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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Bear Creek Canyon, CO

no permit
68 9 0
Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > West
4.3 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,789 feet
Elevation Gain 1,020 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,293 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.27
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack TBD
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2018-08-18 friendofThunderg
5  2018-01-14 arizona_water
3  2015-09-15 nonot
21  2011-08-17 trailzrus
34  2010-07-27 slegal
Author slegal
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 101
Photos 2,962
Trips 56 map ( 351 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Thousand Oaks, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:58am - 6:10pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Flora Nearby

Likely In-Season!
The Bear Creek Canyon trail is a gem of a hike. The vegetation is lush. Summer wildflowers are very abundant. Of course there are the waterfalls.

The trail starts out at the south end of South Pine St. Here the trail is more of a dirt road. There are old mines dotting the mountains above Bear Creek Canyon, so this old road was undoubtedly an access point for many of these mines.

The first half mile travels uphill somewhat parallel to the San Miguel River. The trail is lined with aspens. After the first half mile the turns south and heads into Bear Creek Canyon. The creek is below you on the left side of the trail. It is still heavily wooded so spotting the trail is tough, but you should be able to hear it.

As you get further up into the canyon the mountains on either side of the trail get taller and steeper. To your right is the Telluride Ski Area, although you won't see any ski lifts or runs from the trail.

As you get higher the creek gets closer to trail level. Then Lower Bear Creek Falls comes into view. Don't confuse this waterfall with the upper waterfall. The upper waterfall is even prettier.

After 2.5 miles and a little over 1,000 vertical feet you reach the end of the trail and the base of Upper Bear Creek Falls. Take in the views and enjoy the waterfall.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2011-02-24 slegal
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Bear Creek Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    With the lack of precipitation and general winter in the Valley of the Sun, I've been trying to make every attempt to experience snow as often as possible. Every so often, one of these trips turns out to be more spectacular than I imagined. Snowshoeing on the Bear Creek Trail was one of these exceptional experiences. We had a full day of activities in Telluride, so we only went part of the way to Upper Bear Creek Falls. Regardless of distance, every step was a breathtaking view of the dramatic San Juans, blanketed in white.

    Bear Creek Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This is an enjoyable hike. The grade is moderate enough that you aren't huffing and puffing. The aspens are about 2 weeks from prime time. Both lower and upper waterfalls are nice, and access is right to the base of the upper waterfall.

    Tip: the city park area allows for 4 hour parking, which is enough time to complete this hike with some to spare. You can hike along the San Miguel River trail for a little bit to connect.
    Bear Creek Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Roamed around Telluride for a bit during a break from the bluegrass festival, and then took an evening hike up to upper Bear Creek Falls. The massive cliffs and rocky peaks above us glowed orange in the setting sun as we basked in the beauty of the falls. We saw a porcupine on the way down, and made it back to town before dark. Beautiful hike!
    Bear Creek Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This in-town Telluride hike start receives great reviews and I can now confirm why :)

    This out and back hike rated intermediate for the strenuous, but spectacular Wasatch TR#508 segment to the high pass/divide at 13k', also includes the scenic and enjoyable Bear Creek Canyon Trail to its end at the lower falls .. and upper falls ..

    This combination of two interesting, very scenic, and historic mining area(TR#508) hikes provides a full day outing and gives one the feeling of being remote yet knowing your TH Start was in town.

    There are actually three hike options available within this hike description:

    ..The "Bear Creek Canyon" out & back hike only: 4.8 miles R/T & 2062'AEG;

    ..The "Bear Creek Canyon" segment in & the entire "Wasatch TR#508": 12.5mls R/T & ~4700'AEG;
    :sweat: :sweat:

    ..The "Bear Creek Canyon" segment to Lwr/Upr Falls & back to "Wasatch TR#508" to include the entire TR#508 to the high pass/divide at 13k': 13.0 miles R/T & 4911'AEG;
    :sweat: :sweat: :sweat:

    I attempted hike option #3 above but was unsuccessful in hiking to trail end at the high pass/divide due primarily to a late start and some serious storm clouds appearing on the horizon. My hike in on TR#508 ended at 11.6k'as noted on my posted 7/20 GPS Track and associated waypoint reference.

    An excellent hike day #3 out of Telluride within the Uncompahgre National Forest.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The trail head is located in Telluride. If you're driving in from out of town, take West Colorado Ave. to Pine St. Turn right on Pine St. and look for a place to park on the street. The trailhead is at the south end of Pine St. If you're staying in Telluride use the same directions as if your coming from out of town. If you're staying in Mountain Village, take the free gondola from Mountain Village to Telluride. From the gondola take W San Juam Ave. east to the end, turn right on Pine St.
    page created by slegal on Feb 24 2011 6:57 pm
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