The five-mile roundtrip out-and-back hike to Bear Creek Falls starts in downtown Telluride and follows a shady trail through the Bear Creek Preserve. Take West Colorado Avenue (Main Street) to South Pine Street. There’s no public parking at the trailhead, but there is paid parking along the street. Cross the bridge over the San Miguel River and head south on a well-worn trail that follows the west bank of Bear Creek. You’ll pass access points to other trails like the Wasatch Trail as well as gorgeous aspen groves and unparalleled views of the wild San Juans. The frozen falls are especially beautiful in winter (bring your snowshoes!), and in the spring as the snowmelt gushes down the mountains and into the creeks.
—Susan Joy Paul