Bear Creek Trail

MODERATE 338 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Bear Creek Trail is a 4.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Telluride, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,092 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

Bear Creek Trail is one of the most popular hiking and biking trails in Uncompahgre National Forest. The trailhead is located at the end of South Pine Street in downtown Telluride and leads to a scenic viewpoint of the 80-foot upper Bear Creek Falls at just over 1000 feet in elevation. Hikers can continue up the rugged cliffs of Bear Creek canyon on the Wasatch Trail. This mellow mountain trail winds its way through the 325-acre Bear Creek Preserve full of aspen and pine groves. Bear Creek is a public open space preserved by The San Miguel Conservation Foundation, in partnership with the town of Telluride, Colorado. Parking is available at the Mountain Village and a free gondola brings visitors to downtown Telluride. Summer visitors drawn to the natural beauty of Colorado Parks might also be interested in nearby Lizard Head Wilderness Area and Mount Sneffels Wilderness Areas.

snowshoeing
21 days ago

Great hike with lots of great photo ops. The falls are gorgeous frozen. The trail is well used by skiers and snowborders, so the snow is very tightly packed and frozen over at parts. You won’t really need snowshoes unless you want to get close to the falls. Only reason I gave it a 4 for snowshoeing. Overall, great trail for a day hike!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

We went on Christmas Day as a family hike. We forgot our snowshoes but we’re still able to walk it. My parents felt there was a lot of up, but it’s worth it!! In the snow it took us 1 hour 45 minutes to get up. It only took 45 minutes to get down. We stopped frequently to get pictures and catch our breath.

Overall a beautiful hike and the falls are absolutely gorgeous! They were frozen over and it was spectacular to see.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun little hike. Great views nice weather.

4 months ago

loved this trail and views were spectacular!

4 months ago

Easy hike until the very top then a bit rocky. It was well worth it!!!

hiking
4 months ago

This hike was just spectacular when I got a chance to do it in June of 2017. Definitely doable for most anyone, though being from a town at sea level and having had only a day of acclimation slowed me down a little. The falls are so powerful and the spray so refreshing, really incredible, but the views are just as impressive as the falls on this trek. This part of Colorado is as good as it gets: the terrain is so varied, red sandstone cliffs to the west and snow-capped mountains that remind me of The Sound of Music to the east. I love Telluride so damn much. Next time I go I want to try and get further up the Wasatch Basin Trail.

hiking
4 months ago

NIce trek out to the falls this morning. In from Boston on a pleasure trip. A LOW comes in and drops some precipitation you will need snow shoes. Do it while you can.

4 months ago

Hike with the family. Had a bit of snow and slippery patches towards the top. View is good

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike. No big cats seen this morning, and no one at the falls for over 1/2 hour. People often think hike ends at base of falls, by huge boulder but then there’s a short, but steep (10 mins) trail to the actual falls, which are beautiful with gorgeous views of mount Sneffle. Aspen colors are beautiful right now!

4 months ago

Great way to kick start the day! Beautiful fall colors and spectacular light on the mountain tops. Big Cat sighting on the trail by jogger in front of me, around 8am, top 3rd of the trail. Keep your eyes out!

hiking
5 months ago

One of the top hikes in Colorado! Went on 09/16/18, was there by 7:45 a.m. so beat the crowds. Amazing colors on the Aspens at the start of the trail, beautiful views of the surrounding mountains throughout the entire trail and the waterfalls were some of the best around! When you first see the falls you can take a path down right to them, would recommend. The last .4 mile up is a very narrow hard elevation gain, but the rest of the trail would be good for anyone.

5 months ago

Incredible views! Nice wide trail. My friend suggested we go early (8am) and only saw a few others on trail going up but passed lots of hikers coming down. If you want to experience the falls alone go early!

5 months ago

Waterfalls that are so amazing! Did not disappoint!

5 months ago

Beautiful hike on a somewhat rocky trail, but don’t forget to look up as the peaks are magnificent. The falls are beautiful and the view back down the valley is spectacular.

