Thursday, September 28
We will be celebrating our local public lands a few days early this year on Thursday, September 28th. Join the Telluride Mountain Club, San Miguel Bike Alliance and the Sheep Mountain Alliance for an afternoon of hiking, biking and advocating for the places we love! (more…)
Good news for San Miguel County residences and outdoor enthusiasts, the new Thunder Trails outside of Norwood, CO are now open!
The Thunder Trails System is open to hikers, mountain bikers, dirt bikers and horseback riders.
Enjoy the 19 miles of single track in the Thunder Trails system just outside of Norwood, Colorado. There are four interconnecting trail loops that offer fun and challenge for all. The trails west of Thunder Road (Forest Road 609) provide a rockier, more technical riding experience and offer views of Naturita Canyon. The trails east of Thunder Road travel through the ponderosa pine forest and open meadows, providing a smoother, faster ride. Learn more about these trails here.
Trail System Brochure: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3842957.pdf
Trail System Map: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3842955.pdf
The trail system is located about 4 miles south of Norwood. From Grand Ave/Main Street in Norwood:
- Travel to the far west end of Grand Avenue
- Turn left on Aspen Street (CR 42ZS) and travel south 1 mile. (See large brown “National Forest Access” sign).
- Turn right onto Y43 Road, travel 1/2 mile.
- Turn left on CR 41.5Y Road, travel south 1.7 miles
- Turn right onto FSR 609, travel 1.2 miles to the Thunder Trails Trailhead parking area
This fall, the Telluride Mountain Club (TMC) put together a survey to get an idea from community members about their vision for the future of Telluride’s regional trails system. The data that we have collected through this survey will help us draft a plan for the future of our trails and how to achieve the results we have received. 370 surveys were filled out in September and October of 2015, and here are the takeaways and results.
Survey Results, Overall Takeaways
- Mountain Bikers want trails to be improved and more to be established
- New trails should be built as multi-use trails
- New trails should be built as medium challenge terrain trails
- Hikers would like to see the High Country trails improved and to have better signage
Trip Report: Hiking Wilson Peak via the Rock of Ages Trail
Getting to the trailhead: From Telluride, head towards Placerville and take a left on Silver Pick Road. Head up the road roughly four miles and take a right onto the 622 Road, take this road (and stay right at the fork) to the Rock of Ages Trail Head.
Trail: From the Rock of Ages parking lot, head up the trail to the Rock of Ages saddle. This section is roughly four miles and is well marked with plenty of signage. From this saddle, head east to the saddle that is between Gladstone and Wilson Peak. These trails should all be pretty obvious. From there, looking northeast, you can see the summit (or false summit) of Wilson Peak.
From the saddle, traverse the first section of rock (slightly more technical and good preparation for the summit), or hike down the dirt, around this section and eventually and back up to the main trail. Be cautious of rock above you and be sure not to knock any rocks off if there are people below you.
The route to the false summit is recognizable, especially if following the rock cairns.
Hiking towards the Wilson Peak summit from the Gladstone/Wilson Peak saddle.
Once at the false summit, you will descend via a rock ledge to the connecting ridge, cross the ridge and then head upwards towards the summit. From the false summit, the route is Class 3, be ready to scramble and use your hands and feet like you are climbing. The two images shown below are the descent from the false summit and the final push to the actual summit (try to spot the people). If you aren’t comfortable scrambling in loose rocks, we suggest hiring a local climbing guide service to help you get to the summit.
Enjoy the 360 degree views from the top! Be sure to bring a helmet and read all signs along the way. For more detailed information, visit 14ers.com and summitpost.org.
Looking out towards Lizard Head.
Mount Sneffels Hiking Routes
Mount Sneffels, at 14,158 feet, towers above the rest of the Sneffels Range in the San Juan Mountains. The jagged peak can be seen as you drive towards Telluride across Dallas Divide. Mt. Sneffels is a great 14er choice because of the varying route possibilities and two access points: Yankee Boy Basin and Blue Lakes.
Yankee Boy Basin: Drive south out of Ouray and head up County Road 361, staying right at Camp Bird. After driving it, we would recommend a 4WD vehicle if you plan on driving well up the road. Some vehicles will make it all the way to the top trail head, but there are places to park along the road if don’t make it that far.
Blue Lakes: Alternatively, you can head west out of Ridgway (towards Telluride) about 4.5 miles to the East Dallas Creek National Forest access road and turn right (south). You will follow this road all the way to the end, where road turns into trail head. The trail will take you first to Blue Lake and will continue to the two upper lakes and ultimately Blue Lake Pass.
