Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Blue Lake Via Bridal Veil Falls Trail – Telluride, Colorado
Sunny, pleasant, mid 70s
Ian, Court, Biff, Finn
This was the biggest hike of the trip and one of the biggest we’ve ever done, especially the elevation. We got up to over 12,000 feet and man, I felt it. A bit of a long post coming.
Our original intention was to hike the other Blue Lake trail on the north side of Telluride near Mt. Sneffels, but it was an hour and a half drive to the trail head and I wasn’t sure if my non-4WD SUV would make it. Instead, we drove to the end of the road in Telluride and parked at the trail head for Bridal Veil Falls.
A lot of people take a jeep trail up to the base of the falls and start the hike from there, but we decided to add on the additional 1.2 mile trail from the very bottom to lengthen the hike. Hiking with dogs, especially on tough trail, is a mental exercise as much as it is physical. I didn’t start off in a great mental spot. Finnigan gets a head of steam and loves to pull on new trails, so it’s a challenge to keep your balance while clambering over rocks. However, there were so many waterfalls and general beauty on this trail that it was well worth it.
We reached Bridal Veil Falls and also the remains of some mining equipment, which I found really cool. We had a great view down into the valley and Telluride as well. There’s also an old power plant at the top of the falls, which is actually back in use after being originally decommissioned in 1953. According to wiki, it supplies about 25% of the power to Telluride down below.
From here the trail kept going up and eventually started to switchback as we gained elevation to over 12,000 feet at the lake. The wildflowers were gorgeous and we saw pikas and marmots as we ascended. In multiple places the ice cold water streamed over the trail from small waterfalls and rivulets originating from places unknown.
There was also a section where there had been either an avalanche over the winter or a landslide (pretty sure it was an avalanche) and there was a huge debris pile going over the creek with snow still melting underneath it. It was like a giant snow bridge covered in destroyed trees and looked like it might collapse at any moment.
Once we got over 11,000 I had to stop and catch my breath multiple times. I was determined to make it though and I struggled through to the end. There was more old mining equipment and shelters way up here. I can’t imagine how they got it all up here.
We ate lunch and filtered water before starting the long descent back down. Another downside of hiking with the pups is not having our trekking poles, but they had a blast and it was well worth it. Around mile 10, little Biff’s legs weren’t having anymore, so we switched off carrying him down the last mile or so. He’s such a trooper.
What an amazing hike this was. I probably had the hardest time of all four of us, but it was stunningly beautiful and absolutely lived up to my expectations for Telluride and the Rockies in general. We went home, picked up dinner, and the pups passed out.