The Jud Wiebe Trail is one of Telluride’s most-loved, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why. A minute in, and you’re already getting some of the most spectacular panoramic views that Colorado can offer. And they somehow just keep getting better.
Jud Wiebe, while not particularly long at three miles, is not for the faint of heart. It gains 1,300 feet of elevation over those three miles, or for us laymen, a s***-ton of hills. You basically go straight up for the entire first half, than you get some flat, and than are going pretty sharply downhill for the last quarter of the trail. That kind of terrain can be tough on knees and lungs, especially with Telluride’s already-impressive elevation of nearly 9,000 feet (for reference, Denver is 5,280).
That’s not to say you can’t do it. My lungs and legs were burning, but I just took a ton of breaks (and brought lots of water!). You will get passed by old people that clearly do this trail everyday. I also got passed by a MOUNTAIN BIKER insane enough to want to bike up this trail I could barely walk up. I would budget three hours to get through the trail just to be safe, meaning you’ll need to start early in the morning during summer to avoid storms.
Telluride itself isn’t all that easy to get to, either. It’s about six hours from Denver without traffic, so if you’re planning a visit, make it part of a road trip or a longer stay than just the weekend (unless you just really, really like driving).
The trail is exceptionally well marked, and leaves right from the town of Telluride. I would recommend starting at Aspen Street instead of Oak Street. The insane scenery I saw right off the bat from Aspen Street helped motivate me to keep hiking – I can’t say I would have been as into it if I had to start on the switchback-ey rocky “road” that is the Oak Street trailhead.
The long drive, the uphill hike, the high altitude – the incredible scenery makes it all worth it. You get jaw-dropping mountain views, aspen tree meadows, rushing mountain creeks, and pine tree-lined forest. You can see Bridal Veil Falls, the town, and the entire valley floor. I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here: