The Rockies: Bear Creek Falls and Bluegrass Music in Telluride!

Telluride offers some spectacular options for hiking when not hanging out at the music festival. This morning, I hiked to Bear Creek Falls, a five mile round trip. The trailhead started at South Pine Street and continued toward town park and the festival to the left. I followed the rocky road that gradually climbed through the aspens to open areas that offered spectacular views of Bridal Veil Falls.

IMG_4246 bridal veil falls

One open area was a shrine to cairns. Rock piles balanced on other rocks, fallen trees, and grassy knolls. Another open area, very close to Bear Creek Falls offered amazing views of the valley below. The flat spot next to an enormous boulder seconded as an outdoor yoga studio.

Here the road narrowed to a tight trail that weaved through bushes all the way to the falls where I enjoyed a brisk spray from the water tumbling over the sheer cliff on this humid, cloudy day. Being used to zero percent humidity, twenty-two percent felt like a blanket!

After my hike and shower, I joined everyone at Elk’s Park to watch Dave Bruzza & Paul Hoffman while testing out the gourmet grilled cheese. All were fantastic! In fact, the food vendors did not disappoint. The gyros were delicious as was the chicken and waffles. The flank steak sandwich and the spinach and cheese wontons were super.

IMG_4601 dave bruzza

The festival called our names by 2:15 again. Punch Brothers were scheduled to play…followed by Yonder Mountain String Band and which we took a short rest before returning for Sam Bush who has played for the last 40 years at the festival, only missing the first one. After Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon geared up for its set at 10:30. I petered out early as I had to leave first thing in the morning. Everyone else soaked in the tunes and got to enjoy a heavy hitting line up on Sunday. ETB


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.


photographic note card, elk in rocky mountain national park
Best Adventure Travel Blog

The Rockies: Telluride Bluegrass Festival!

We awoke to frost. I felt frosty and headed to the coffee shop for some heat (and coffee). Dave huddled in line waiting for a good number. I must say, after 40 festivals, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has got this event running like clock work.

Cars are stopped at the town entrance and directed to parking areas. Volunteers man the entrance of the campgrounds. No one can get in without a wristband. Volunteers man the high school locker rooms. They charge $4 for a shower and the money is used to support their sports. Volunteers hand out the numbers to those waiting in line. Arriving around 6am earns a number around 250 which is handed in when the gates open, today at 9am. To keep the line moving, bags are checked between the numbers being doled out and the gates opening.

Once the tarp run is complete, everyone else may enter. Bags are checked individually as are wristbands. The volunteers give the bands a little tug to make sure they haven’t been cut. Glass, dogs, and alcohol are not allowed into the festival, but just about everything else is fair game. The grassy field is lined with food and shopping vendors, including a free hydration station. Most meals were around $8-10, not too bad, and the beer after purchasing the $10 cup was only $4 a glass, quite a bargain compared to most concerts I’ve been too! There was also a cell phone charging station at the festival and several makeshift ones at the high school and campgrounds.

For those who couldn’t or didn’t want to get a ticket to the festival for all four days, there were several workshop events at Elk’s Park available for free. These events were extremely quaint and nice. Our group bounced between Elk’s Park near town center and the festival at Town Park. We also took retreat from the sun at camp. It is amazing how hot 62 degrees is in the mountain sun and how cold 62 degrees is at night. Nothing like needing a bathing suit top and a parka in the same day.

According to the experts, Ashley and Dave, must see’s were Jason Isbell at 2:15 and Bela Fleck with the Colorado Symphony at 6. A pleasant surprise (and new favorite I think) was Dave Rawlings Machine who played in between Bela Fleck and Steve Winwood. Dave and I had gone back to camp (probably a mile away from the festival) and could hear the crowd go wild at the end of Dave Rawlings Machine. It was pretty cool!