The Standard Route/Lavender Couloir: This is the easier of the summit routes. When standing south looking at the summit of Sneffels, this route is on the ride/east side. This route pretty much heads up the south basin, up Lavender Couloir, through the V Notch and up to the summit.
Southwest Ridge: If you are looking to beat the crowds (and feel comfortable scrambling through and scampering over rocks), this is the route for you. It’s a bit more technical (Class 3), but offers incredible views of Blue Lakes and is more exciting than the standard route. The “trail” starts at the top of Blue Lake Pass and heads up the ridge towards the summit.
Headed up the Southwest Ridge on Mount Sneffels
The 360 degree summit views off Sneffels are incredible, enough for an excuse to make the trip!
Mount Sneffels Summit
For more detailed information on hiking Mount Sneffels, visit SummitPost or 14ers.com.
See Telluride Hiking Trails for an interactive map of the more than 75 hikes in and around Telluride. We’ve also got information on everything you need to know to stay safe on the Via Ferrata; gear list, route map, access information and tips from the locals.
Cross Mountain Trail
Many Telluriders will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them? To continue our exploration of the area”s hiking trails, we bring you our September hike of the month: Cross Mountain Trail.
The Cross Mountain Trail offer 360 degree views of the surrounding Lizard Head Wilderness and San Juan Mountains. There is no better way to take-in some of the most beautiful mountains in Southwest Colorado!
TIPS: This hike takes a half-day to complete so make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. Also, the September weather can be a bit cooler throughout the day so wear layers and bring a rain jacket in case of inclement weather. If you would like to cut out the last two miles that connect you back to the Cross Mountain Trailhead, you can leave a car in the Lizard Head parking area to run a car shuttle.
Photo of Lizard Head Wilderness by Britt Markey.
How to get there: Park your car at the Cross Mountain Trailhead, located approx 2 miles from the Lizard Head Trailhead located off of highway 145 on Lizard Head Pass. You will hike for approx 5 miles until you are at the base of Lizard Head Peak, at which point you will take a right onto the Lizard Head Trail (you will see a sign for this turn). Continue 2.4 miles to the top of Blackface Mountain and then descend to Lizard Head Pass in 2.8 miles. Complete the loop by walking west through the parking area to the road leading downhill toward the highway. Just before the road reaches the highway you will see an unmarked trail heading right. Take this trail, which follows an old railroad grade paralleling the highway, for 2.25 miles back to the Cross Mountain trailhead parking area.
DISTANCE: 11.7 miles (loop)/ Approximately 6.5 hours
Blue Lake to Lewis Mine
This is a nice loop hike at the end of the Telluride valley. The hike travels thru 3 separate basins, requires some off trail navigating and is moderately strenuous but non-technical. Be sure to take a detailed map and keep track of your position. Plan on 8 hours.
Starting from the top of Bridal Veil falls take the Bridal Veil road to Blue Lake. Contour around the right/South side of the lake to reach the far East end. There is an old mine structure and small tailings pile there. Hike straight up the obvious gully above the mine to reach the ridge above at about 13,000′. Gain the ridge at the saddle between points 13,375′ and 13,434′. There is a well established animal trail on the last pitch to gain the ridge.
Descend to the East down into Porphyry Basin towards Highway 550. At about 12,800′ begin contouring to the right/South. You will contour thru a section of large talus and ultimately start finding cairns and an established trail. Staying at the same elevation continue contouring right/South into the next major part of Porphyry Basin. Columbine Lake will become visible to the South on the far side of the Basin.
Stay high and to the right and begin hiking up/West into Porphyry Basin. Gain the ridge that separates Porphyry from Bridal Veil Basin at about 13, 200′. Head up the ridge and to the summit of peak 13,510′ , newly named “Bridal Peak”. Great views of the surrounding mountains featuring Blue Lake, Columbine Lake and Lewis Lake.
Descend back down the ridge you came up, go past a small bump on the ridge and into the saddle at 13,058″. An established trail leads from there down to Lewis Lake. Check out the Lewis Mill and then head back down thru Bridal Veil to end the hike. Enjoy!
Many Telluriders will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them? To continue our exploration of the area’s hiking trails, we bring you our August hike of the month: Wasatch Trail Loop.
There is no better trail to hike to see the beauty of Colorado wildflowers quite like the Wasatch Trail Loop.
Wasatch Trail Loop is a great, full-day hike that meanders high above Telluride featuring flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, breathtaking peaks and vibrant wildflower-filled open space. If there is a scenic feature you want to see, you are sure to find it on this trail. This loop is also popular among trail runners and mountain bikers.
