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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
300.00 ft (91.44 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful waterfall without the crowds.

Cons

Surrounded by private property.

Trailhead Elevation

8,816.00 ft (2,687.12 m)

Address

Lake Fork Junction Rd
106
CO 81320
United States

Features

Waterfalls
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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