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)