the wandering chick
...hiking the San Juan Natl Forest

My friend Betty from Houston came to visit while I was in southwest Colorado. We had a mission to see the San Juan Skyway Loop and to do some hiking. We did both...well.

We did five hikes in all, but three of them are shown here. For us, these three hikes were moderate. They were all more than four miles long, and one was six and a half. And not one was flat, they all involved up-hill climbing.

The prettiest of the three was the Bear Creek Falls in Telluride. The spectacular waterfall at the end of the trail was a great reward for the steady uphill climb. This hike is certainly Telluride's most popular.

The other two hikes were mostly through forests. Very picturesque...lots of aspen against the clear blue sky.

to see the other two hikes we did, a link will be provided at the bottom of the page. They were also spectacular.

Bear Creek Waterfall Trail
three moderate hikes
The Bear Creek Waterfalls Trail out of Telluride was truly the most gorgeous hike. It was a 4.5-mile RT hike with a steady climb on a wide dirt-packed road. Views such as this one were ever-present.
Bear Creek Waterfall Trail
western tiger swallowtail butterfly
A western tiger swallowtail butterfly
spider web in tree
Cairns always put a smile on my face.
bear creek falls

Okay, so here's the deal: We had walked we're not sure how far....maybe 2.5 miles (it seemed further because it was all uphill)... to this point when we got our first glimpse of the falls. We were excited and impressed and starting taking lots of pictures. The trail seem to have ended, or at least it changed from a wide path to something much more narrow. We questioned whether we could get closer.

About that time, someone was returning, and we asked if this was the end of the trail. can go further. So, we walked further...and got closer and took more pictures.

And someone else came along. We asked the same thing. can get closer. Says she: "When you feel the splash you know you've reached the end. " So we trudged on, waiting to be splashed.

a ball of ice at the falls
Bear Creek Falls
The splash!
Bear Creek Fall
splash from the waterfall
ice at the fall
The Priest Gulch Trail

The Priest Gulch Trail is very different, obviously, from the Bear Creek Falls. The trailhead for Priest Gulch is along the west side of Highway 145 just across the street from the Priest Gulch RV Park.

The official name of the one we did is the Priest Gulch Cutoff #201. Rather than continuing for more than we could handle, we took a five-mile loop. It was through aspen trees and meadows and was clearly marked all the way. It was a gradual uphill, but definitely the easiest of the three.

The Priest Gulch Trail
The Priest Gulch Trail
The Priest Gulch Trail
The Priest Gulch Trail
The Priest Gulch Trail
The Priest Gulch Trail

If you'd like to continue viewing pictures of the San Juan Skyway, click any one of these links. A link on that page will lead you to others.

Highway 550 from Durango to Ouray

Highway 145 from Dolores to Telluride




Here are links to two other hikes we did:

The Petroglyph Trail at Mesa Verde (pix of the trail are about in the middle of the page)

The Big Al Trail - in a large aspen grove near Mancos State Park

Or, you may want to return to the Colorado home page

Or, go to a destination below

A recently broken tree left with jagged edges not yet smoothed by time

Please visit some of my other travel locations. Feel free to email me if you have questions or comments.

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