Telluride Hiking is an experience of its own, and one that can be done almost any time of year. Whether Telluride is in the peak of summer with the quaking aspens rustling, or in the fall when those leaves are changing to hues of golden yellow, or in the winter when snow can pack the trail and poles or even crampons are useful, to spring when things start to thaw and mud becomes an issue- the day hikes in the San Juans are not to be missed.
Year round, you’ll find people out and about on Telluride trails. Like most activities in Telluride, the proper gear can make or break enjoyment. For all day hikes in Telluride, bring a shell. You never know when rain can sneak into the mountains- along with hail, or sleet, or wet snow. Sunglasses are almost always necessary at an elevation of 9,000 feet in a town that gets almost 300 days of sunshine a year. And, let’s not forget hats, visors, or ball caps for a little shade and face protection. Some people do prefer hiking poles, and they can be supportive for steep climbs, but they are not really required. Quick-dry or moisture-wicking fabric is most appropriate in the land where temperatures vary greatly, and the body can sweat, chill, and need to breathe all in the same hiking experience.
Water is always important. Dehydration happens quickly in the mountains, and sipping water is crucial for all day hikes. Hydration packs and canteens are available at outdoor sports stores in Telluride. There, at Jagged Edge or Boot Doctors, you can also find maps of the San Juan region. One of the easiest hikes is the Bear Creek Falls trail, which starts at the south end of Pine street. Just a block down from the Smuggler restaurant, you’ll find the trail head and likely see folks coming or going out of it. The incline is moderate; the views at the top are awe-inspiring. It’s a perfect family hike, dog hike, picnic hike, pack-your-baby-on-your-back-in-a-carrier hike. Many locals even jog it. You can hike Bear Creek in an hour and a half with a consistent pace. You can stretch it out for a few hours, plus if you like and want to mosey, rather than move too quickly. Check out Rico’s bar when you’re done. He’s there at the Ice House, except for off-season, pouring drinks and offering nuts and conversation.
The Judd Weibe trail is another beloved local hike that can be accomplished in just a few hours. Starting at the north end of Aspen street, you will find a trail head that begins before a bridge. The first part has a few switchbacks and is a little steep, but the sweeping views of the valley looking eastward are breathtaking, and you’ll also get amazing experiences of the ski runs, as well as Igram and Bridal Veil Falls. You might even feel like you are living a scene from The Sound of Music as you cross the high altitude meadow up top. Coming down is just as much of a treat, with dramatic landscape changes that include forested woods, a Coronet Creek crossing via a bridge, and coming down Tomboy Road just below Imogene Pass. You’ll end up on Oak street and can easily head to the Chop House for an exquisite lunch, or even the Diggity Dog cart if you’re in the mood for a hot dog and, the Telluride Trail is another great choice that involves the option of even riding up to the top of the Gondola and simply hiking down into town or, one could also hike from the Town of Telluride up the trail, which follows the Gondola line- though it does switch back, not so steeply- and then hike down into Mountain Village.
You’ll get great views of the town, and the peaks, with views on the Village side of the airport, and the mesas. Every July, the town has a “Rundola” race that involves running this trail. Starbucks is now present in the Mountain Village, along with Telluride Coffee, if you’re looking for a treat when finished. You will find so many other day hikes in Telluride, but these are solid trails that locals love and use daily. You can’t go wrong with an adventure on any of them, and all three start right from the heart of town. Feel free to ask passersby on the streets if you want confirmation that you’re going in the right direction. Any Tellurider will likely be happy to point the way.