TIPS: At 15 miles, this hike takes a full day. Make sure you get an early start to avoid getting stuck above tree line during an afternoon thunderstorm. Bring plenty of water, a topo map and food and make sure to dress in layers. August hiking can bring unpredictable weather patterns through the San Juan Mountains. Leaving a car at the Bridal Veil power plant cuts time spent hiking on the road back to or from town.
How to get there: Wasatch Trail can be done in either direction. From Bear Creek Trail, starting in Telluride, head in 2 miles and take a right at the Wasatch Trail Sign. Continue hiking a series of steep switchbacks for 30-45 minutes at wich point the trail traverses the hillside and parallels Bear Creek as it works up the basin, across an old bridge and into a hanging valley. Continue aprrov 2.5 hours up to the saddle. There is a split halfway up the Wasatch where one trail runs up the east side of the creek, and another on the west. You can choose either as both reconnect before reaching the summit. When the trails reconnect, it is approximately one additional hour before reaching the summit. Cairns designate the route.
From the summit, bear left on Blixt Road, marked by a metal sign. After 15 minutes you will come to a junction where you make a right to follow the old mining road down into Bridal Veil Basin. Continue on this road until you make it to the Bridal Veil power plant. Continue down the switchbacks to the main road, then hike another mile towards town.
Alternatively, you can do this trail in reverse, starting up Bridal Veil Basin and connecting down, through Bear Creek. You can also add on the Wasatch Connector and end up on the Telluride Ski Resort. If you are mountain biking the loop, it’s best to start by riding up Bridal Veil and descending Bear Creek.
DISTANCE: 15 miles round-trip/ Approximately 8 hours (hiking)
Many Tellurites will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them? To continue our exploration of the area’s hiking trails, we bring you our July hike of the month: Hope Lake.
Hope Lake is a great hike, ending at one of the region’s most beautiful alpine lakes. An added bonus? Views of high-country wildflowers, Trout Lake and of the Lizard Head Wilderness that can be seen along the trail keep your mind off of the climb and into focusing on the beauty of your surroundings.
TIP: It’s rainbow season in Telluride (hey, it sounds better than monsoon season, right?). Make sure you get an early start on this hike to avoid getting stuck above tree line during an afternoon thunder storm. Walk portions of the perimeter to see different views of the lake. Feeling extra frisky, take a swim!
How to get there: From Telluride, travel 3 miles west on State Hwy 145. Turn left at the first highway intersection, continuing south on State Hwy 145 for approx. 8.5 miles. Turn left onto County Road 63A (signed on highway as “Trout Lake”). Proceed on CR 63L for approx. 1.5 miles, then left onto Forest Road #627. Proceed up this rough, rocky road 2.5 miles to the Hope Lake Trailhead. See map below. Look for cars parked at the trailhead. If the trailhead switchback is full, just below the trailhead is an extra pullout for parking.
DISTANCE: 5 miles round-trip.
Trail Etiquette Reminder: Don’t cut switchbacks. This trail sees quite a bit of love throughout the summer. Make sure you stay on the trail and don’t forget to be friendly to your fellow hikers. Learn more about trail etiquette here.
Eider Creek to Deep Creek
Many Tellurites will tell you, they came for the winter, stayed for the summer. And with the many hiking, biking trails and climbing areas to devour, who can blame them?
The San Juans are the youngest mountain range in the Lower 48. As a result the mountains around Telluride are STEEP!!! One must be prepared for a good ol’ fashioned ass whuppin when taking to the trail around here. Of course you could skirt the issue and take a jaunt down the valley floor, or perhaps a walk out to the mine?? Nah…embrace the angle, go up! No trail better represents Telluride’s steepness better than Eider Creek.
DIRECTIONS: Starting at the Mill Creek road (across and just west from the Shell Station 1 mile out of town). Take the Mill Creek road up to the first switchback and take a left next to the gate. Giant aspens, wild grasses and flowers accompany the creek on this south-facing trail. You shouldn’t find too much snow left in June, as this one gets plenty of sun. About a mile and a half up you’ll find a sign and option to go right. This is the Eider Loop and will take you right down to where you started and is a good option to keep it short. However, if your in it for the long haul keep going up! Eventually the Eider Creek Trail connects with the Deep Creek trail. If you make a right, you can hike all the way back to Telluride (by meeting up with the Waterline/Mill Creek Trail). If you take a left, you can hike Deep Creek to the west trailhead near the Telluride airport. The aspen trees make this a great outing. South facing, warm, big trees and a view of the ski area are all quite memorable.
MORE INFORMATION: Note that this trail is also popular among runners and mountain bikers. Remember to share the trail, be friendly and follow proper trail etiquette protocols.
DISTANCE: Depends on the route. See various options via our trail map here.