FATMAP by Strava

Wasatch Trail Out-and-Back


One of Telluride's most pristine high alpine trails, beginning straight from downtown.

Trail Running Severe

19 km
1.4 km
1.4 km
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
4 km
Wasatch Trail Out-and-Back Map

The Wasatch Trail is one of the most iconic trails in Telluride. It is a bona fide bucket list objective for Colorado trail runners, but this trail is no joke: it demands about 4,500 feet of climbing in 12 miles, rising to a summit elevation of 13,061 feet.


To access this trail, the run shown here begins from downtown Telluride on the Bear Creek Falls trail. The towering 80-foot Bear Creek Falls is itself an iconic stop, and this route includes a side trip to the falls.

The trail winds up a narrow mountain valley, with beautiful views of aspen trees and the peaks high above. As you approach the falls, the trail becomes steeper, narrower, and more strenuous. You will pass the junction with the Wasatch Trail, which you will follow later. You will soon reach a large boulder that marks the end of the trail and the beginning of the falls.

Bear Creek Falls is a stunning sight to behold. The water plunges down from a high cliff into a pool below, creating a misty spray and a rainbow on sunny days. You can climb up the boulder to get a closer view of the falls, or find a spot on the rocks or grass to relax and enjoy the scenery.

However, don’t relax too long, because this run is just beginning! The climb up the Wasatch Trail is long, technical in places, and physically arduous—but the views are spectacularly beautiful! The trail climbs high into the alpine, eventually reaching the Wasatch Trail’s high point at 13,061 feet.

Here you’ll enjoy staggering high-alpine scenery, with the jaw-dropping San Juan mountains all around you. Keep your eyes peeled for alpine wildlife, like marmots. Once done enjoying the high alpine terrain, turn around and get ready for the fun part!

The descent off the top of the pass consists of narrow singletrack running through exposed high-alpine terrain. You will have to navigate tight switchbacks, loose rocks, and exposed ledges on your way down to the Bear Creek drainage. Some sections of trail are quite exposed, with consequential fall danger.

The descent shown here follows the East Fork Bear Creek trail, which is a bit more difficult than the classic Wasatch Trail. You can opt to head further west to bypass this section if you prefer.

The trail will eventually smooth out and follow the fast, flowy singletrack along the creek. This will take you all the way back to the trailhead where you started.



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between July and October

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