5 months ago

Gorgeous views. Wonderful hike; I was glad I hiked it early, because I met a lot of people hiking up as I descended. I can see why it’s so popular.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful views. Trail was not crowded when we went Friday morning. Most difficult part was breathing with the altitude. Glad we went.

6 months ago

Challenging, but completely worth it. I'm in shape, but my lungs struggled to keep up. Recommend being acclimated to altitude before you go. However, the rewards (waterfalls) are AWESOME if you stay motivated and don't give up.

hiking
6 months ago

This was a steady incline- but beautiful views and rest stops along the way for kids. We really enjoyed this hike.

6 months ago

Nice warm up trail with a waterfall on top

6 months ago

up hill the whole way but definitely worth it for the views and knowing you climbed a mountain

one thing that was discouraging were the rock piles along this trail, along with initials carved in trees. also a lot of traffic.

hiking
6 months ago

Hike was a challenge for our seven and nine-year-old but we were able to push them along and they were glad they made it to the Falls! What a spectacular seen. The trail is beautiful framed by mainly Aspen, with some stunning scenery of the cliffs.

One note: as the write up says this is a very popular hike, so there were plenty of other people, dogs, and trail runners but all courteous and friendly.

6 months ago

Very nice trail, mostly on an old forest road but be prepared for some extended hiking on rocks in places. A good balance of shade and sun. If you take your pup, there are a few small stream crossings where they can get a drink. Near the top there is a nice area to see the falls from about a quarter mile away, but the hike to the falls itself will reward you with some great views back toward the valley.

6 months ago

This was a great hike. Great day and a beautiful hike.

6 months ago

A great hike to get acclimated to the altitude. If you get an early start then you’ll likely have the falls to yourself. The views are fantastic along the way. We wrapped up the hike around 11:30 after relaxing at the top for 40 minuets, and the trail was pretty crowded at that point. Only 4 stars due to the sheer beauty and solitude of other hikes in the area.

6 months ago

Definitely worth the short semi steep hike. Runnable for those who like to trail run

6 months ago

We went early in morning and only saw a few people on the trail and at the falls. Great for photos. More people on the trail after about 9am. We took our time and explored a lot of side trails, playing around in the creek and taking photos of the views, and that made the hike even better for us. Not many wildflowers this week, except at the last .25-mile near the falls and then some very pretty foliage.

6 months ago

This hike was pretty simple and to the point. Wide trail, easy to pass people (which is good as it was pretty busy). Parking downtown on the streets, so your time is limited on the trail due to the meters. The waterfall is easy to get to and beautiful. Would recommend if you are in the area.

6 months ago

Such a gorgeous hike of moderate difficulty. The most bang for the buck as it affords you beautiful views, water along the whole hike, wildflowers and a gorgeous water fall at the destination. Take time to hike in or along side the creek when you get to the huge rock climbing boulder right before the final ascent to the falls. Stunning.

hiking
6 months ago

What a treat to find a trail right on the edge of town! It was an easy 12-minute walk from my hotel. Being so conveniently located, I figured it would be crowded so I went very early in the morning -- I was at the trailhead at 7:20am and had the trail to myself. (Which meant I also had the waterfall at the top to myself as well!) The trail is a steady incline out and decline back, but not strenuous. I hike pretty slowly, so it took me 1 hour 20 minutes to get to the waterfall. (There's a giant bolder at a plateau on the trail that looks like the end of the trail, and you can see the waterfall in the distance, but keep going! The trail gets narrower and a little steeper, but you can get right up to the waterfall -- close enough to feel the spray.) As I was heading down, the trail was getting pretty crowded (people starting the trail around 9am or after). Lots of dogs -- all well behaved, but none on leashes. I was pleasantly surprised to have only seen 3 poop bags on the trail -- I would have expected far more. This trail was a real gem. And easy to stop for coffee in town afterwards.

walking
6 months ago

Great trail!! Perfect for dogs too.

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