The Jud Wiebe Trail is steep—gaining 1,200 feet in a little over a mile—but relatively short. It stays below 10,000 feet, lies on “the sunny side” of town and gets plenty of traffic year-round—hikers in the winter, and hikers and mountain bikers in the summer—so it’s doable long before other trails melt out.
Named for a Forest Service manager who planned the trail in the 1980s but unfortunately passed away from cancer before its completion, “the Wiebe” is an approximately 3-mile loop that can be hiked in either direction. The trailheads are one block apart in town, beginning at either the northern end of Aspen Street, or the northern end of Oak Street.
If hiking counter-clockwise from Oak Street, begin by walking a short stretch up Tomboy Road (a dirt road that diagonally traverses the mountainside). The Jud Wiebe trailhead is clearly marked with a sign on your left-hand side. Start climbing! The first stretch here is primarily a doubletrack gravel trail. Keep an eye out for friendly deer, porcupines, or other wildlife as you ascend steeply above town.
About a mile up, you’ll have a short respite from the uphill as you dip into a wooded stretch. Pass the turnoff for the Liberty Bell Trail, veering left (the intersection is clearly marked) to stay on the Wiebe and dip deeper into the lush forest. Enjoy a relatively smooth, quick descent to a footbridge across Cornet Creek, then begin climbing again on relatively smooth singletrack through aspen trees to the trail’s 10,000-foot high point.
A couple benches are situated along the open hillside here, so take a seat, catch your breath, and soak up the views. Your singletrack descent awaits—complete with plenty of roots and rocks to keep things interesting. Finish by crossing a footbridge over Cornet Creek; if you still have juice in your legs, head up the trail to the right of the creek for a bonus! Within a quarter-mile, you’ll arrive at the scenic, 80-foot Cornet Creek Falls.
Come early spring, keep in mind that snow and ice tends to linger in the wooded sections; especially if you’re hiking early or late in the day, consider packing some Yaktrax or other traction devices to aid with icy spots. Also, note that after spring snow or rainstorms, the trail at the top often gets quite muddy in the afternoons.
What Makes It Great
It’s one of the most accessible trails from downtown Telluride and offers great bang for your buck—steep climbs, wildflowers, wild mushrooms, lush fir and pine forest, quaking aspen groves, waterfalls and roaring creeks, frequent wildlife sightings, and open meadows with panoramic views—all in two hours or less.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone! If you’re hiking with kids, consider doing the loop in the clockwise direction, so you can start with the bonus excursion to Cornet Falls. Open vistas also come sooner on the clockwise route, so if the kids get tuckered out on the steep climb, you have the option (without sacrificing views) to come back down the west side of the trail, rather than completing the full loop.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There is no parking at either trailhead, so plan to park on the streets in town instead. Note: many streets in Telluride are limited to two-hour parking, so be wary of these restrictions—or seek free, all-day parking at the Carhenge Lot on the southwest corner of town, off West Pacific Ave.