Telluride Area

The Telluride Valley is located in eastern San Miguel County at the headwaters of the San Miguel River.  Much of the land immediately outside of town is part of the national forest.  Telluride itself is a small mountain town at the end of a box canyon in the San Juan Mountains best known for its ski resorts.  The national forest area around town has countless trails, scenic views, and waterfalls.  Once a mining town, the village has rebranded as a tourism destination in all seasons.  The town sits at 8,750 feet above sea level and the surrounding mountains can be thousands of feet higher.  Outdoor recreation can be difficult at this altitude, especially for those not acclimated, so take care to stay hydrated and don't overdo it.

Directions:

Telluride is located in the San Juan Mountains of San Miguel County.  From Montrose, head south on US-550 for about 26 miles and turn right on CO-62 west in Ridgeway.  Go 23 miles to Placerville and turn left on CO-145 south.  It's about 15 miles to the town of Telluride.  There's limited parking in town, but Carhenge is a large free public parking right after entering town.  Get a Forest Service map for directions to individual trailheads.

Map:

Trails:

Bear Creek Trail (#635):

Bear Creek Trail starts from the southeast corner of Telluride at the south end of Pine Street.  The trail begins past the gate, following a gravel road.  The trail passes through Bear Creek Preserve owned by the town of Telluride.  Following Bear Creek upstream, in about 2 miles, Wasatch Trail (#508) splits to the right.  The trail ends in another quarter-mile at Bear Creek Falls.

Waterfalls:

Bear Creek Falls:

Bear Creek Falls is about a 5-mile round trip hike.  Bear Creek Trail begins at the south end of Pine Street in the southeast corner of Telluride and follows its namesake about 2.5 miles upstream to the waterfall.

Bridal Veil Falls:

Bridal Veil Falls is a 360-foot waterfall, one of the highest single drops in the state of Colorado.  The waterfall is right along Forest Road 648.  Follow Colorado Avenue east of of town and it becomes FR-648 past the Pandora Mill.  The road becomes 4WD, but there is a parking area near the start.  Hike or drive up the road a little over 1.5 miles to the base of the waterfall.  The road continues up to the top of the waterfall.

Cornet Creek Falls:

Cornet Creek Falls is a 80-foot waterfall in a red rock natural amphitheater.  The trailhead is at the north end of Aspen Street.  Where Jud Wiebe Trail goes right across the bridge, continue straight for a quarter-mile to the waterfall.  The trail is steep and narrow in places.

Wildlife:

The high elevation of Telluride and the surrounding San Juan Mountains are prime spots to view mountain wildflowers in the early summer.  Fleabane are flowers in the daisy family.


Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) is so named, because it is one of the first flowers to colonize after wildfire has ravaged an area.


Columbian monkshood (Aconitum columbianum) is a poisonous plant.


Whipple's penstemon (Penstemon whippleanus)


Fivenerve helianthella (Helianthella quinquenervis)

Blog Entries:

External Links: