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Bear Creek Preserve Trail is a 5-mile out and back trail from the town of Telluride, CO up to Bear Creek Falls. It’s a great hike in the Summer, and maybe even better as a Winter snowshoe adventure. Bear Creek Preserve Trail is one of Telluride’s busiest and most popular trails. In the Summer it’s also open to bikes and in the Winter, it is a popular connector between the back side of Telluride’s ski slopes and the bottom of the Oak Street Lift.

Views on Bear Creek Preserve Trail

Views on Bear Creek Preserve Trail

The trail offers beautiful panoramas of the valley and the town of Telluride, and ends with a magnificent view of Bear Creek Falls. The trail also connects to the Wasatch Trail and Bridal Veil Basin.

Hiking on Bear Creek Preserve Trail

Hiking on Bear Creek Preserve Trail

The hike is rated easy to moderate in the Summer, but I’d say more like moderate to advanced in the winter depending on the depth of the snow. We had snowshoes, but several inches of recent snowfall added to the more than 1,050 feet of elevation gained made the hike relatively challenging for some of our travelers. Normally an hour and 15 minutes or so for a Summer hike turned into slightly more than 3 hours in snowshoes.

The trail head begins at the end of South Pine Street in town.

Bear Creek Preserve Trailhead

Bear Creek Preserve Trailhead


Its a short walk to the trail head from Paragon Ski and Sports on Colorado Ave in downtown Telluride. There’s also an added bonus that the walk back to Paragon takes you right by Smuggler’s Brewpub on the corner of S Pine and W San Juan. Smugglers is a great stop for Apres Hike, and will be the subject of another post.