Great Hikes for Families in Telluride
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Trails in the mountains surrounding Telluride and Mountain Village offer hikers everything from a quick jaunt to a waterfall to a day-long high-altitude adventure complete with mining ruins, high-alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers and the stunning scenery of the San Juans. Both Telluride and Mountain Village have trails that start right in town. Here are our favorites, right outside your backdoor.
The River Trail to the Valley Floor
This very mellow, mostly flat single trail can be picked up anywhere in town beside the San Miguel River. Head west to the Valley Floor Trail for a longer walk, or east to connect with the Idarado Legacy Trail, which ticks uphill slightly and offers interpretive signs that tell the tale of Telluride’s mining days. The trail finishes up at the end of the box canyon with Ajax and Telluride peaks soaring high above. Here there are views of Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest in Colorado at 365 feet, and of the Pandora Mill Building, another legacy from the days when miners, not hikers and bikers, roamed the land.
Cornet Creek: Looking for a short jaunt that offers a stunning payoff sure to wrest oohs and ahs from teens and tweens not easily enthralled? Try this half-mile route to Cornet Falls. The trail, which takes about an hour out and back, begins at the end of Telluride’s North Aspen Street and follows the right-hand side of the red clay and rock bed of Cornet Creek. At times, hikers may need to scramble and use their hands on the steep hillside, so best to do this one with older kids. The sound of the falls grows steadily louder before the trail halts in front of the cascade, which can vary from a partially frozen trickle to a torrent depending on the time of year and the snow melt from the terrain above.
The Ridge Trail in Mountain Village: This 2-mile intermediate trail offers families two options. Ride the Gondola to Station St. Sophia, explore the Nature Center and then hike Ridge Trail down to Mountain Village for a range of kid-friendly activities and restaurants. Or, if your gang is feeling energetic, start in Mountain Village and hike the Ridge Trail up to Station St. Sophia. There you can opt to go higher still via See Forever, or use Telluride Trail to head down – steeply at times – to the town of Telluride. Or, hop on the Gondola for a fun and unique way to finish the day’s activity. Either way, with its jaw-dropping views and peaceful switchbacks through aspen forest, this trail is sure to please.
Bear Creek Canyon: Hiking is never a chore when the spectacular Upper Bear Creek Falls awaits at the top end of this gorgeous hike that crosses quiet forests and sunny meadows. The 4-mile-roundtrip trail begins at South Pine Street where it enters the Bear Creek Preserve. With Bear Creek rushing below and to the left and peaks towering dramatically above, hikers follow this two track for an elevation gain of about 1,050 feet to the falls and a really cool giant rock at canyon’s end. Walk off the main trail to the right of the boulder and look for a pool below the falls, a perfect spot for a picnic or snack before heading back to town.