Bridal Veil Basin to Blue Lake will leave you stunned with its scenic beauty. The popular 365′ Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado is the first highlight of many more to come as you hike deeper into the Bridal Veil Basin.
Hiking in the San Juan Mountains never disappoints! Located at the edge of town in Telluride, CO, it is one not to miss!
Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).
Excited to finally see Bridal Veil Falls which we’ve missed on previous visits to Telluride. Don’t make the same mistake! It’s gorgeous. We started at the parking area at Pandora Mine and began our trek up the 4WD road to the base of the Falls. It’s early morning, chilly, and views heading up are sensational.
Watching the sun come up over the peaks surrounding the town of Telluride as we ascend switchbacks for 1.2 miles until reaching the Falls.
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS
Reaching the base of the Falls it’s beautiful in early fall colors and I notice another trail heading down from here. A single track which I later realized is a backcountry way back down to the parking lot instead of the 4WD road. Rated: hard with dangerous water crossing ahead. (bridge coming in the future).
Now heading to Bridal Veil Basin which begins above Bridal Veil Falls. I heard from a local that it once hosted events and that inside there is a glass floor which you can see the falls head down. (hearsay?) unknown!
NOTE: Perched on the edge of the cliff above Bridal Veil Falls is the Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Plant, built-in 1907. Today it produces sustainable energy for the town of Telluride.
BRIDAL VEIL BASIN
Now we are heading into the Bridal Veil Basin and it’s SO exciting because we can see what lies ahead. Absolutely stunning. It’s quiet and shaded as we hike on a gradual grade along a pretty canyon wall.
Is it hard? Yup, it’s becoming a grueling climb but the views keep coming in all directions. You just can’t quit for wanting to see what’s coming next! We have already had the pleasure of several waterfalls to gap at along with numerous historic mining remnants throughout the trail.
Not to be taken lightly. It’s a high altitude trail, dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. For a look at Practical gear that we love at Crazy About Colorado and have in our backpacks on every hike. > CLICK HERE
As we hike out of the trees and see the vistas it’s where you feel like you are almost there to Blue Lake. But no, not yet it’s still farther. Words just don’t describe the incredible scenic vistas we are witnessing.
A little slice of heaven, with hardly a soul except for the sounds of marmots and pikas. The sun is intense as it hits my face and arms and I can feel a slight breeze as we keep on hiking.
Golds, reds, and yellows line the tundra and it just makes me happy and giddy with how peaceful it is. However, we are ready for a break as this hike has exhausted us!
We are here! Blue Lake sits in turquoise and blues, crystal clear as the sun sends sparkles across the water. Nestled in a striking glacial cirque it’s stunning.
Behind the rocks pictured is a canoe if you desire a trip out on the lake. I choose not to without a life vest (kinda wimpy) but we saw a young couple go out and they loved it. Where the canoe came from is a mystery at this altitude of 12,200 ft.
Highly recommend Bridal Veil Basin as a day hike! One of the most tantalizing trails in Telluride that we’ve hiked and even though I mentioned it was hard it’s certainly doable for a moderate hiker.
Trail starts above Bridal Falls
6 mile out & back
Start Elevation: 10,400′ End 12,220″
Start at Bridal Veil Falls Trailhead
8.7 miles out & back
Uncompahgre National Forest
LOCATED: Drive east through the town of Telluride on Colorado Ave. toward the end of town. Continue past the Pandora Mill site on your left and park here to hike to the Falls and then onto Bridal Veil Basin.