Speaking of a mile away, for a mountain town, Telluride is pretty big. It’s main street, as I mentioned seemed to be a mile long, is peppered with restaurants and shops. Several side streets also include markets and shops and one street is home to the base of the gondola. It was a nice walk back and forth to the festival, but it was also nice to have our bikes and a lot of available bike parking! I’m looking forward to another hike and some more music tomorrow…ETB


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.


photographic note card, longhorn
Best Adventure Travel Blog

The Rockies: Music Festival and Hiking Trails in Telluride

We all made it to Telluride at different times today. Ashley, Dave and Bridget arrived first and staked out a camping area for us at the high school. We paid for a four day pass to camp here for the 41st Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Chris, Serena, and I brought up the rear around 5 pm, unloaded, popped up our tents and shade tents, and prepared to go into to town to get our music festival bracelets and dinner.

We mounted our bikes and pedaled away in an unorganized fashion. We managed not to run into to each other, but it was close. I wonder if the result will change with our sobriety level? We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at Brown Dog Pizza before meandering back to camp to watch the night sky fill with stars as the temperature plummeted. Chris had an app that tracks the path of the international space station, and at 10:06 it was scheduled to fly just above the mountain around 36 degrees in the sky. Low and behold, we watched it go by!! It looked like a plane without any flashing lights. It was the coolest thing. After that, I had to turn in because my toes were frozen and needed the warmth of my tent and sleeping bag. If only my eyes wanted to close and my ears couldn’t hear anything in the relatively quiet campground. Oh well.

Dave, Serena, and I woke when the sun came up. We walked to the opposite end of town near the entrance of the festival and held our spot in line to earn a number. Number holders get first entry to the festival when the gates open at 10. We refer to this as the tarp run. Festival goers run to claim their spot by laying out a tarp. We were all set…stage left, next to the tower, and in front of the foot path. The spot allowed for high back chairs, but no sun shades and was in a calmer area, where we could sit versus stand during the more rambunctious evening activities.

While Serena, Dave, Chris, and Ashley listened to the first band, Bridget was bagging Wilson Peak, one of the few fourteeners she has left, and I was climbing to Station St. Sophia, one of the gondola stops on the ski mountain. I began at South Pine St. where I planned to follow Bear Creek Trail to a waterfall. I didn’t have a map and saw a trailhead to the right without a mile marker and followed it. It lead to a road, which I assumed was the one I started on which switched back. This turned out not to be true, so when I turned right, I ended up on Camel’s Garden Trail instead of Bear Creek Trail and set out for an adventure.

The path, lined with wildflowers climbed beneath the aspen as snowmelt rushed down the mountain and across the path in multiple places. Camel’s Garden Trail turned into Telluride Trail, a ski road that zig-zagged up the mountain beneath the gondola. At times it was rather steep. Eventually it connected to Coonskin Loop, of a lesser grade, which circled around a nature center near the top of the gondola at 10,535 feet.

The views of town, Bridal Veil Falls, our campground, the music festival below, as well as the craggy peaks across the valley were magnificent. Part of what makes Telluride Valley so beautiful is that the U shaped valley was carved by glaciers 1.6 million years ago. The glaciers melted around 18,000 years ago, leaving behind the San Juan Mountains, the range in the Rockies.

I thought about riding the gondola down to enjoy the views on this crystal clear day, but since it was only 2.6 miles up I decided to walk and sometimes slide down the 2,000 foot descent. I reached camp around one, snacked on some lunch and headed to the show where I found Dave and Ashley basking in the sun. We listened to The Lone Bellow for an hour before retreating to the shade of camp.

After a few relaxing hours at camp, we headed back to the festival for a night of music showcasing an excellent lineup including Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek, and Brandi Carlile. While most of us turned in after Brandi Carlile, Dave and Ashley enjoyed the Nightgrass festivities too! They got tickets to Jason Isbell with The Lone Bellow who played at the high school. It was a great day of hiking and music in Telluride.


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.


photographic note card, lake in Yosemite
Best Adventure Travel Blog