Mammoth peaks, fresh mountain air and views that seem to go on for days, that pretty much sums up Telluride hikes. Hiking in Telluride is great way to experience the beauty of Colorado. So strap those boots on, pack those day packs, grab those hiking sticks and let’s get to it. Below are some of the best hikes in Telluride.
The 4 Best Telluride Hikes
1. Bear Creek Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails in Telluride is Bear Creek Trail. Easily accessible from downtown Telluride, you can find the trailhead at the end of South Pine Street.
This hike is perfect for those looking for something relatively easy and short. Taking around two hours to complete, you’ll slowly gain elevation as you hike through aspen and pine groves that surround either side of the trail.
This two mile in, two mile out trail is accessible all year-round and has you ending at Bear Creek Falls, an 80-foot waterfall. You’re rewarded with amazing views of a waterfall to your front and a gorgeous scenic valley to your back. Not too shabby, right?
If you’re looking to extend your hike, you can connect to the more challenging Wasatch Trail from Bear Creek Trail. We’ll get to more about the Wasatch Trail a bit further down the post.
Miles: 4 | Elevation Gain: 1,092ft | Difficulty Level: Moderate
2. Bridal Veil Falls Trail
Another fan-favorite Telluride hike is Bridal Veil Falls. In order to get to the trailhead, you’ll need to drive east on Colorado Avenue. Once out of town, continue past the Pandora Mill till you reach the parking area on the right.
Put that car in park and follow the dirt/gravel road as it switchbacks up the canyon. The views you’ll start to see will be well worth the effort you’re putting in. As you continue to climb, you’ll eventually reach the base of the Bridal Veil Falls – wooty woo!
Once at the base, you’ll see amazing views fo the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado. Bridal Veil Falls stands mighty at 365 ft.
As you say your goodbyes to Bridal Veil, understand this trail is in-and-out trail, so you’ll have to go back down the way you came. As you are climbing back down, just a warning that the road is open to vehicles and mountain bikers. So please share the road and pay attention.
Miles: 4 | Elevation Gain: 1,650ft | Difficulty Level: Moderate
3. Jud Wiebe Trail
Sweet, but steep the Jud Wiebe Trail or “the Wiebe” for short, is a local favorite. The trail is named after Jud Wiebe, a Forest Service Manager who planned the trail but passed away before it was complete.
The Jud Wiebe Trail is a loop trail meaning there are two trailheads, both are located in town. Trailhead #1 can be found on at the north end of Aspen Street where trailhead #2 can be found at the northern end of Oak Street.
The Wiebe can be hiked all year but it is recommended you use snowshoes and caution when hiking in the winter and early spring months. Some folks consider May – October to be the best time to conquer Wiebe.
Taking around 2ish hours to complete, you are rewarded with great views of Telluride, beautiful aspen groves and Cornet Creek Falls. Once you get to the higher points of the trail, you’ll find several benches where you can take a breather and take in the views.
Miles: 3 | Elevation Gain: 1,213ft | Difficulty Level: Moderate/Difficult
4a. See Forever Trail
The last of our four Telluride hikes not to miss has two options for you to choose from. Regardless which you choose, big beautiful views await you. And we do mean BIG.
So let’s talk about option 1, the See Forever Trail only.
The trailhead begins at St. Sophie Gondola. To get here, make your way to the Gondola in the town of Telluride and get on. The Gondola ride up to the Ski Valley is free by the way.
Take the Gondola to St. Sophie stop and get off. Once at the top, you’ll be standing at a cool 10,540-ft in elevation. And once you start hiking, you’ll gain more.
Once off the Gondola, hike the gravel road until you see signs for “See Forever Trail.” Follow this trail and it’s markers. You’ll twist through forests and along long ridge lines that offer exceptional views of the peaks that surround Telluride.
You’ll carry on and enjoy absolute epic views for a total of 2.5-ish miles and top out at around 12,100ft in elevation. At the end of your 2.5 mile hike, you’ll eventually reach the end of the “See Forever” trail.
From here, you have two options. 1) Turn around and head back towards the Gondola to catch a ride back into town or 2) Extend your hike by catching the Wasatch Connection.
Miles: 5 | Elevation Gain: 1,696ft | Difficulty Level: Difficult
4b. See Forever Trail + Wasatch Trail Connection to Bear Creek Trail
If you want to take the looooong, but OH-SO BEAUTIFUL way, back to to Telluride, jump on the Wasatch Trail connection and hike back into town. Once on the Wasatch Connection, you’ll leave the Ski Area behind and have Bear Creek Canyon in front of you.
You’ll make you way down switchbacks, pass marmot families and have stunning views of the canyon and mountainous peaks at every turn. The way down is rocky and steep, so proper footwear is a must.
You’ll pass an old mine, Nellie Mine, and slowly but surely, the town of Telluride will come into view. The views are absolutely spectacular.
The trail continues as it winds down the rocky valley gorge until you eventually are wrapped in the forest once more. The Wasatch Trail will shoot you out on the Bear Creek trail where you can take that right into town. You’ll end at the Bear creek trailhead located on South Pine Street.
Miles: 8.4 | Elevation Gain: 1,696ft | Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Essential Hiking Gear For Telluride Hikes
Before you hit the Telluride hiking trails, make sure you’re equipped for the landscape and the weather. Below is a short list of gear to ensure your properly prepared for some amazing Telluride hikes.
- Jacket: When hiking in the mountains, the weather can change at a split second so it’s best to be prepared with an outer shell jacket that will protect you from the elements like wind, rain or snow.
- Base Layer: You want moisture wicking, quick dry materials against your body to block and repel sweat. The last thing you want is a sweat drenched shirt against your body for the entire hike – it’s the worst. Not to mention, if it’s cold out, that wet shirt won’t help your body warm up at all.
- Socks: Wool socks are amazing to hike in. We know what you’re thinking, wool is hot. Not if you get merino wool socks. They’ll keep your feet dry and at a comfortable temperature. Our favorite brand Darn Tough, uses a merino wool blend and guarantees their socks for life, check them out, you won’t regret it!
- Boots: If you’ll be traversing over rocky terrain, make sure your boots have the appropriate tread and ankle support. The last thing you want is to slip or roll an ankle. Our boots are Vasque’s and Lowa’s and we love them.
- Hiking Poles/Sticks: Great for extra ankle and knee support, Hiking sticks are great support pieces to help you get up switchbacks and down steep grades
Hiking Misc. Items
A few other items that you can consider for you Telluride hikes (depending on the weather) is a buff and a fleece. Also, having a proper daypack with padding and support is essential for carrying your water bottle, snacks and other miscellaneous items comfortably.
Some things we never leave at home for a hike is chapstick, tissues, sunglasses and a first aid kit. Also, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen on your face and the tops of ears. The sun is more intense at higher altitudes and getting sun blisters is zero fun.
TIP: Before any high evaluation hike, it’s important to hydrate. Drink plenty of water the night before to help with altitude sickness, muscle cramping and fatigue.
- The Luxury Inclined | Element 52
- The Budget Conscious | Mountainside Inn
- Something in Between | Camel’s Garden Hotel
TIP: Accommodations in the Telluride can be a bit pricey. If you are looking for cheaper accommodations, consider booking in Ouray or Ridgway. Or, pack a tent and gear and do some camping around Telluride.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)