Our favorite Telluride hikes, from easy to challenging

Published Date: January 5, 2023

mountain view in Colorado
Whether you’re looking for flower-filled meadows, roaring waterfalls or mountain vistas, hiking in Telluride does not disappoint. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular Telluride hikes, ranging from easy riverside strolls to challenging rocky climbs. And just like Pacaso, most of these trails are dog friendly. According to alltrails.com, leashed dogs are permitted except on Via Ferrata.

Easy Telluride hikes

  • Bridal Veil Falls — It’s virtually impossible to find a list of the best Telluride hikes that doesn’t mention the Bridal Veil Falls Trail. This 3.6-mile out-and-back trek ends at the top of Colorado’s tallest waterfall (365 feet) and can also be accessed by bike or four-wheel-drive vehicle. 
  • Bear Creek Trail — Accessible right from downtown Telluride, Bear Creek Trail is a 4.4-mile out-and-back trail that takes you through the Bear Creek Preserve to the 80-foot Bear Creek Falls. Keep in mind that this trail gets busy during warmer months, so plan to hike early in the day for fewer crowds. 
  • Cornet Creek — If you’re looking for short and sweet, Cornet Creek is your hike. The trailhead is conveniently located at the end of North Aspen Street in downtown Telluride. Enjoy a half-mile out-and-back hike to the beautiful Cornet Falls, but be prepared: The trail is steep, so it’s best to wear sturdy shoes.
  • San Miguel River — With multiple access points from downtown Telluride, the 3.3-mile San Miguel River Trail lets you choose your distance. The flat terrain is easy for hikers of all levels, but the trail can get busy as it’s quite popular with runners. 

Moderate Telluride hikes

  • Blue Lake — There are few better ways to spend a day in the Colorado wilderness than taking this Telluride hike through an old-growth forest to a sparkling subalpine lake. A round trip to Blue Lake is about 5.25 miles, and majestic views of mountain peaks along the way make the 2,000-foot elevation gain worth every step. 
  • Hope Lake — If you’re a lake lover, then Hope Lake should definitely be on your list of top Telluride hikes. The road to reach the trailhead is a bit rough (leave the sedan at home and bring the SUV) but the 6-mile roundtrip lake trek is rewarding, with waterfalls and beautiful mountain views. 
  • Jud Wiebe Trail — Another trail that’s easily accessible from town, the 2.7-mile Jud Wiebe loop offers amazing views of forests, meadows and mountains. It’s one of the earliest trails to be clear of snow, so it’s perfect for taking advantage of warmer early spring days.

Challenging Telluride hikes

  • Sneffels Highline — If you’re looking for a challenging trek with top-of-the-world views, plan a full day to experience the 13-mile Sneffels Highline loop. Be prepared for loose rocks and potentially deep snow, even during the summer months.  
  • Ballard Mountain — Who needs a stair climber when you have Ballard Mountain? You’ll gain close to 4,000 feet of elevation on this 6.4-mile out-and-back trail, but you’ll also be rewarded with stunning views of Telluride below. Be prepared for couloir crossings and snow on this trail as well. 
  • Via Ferrata — Italian for “Iron Way,” Via Ferrata may only be 3 miles long, but that doesn’t include the treacherous vertical ascents up rock faces. This trail/climb is only for those who are adept at both hiking and rock climbing. Those without helmets and harnesses need not apply!

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Kasey Tross

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