This ride is huge and strenuous. At times it feels like the climb — which is often on less than ideal doubletrack — will never relent. But the alpine wonderland in Upper Bridal Veil and Upper Bear Creek basins makes all the sweating and grunting worth it.
At the terminus of Telluride’s box canyon, an old dirt road zigs and zags its way up steep slopes of scree and trees, carving a distinct line between two waterfalls: Ingram and Bridal Veil. Along with offering stunning views of the end of the canyon, this county road marks the beginning of one of Telluride’s biggest summertime backcountry epics: Wasatch. This ride, which follows old mining doubletracks into two incredible high basins, will take riders through wildflower-strew fields, over high talus slopes, past braided streams and waterfalls and down steep and spidery singletrack.
What Makes It Great
This ride is huge and strenuous. At times it feels like the climb — which is often on less than ideal doubletrack — will never relent. But the alpine wonderland in Upper Bridal Veil and Upper Bear Creek basins makes all the sweating and grunting worth it. Misty Bridal Veil Falls, fields of Indian Paintbrush and Columbines, magical cascades, perfect little alpine ponds and an otherworldly climb up talus to the final saddle — elevation 13,000 feet — with nothing but peaks in every direction — it’s unforgettable.
Who is Going to Love It
Cyclists who like adventure, exploratory riding and a long day in the saddle. This is a ride for fit riders who have endurance and who are prepared for a big day out there (bring layers, a lunch and lots of water.) The climb is a slog and the descent entails some techy sections and tight, exposed switchbacks. Riders should bring maps or, even better join fellow riders who have done it before as there are unsigned junctures.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Ride out of town east on Colorado Avenue, which turns into a dirt road, CR K69, past the Pandora Mill and parking lot. Follow the main road as it climbs to the Bridal Veil Hydroelectric Power Station. From here or follow the path through the gate and behind the power station into Upper Bridal Veil Basin. Follow the rocky double track as it climbs steeply into the basin, and stay straight where it turns to Silver Lake and Blue Lake. Once you have climbed into the basin, look out for a fork at a single wooden post — head right to make the long climb up to the high point of the ride: the saddle that sits between Bridal Veil and Bear Creek Basins. (You’ll see a cool metal sign that points to Blixt Road at the top) Once you are there, take a load off, eat some food, drink in the views and prepare for the long descent to town. Head down the singletrack into rocky basins and flower-strewn meadows. Riders should take the Wasatch Trail (rather than the super loose East Fork Trail) to descend through Upper Bear Creek. It will take you to the far side of the basin, drop you down several switchbacks and then plunge through a twisty section of thick vegetation before spitting you out onto Bear Creek, a popular hiking and dog-walking trail in the summer. Take a left there and cruise back to Telluride.