Bridal Veil Falls (Telluride)
|Bridal Veil Falls|
|Elevation||10,279 ft (3,133 m)|
|Total height||365 ft (111 m)|
|Watercourse||San Miguel River|
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. 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.
The falls were opened briefly in the 1990s to ice climbers, but the area is private property so climbing has been legally prohibited since. 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. Climbers were excited by the proposal in 2008 that would reopen the falls to climbers. Legendary climbers Jeff Lowe (climber) and Mike Wiess were known to have been the first to summit the falls in 1978, the effort having been broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
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 call the plant home.
- "Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado". AmazingColorado.com. Retrieved on 17 November 2008.
- 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.
- Capps, Reilly (September 29, 2008). "Bridal Veil ice climbing — open at last?". Telluride Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-11-17.[dead link]
- Healy, Pat (January 15, 2008). "Hunkered down at Bridal Veil". Telluride Daily Planet. Retrieved 2008-11-17.[dead link]
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