Natural Wonders: Colorado's Tallest Frozen Waterfall

See a 365-foot cascade turned to ice at Bridal Veil Falls.

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The Wonder

Each November, Bridal Veil Falls freezes solid and clings to Telluride’s glacier-carved canyon wall like candle wax on a wine bottle. The state’s highest free-falling waterfall has lured expert ice climbers every winter since Mike Weiss and Jeff Lowe’s nationally televised first ascent in 1974. By May, Bridal Veil Creek thaws and again cascades the length of a football field to form the San Miguel River headwaters.

The Way

From Telluride, take Colorado Avenue east until it dead-ends at the Idarado Mine parking lot to pick up a 3.5-mile out-and-back route to the fall’s peak. Switchback 1.2 miles up Bridal Veil Falls Road to the base of the waterfall; look up, and you’ll see a century-old hydroelectric plant–that still provides about five percent of Telluride’s power–perched at the brink. Climb another .5 mile for eye-level views of the frozen falls; pack snowshoes and heed avalanche warnings.

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