Bridal Veil Falls (Telluride)

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Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls Telluride CO3.jpg
Location Telluride, Colorado
Coordinates 37°55′09″N 107°46′12″W / 37.91917°N 107.77000°W / 37.91917; -107.77000Coordinates: 37°55′09″N 107°46′12″W / 37.91917°N 107.77000°W / 37.91917; -107.77000
Elevation 10,279 ft (3,133 m)
Total height 365 ft (111 m)
Watercourse San Miguel River
Bridal Veil Falls, taken from the base.

Bridal Veil Falls is a 365-foot (111 m) waterfall at the end of the box canyon overlooking Telluride, Colorado. Hiking and off-road trails pass by the falls and the power plant at its top. In winter the frozen shape of the falls forms an imposing challenge to intrepid ice climbers.

Bridal Veil Falls is a two pronged waterfall.[1] The trail past the falls continues on to mountain meadows and mountain lakes above 10,000 feet (3,000 m).

The house/power plant atop the falls was restored, operated and lived in (1991–2010) by Eric Jacobson. The power generated now provides about 25 percent of Telluride's demand for electricity. The plant was originally used to power the Smuggler-Union Mine and in winter requires an aerial tramway for access. It is the second-oldest operating AC generator in the United States, the first being the nearby Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant by Ophir, Colorado. The Idarado Mining Company now owns and operates the power plant. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant.[2]

The falls were opened briefly in the 1990s to ice climbers, but the area is private property so climbing has been legally prohibited since.[3] Referred to as a "mega classic" and "the most difficult waterfall ice climb in North America" some climbers have trespassed to take a crack at the imposing and dangerous climb, but a land purchase proposal and an insurance deal may change the situation.[3] Climbers were excited by the proposal in 2008 that would reopen the falls to climbers.[3] In 1978, Jeff Lowe and Mike Wiess became the first to summit the falls, the effort having been broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.[3]

The area around Bridal Veil Falls is subject to avalanche and controlled shelling to create controlled slides is an event popular with spectators and photographers. Reaching the top of the falls in winter can be a precarious venture, even for the experienced family that lives there.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado". Retrieved on 17 November 2008.
  2. ^ Williams, Roger Neville (December 7, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Capps, Reilly (September 29, 2008). "Bridal Veil ice climbing — open at last?". Telluride Daily Planet. Archived from the original on November 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  4. ^ Healy, Pat (January 15, 2008). "Hunkered down at Bridal Veil". Telluride Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-11-17. [dead link]

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