The Most Beautiful Waterfalls Near Telluride

It’s no secret Telluride offers some of the best outdoor experiences available in Colorado. From ice climbing in winter to off-road adventures in summer, there’s something for every taste and budget.

Visitors in the spring, summer, and fall will find plenty of rugged mountain activities to keep them busy, including seeking out local waterfalls. There are four waterfalls near Telluride, each of which offers different views and different trail experiences. The longest journey tops out at 5 miles total, an easy afternoon trip. And, one waterfall can even be reached via an off-road vehicle if you’re not up for the hike.

Here’s a quick overview of where you can find the best Telluride area waterfalls!

Bear Creek Falls

The Most Beautiful Waterfalls Near Telluride, Colorado
Photo Credit: Jay Kantor via Flickr CC2.0

Distance to Falls: 2.5 Miles

Time to Falls: ~1 hour 15 minutes

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Change: ~1,050 Feet

 

To begin your journey, access the Bear Creek Preserve Trail at the end of South Pine Street in town. The path is easy to moderate, with just over 1,000 feet of elevation change over the course of 2.5 miles. Adventurers can scale the trail by foot or by bike and can easily explore other nearby trails, like Wasatch Trail and Bridal Veil Basin. Bear Creek Falls is situated at the very end of the trail and provides unbeatable views of the falls and the town of Telluride. And, the trail itself is well marked and offers scenic views of wide-open meadows and mountain flora.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

Distance to Falls: 1.8 Miles

Time to Falls: ~1 hour

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation Change: ~1,650 Feet

You won’t want to miss out on seeing the tallest free-falling waterfall in the entire state of Colorado! Easily the most popular waterfall near Telluride, Bridal Veil Falls is a truly impressive sight and well worth the one-hour journey. To get started, drive east through town along Colorado Avenue. There are two options to access the falls directly. The first is to carefully continue along the gravel road all the way to the top of the falls; a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to make the trek. Alternatively, park at the Valley Viewing Area and continue the trail by foot or bike. At just over 350 feet, Bridal Veils Waterfall is truly a bucket list item for your trip to Telluride!

Cornet Falls

View this post on Instagram

Within a clan of mountain goats. Feels good.

A post shared by Jamie Yonker (@rodeoworm) on

Distance to Falls: 0.25 Miles

Time to Falls:  20 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Change: ~225 Feet

 

Seeking a quick and easy trail to catch sight of a waterfall near Telluride? If so, head to Cornet Falls! Small but mighty, Cornet Falls is an 80-foot waterfall that only requires a short ¼ mile hike. Visitors can enjoy a view of the falls and the impressive vermillion cliffs. The trail begins in town, so there’s no need to rent an off-road vehicle to access the falls. The entire trip can be completed in under an hour if you’re in a pinch for time. Or, enjoy a leisurely stroll, explore other nearby trails, or head back into town for an afternoon of exploring.

Mystic Falls

View this post on Instagram

A hidden waterfall near Telluride, CO.

A post shared by Joshua Hicks (@coloradojoshphotography) on

Distance to Falls: 1 Mile

Time to Falls:  ~1 Hour

Difficulty: Hard

Elevation Change: ~300 Feet

 

A hidden gem, Mystic Falls is often overlooked or unlisted on area guides and maps. However, this largely unexplored waterfall is certainly worth seeing. Getting to the trail requires a short drive into the mountains—you can find a full list of directions here. Before you go, be aware that trail itself is short but challenging and is best suited for experienced hikers. The journey involves navigating overgrown and sometimes hidden trails, crossing creeks, and managing tricky footing. However, as we mentioned earlier, the trip is well worth the effort, as the short trail brings you directly to Mystic Creek Falls. Nestled on the mountainside and surrounded by lush forest, this waterfall is majestic and mighty. We recommend taking plenty of time to explore the waterfall and the surroundings—and don’t forget your camera!

 

Visit our full Telluride blog for more mountain vacation inspiration or peruse our vacation rentals to start planning your stay!