Bear Creek Falls is probably one of the two most popular hikes in Telluride and there’s a good reason — the
waterfall is great.
The trail starts on the south end of Pine Street. The paved road ends and a dirt road begins. Hike up the dirt road, past a gate, to a
sign for the Bear Creek Preserve.
The trail starts in a lush forest with lots of aspen trees. I highly recommend this hike in the fall.
The wide road steadily gains elevation as it heads up the Bear Creek valley.
About three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead, the trees open up and you’ll get your first view of the valley.
As you walk, the trees occasionally open up giving you views of the cliff walls.
At about 1.5 miles, start watching on your left. In between the trees, we suddenly spotted a waterfall on the cliff side. Look higher up and you may spot more of the cascades coming down the cliffside.
A short distance away, there’s a trail split with a cairn garden. A cairn is a stack of rocks next to a trail to point hikers in the right
direction. But here there isn’t one cairn, there’s a bunch. So many cairns that I named it a cairn garden. If you have time, take a look at some of these creative
Despite the cairns, stay on the main road and continue up hill.
About 1.9 miles from the trailhead, you’ll see your first view of Bear Creek Falls in the distance.
At 2 miles, there’s a cascade visible from the trail, but that’s not the waterfall.
Go another tenth of a mile, where the trail curves and you see a huge volcanic rock. On your right, you’ll see a social
trail or two. Hike up the social trail and follow the path through an almost jungle-like, overgrown area. It’s another 0.2 miles to the waterfall.
Bear Creek Falls is an incredible place. The water cascades over two shelves, plunging into the creek below. Come in spring or early summer and you may get
soaked just standing on the trail because of the spray from the falls.
Take pictures from different angles and enjoy this scenic place. When you’re done, return the way you came.
Details: The hike to the falls and back is about 4.7 miles round trip with 860 feet of elevation gain.
If you’re looking for more hiking in Telluride, don’t miss Cornet Falls, the Jud Wiebe Trail, Blue Lakes above Telluride and Hope Lake. Find more than 400 great Colorado hikes in this list of 400+ hikes across the state. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Directions: The trail starts on the south end of Pine Street in Telluride. Take Highway 145 into Telluride. It
becomes Colorado Blvd. Turn right on Pine Street and go to the end to find the trailhead. Street parking here is $1 an hour with a 3 hour maximum.