After a drive to Telluride, it’s natural to want to stretch your legs. While the often rated the best mountain town in Colorado is not short of scenic hikes, its new trail that takes adventurers up to Falls of the bridal veil is a show-stopper.
Visitors have long been able to visit Bridal Veil Falls, a 365-foot waterfall considered Colorado’s largest free fall, by traveling a 4×4 road that begins at the east end of the canyon that surrounds Telluride. But in the spring of 2020, a new trail was opened that allows hikers to climb about a mile to the falls without interference from cars.
“What we’ve always wanted to do is get hikers off the county road,” said Josh Borof, president of the Telluride Mountain Club, a nonprofit that champions local recreation. “The number of pedestrians walking on that county road and the number of jeeps going down the county road, it was super crowded. It was a bad user experience for the hiker.
But don’t call it a hidden gem: this round-trip hike is already one of the most popular in Telluride. In its first year, Bridal Veil Trail averaged 500 to 800 hikers a day, an “alarming” rate of travel. based on 2020 usage data collected by Mountain Club.
It’s no surprise considering that those who make the 2+ mile round trip are rewarded with a challenging hike that includes many waterfalls among its beautiful scenery.
Maybe I shouldn’t tell you about the Bridal Veil Trail, but chances are you’ve heard of it before. So here’s a reminder to leave no trace, pick up your dog’s feces, and be polite to others while enjoying the natural wonders of the area.
What to expect
Although 1.2 miles one way doesn’t seem like much, the trail covers about 1,000 feet of elevation, so Bridal Veil Trail is steep, like you’re climbing stairs the whole way. It is as rocky and rugged as its natural environment.
From the moment hikers set out on the trail, they are enveloped in lush forest. The path crosses an area that usually flows with water – where the city plans to build a bridge in the future – and crosses several large boulders that have apparently been cut in half. The trees provide a constant canopy of sunlight, giving off significant Fern Gully vibration.
Don’t feel like you have to rush to Bridal Veil Falls, as there are two tangential trails that lead to other waterfalls along the way. The top of the trail meets the bottom of its namesake waterfall, an absolute stunner that will send a cooling mist your way as the water hits the rocks.
Want to know more ? Take the aforementioned 4×4 route to the historic powerhouse near the top of the falls, or take the road to its next bend where the Telluride Via Ferrata begins. The latter offers sweeping views of the city, looking west along the box canyon – a sight well worth the adventure.
Bridal Veil Trail can be accessed via Forest Service Road 648 on the east end of Telluride.