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Mystic Falls

Near Telluride

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

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Mystic Falls

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  • View from CO-145 south, on the way to the falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View from Road 63L on the way to the falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View from the road just before getting to the trailhead.- Mystic Falls
  • Parking area at the trailhead.- Mystic Falls
  • Unnamed waterfall visible from the trailhead.- Mystic Falls
  • The trail to the top of the falls goes through an aspen grove.- Mystic Falls
  • View from the top of Mystic Falls looking north.- Mystic Falls
  • View from the top of Mystic Falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View from the top of Mystic Falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View of Mystic Falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View of Mystic Falls from the rocky outcrops just east of the falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View of Mystic Falls from the rocky outcrops just east of the falls.- Mystic Falls
  • View from the meadow just west of the falls.- Mystic Falls
  • The trail goes through an aspen grove.- Mystic Falls
  • A spot to cross Lake Fork Creek with autumn leaves swirling on the side.- Mystic Falls
  • Aspen leaves floating on the water.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Looking up from the creek.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Aspen leaves trapped in eddy currents.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • Mystic Falls from the creek at the bottom of the canyon.- Mystic Falls
  • - Mystic Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful waterfall without the crowds.
Cons: 
Surrounded by private property.
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Region:
San Juan Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Total elevation gain: 
300.00 ft (91.44 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
8,816.00 ft (2,687.12 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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The combination of high alpine glacial lakes and steep, rocky mountains makes the San Juan Mountains of Colorado a great area for waterfalls -especially around Silverton, Ouray and Telluride. One of the waterfalls near Telluride is the beautiful, and fairly unknown Mystic Falls. After a short drive from the Telluride Mountain Village, it can be appreciated from the top; or after a short but steep hike down, it can be seen looking up from the bottom of the canyon right from Lake Fork Creek, a tributary to the San Miguel River.

To get there, drive south on CO-145 from the Mountain Village and turn right onto 63L (turning left would lead you to Ophir Pass). Make a sharp turn left toward the small town of Ames. Just down the hill there is a power station, where you can either park and walk about a half mile or continue on if you have a high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. You will pass a green cabin on the left, then an old log cabin on the right. The road becomes steeper and rockier at that point. Continue on and turn right at 37.863094, -107.882254. Note that the last short stretch can be very muddy. Park in the open area at 37.863109, -107.883358. While this spot provides public access, it is sorrounded by private property, so please be respectful.

From that spot you can see some beautiful, unnamed waterfalls, which you can walk around by following the trail southwest, which then turns west. The trail goes through an aspen grove and leads to a spot to cross the creek. From the parking lot it is just some 800 feet to the top of Mystic Falls, which is a great view. However, be very careful, as the rocks on the creek are very slippery, so it is not recommended to try to cross the creek near the falls. A short walk north on the rocky outcrops affords great views of the falls as well. Note that lose rocks and steep inclines can make the area very dangerous, so be careful.

While the view from the top is beautiful, the falls are better appreciated from the bottom of the canyon. To get there, you have to cross the creek, hike down around the falls, and then hike up along (and in some cases in) the creek. There is a good spot to cross some 400 to 500 feet upstream from the falls. That is also a good spot to hike up above the cliffs, or you can walk a few hundred feet further upstream where the terrain is not as steep. The trail continues north (downstream) through the forest, a meadow, and then descends sharply through the forest. At the bottom there is an aspen grove; stay on the right (east) toward the creek or you will end up in someone's backyard. Do not attempt to go down to the creek on the cliffs, but go just far enough north to find a trail down. From that point it is about 0.2 miles to the base of the waterfalls.

While there are a few spots to cross, you may want to bring two pairs of shoes: sturdy hiking shoes or boots to get to that point, and a pair of shoes to walk in and around the creek. Also, note that there can be rocks falling from the top of the canyon. From the base you can appreciate the double waterfalls through the narrow canyon, which is quite a reward for the steep hike down. All in all, the hike is just under 2 miles.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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(31 within a 30 mile radius)

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