail to get onto the Jud Weibe Trail. It’s a couple hours of hiking through beautiful sunlit forest and the chance to stand amongst the tranquil aspen trees. The trek loops all the way round and will drop you out on N Oak Street.
Those were the big hikes I did… next time I’ll have to try and get to some lakes up past Bridal Veil and find a ride out to Alta Lakes.