Bear Creek Hike

The Bear Creek hike provides a gorgeous destination, a dramatic waterfall that cascades onto giant rocks, all surrounded in the greenery of nettles, wildflowers and other gorgeous plant life.

But, the journey up is just as beautiful. That’s why year-round and in all weather, Bear Creek is one of Telluride’s most beloved hikes, one that locals always enjoy.

To begin from the main street, Colorado Avenue, head south on Pine Street. Go across Pacific Street and also Gus Kenworthy Avenue. After passing Smuggler’s restaurant keep heading south and you will cross the San Miguel River and find yourself on an incline.

As you head up this road, you will likely notice other hikers, probably dogs and occasionally mountain bikers.

The hike is a moderate one, but one that many children can handle.

Good, comfortable walking shoes should be worn. The path up has some rocks and some tree roots along the way. Raingear is always advised from spring season through the fall. Water should always be carried on any Telluride hike.

Plan for some shade, as the trail is actually Forest Service territory, and the path is tree-lined, bountiful in flora and fauna.

While it’s uncommon to come upon a bear in Bear Creek, hikers should maintain an awareness of surroundings. Bear bells worn on shoes are not necessary, but the littering of food should be avoided. Hikers should always pack out what they’ve brought in with them.

As you make the ascent, you’ll notice the Telluride Town Park on your left. This is where the festival concert stage resides along with the fields for sporting activities like baseball, soccer and more.

Some edges of the left side could be considered dangerous on the way up, as some of that side is cliff area, which drops into the creek below. Exercise caution with children here. No imminent threat exists, but safety should be considered.

Spacious open meadows can also be enjoyed toward the left side on the climb. These grassy areas contain stones or logs perfect for snacking or taking a break.

Notice the stacking of stones here, and, please, don’t disturb the work of many hands who’ve created the mysterious rock sculptures for others to enjoy. This work signifies beauty or power, and hikers on the trail stop to breathe this in.

Some small water crossings are also present, but they’re actually more like little trickles. Just be careful in cooler temperatures with keeping feet dry.

You might wonder toward the top, “How much longer do we have until we reach the falls?”

When you’ve come to a section where the hill curves around, on a narrow section from right to left, you’re almost there.

After that portion widens, you’ll come to an opening where massive boulders sit at the edge of the creek.

And, you’ll probably hear them for you see them — the wild and beautiful rushing of Bear Creek Falls.

To get back down, travel the same way you came up. But, know that it’s much quicker going down.

Total hiking time varies, but is estimated at anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on pace.