Cornet Falls

Telluride / Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado, USA

About Cornet Falls


Hiking Distance: 0.6 miles round trip with erosion and dropoff exposure
Suggested Time: 45-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-04-16
Date last visited: 2020-07-23

Waterfall Latitude: 37.94308
Waterfall Longitude: -107.81061

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Cornet Falls (also called Cornet Creek Falls) was perhaps the waterfall that stole the show when it came to waterfalling the Telluride area on our first visit back in April 2017.

Unlike the nearby Bridal Veil Falls at the time, this 80ft waterfall was not locked up in ice and snow so it performed quite nicely.

Cornet_Falls_026_04162017 - Cornet Falls or Cornet Creek Falls
Cornet Falls or Cornet Creek Falls

It even had a snow cone at its base that would make Disney’s Elsa proud.

However, when we came back in the Summer of 2020, I got to experience this waterfall unencumbered by the hazards from the presence of snow and ice.

The result was a much easier hike as well as a thinner plunge waterfall that allowed me to stand behind it.

I was first made aware of Cornet Creek Falls by the receptionist working at the charming Victorian Inn as an alternate to the more famous Bridal Veil Falls.

Cornet_Falls_065_04162017 - Eroded trail conditions along Cornet Creek when I pursued the Cornet Falls (or Cornet Creek Falls) in April 2017
Eroded trail conditions along Cornet Creek when I pursued the Cornet Falls (or Cornet Creek Falls) in April 2017

That said, she made the hike seem easier than it turned out to be, even suggesting that our six-year-old daughter could do the hike.

I suppose that this trail may be more difficult or easier depending on the level of erosion that it was subject to.

When I first did it in April 2017, the trail conditions appeared to have changed for the worse given the prevalent erosion as well as the presence of snow and ice on some of these precarious sections.

However, when I came back in July 2020, the trail seemed to have been improved and re-routed since that time, and so I had a much easier hike.

Cornet_Falls_011_07232020 - The same section the Cornet Falls Trail seemed to have been re-routed and improved when I came back in July 2020
The same section the Cornet Falls Trail seemed to have been re-routed and improved when I came back in July 2020

Nevertheless, in either case, the trail still had some very narrow ledges as well as eroded slopes that I still had to get across so I definitely had to exercise an abundance of caution.

Cornet Creek Falls Trail Description

Overall, the brief hike to Cornet Falls was about 0.3 miles in each direction (0.6 miles round trip) from the northern end of North Aspen Street (by the Jud Wiebe Trail and bridge over Cornet Creek; see directions below).

Just to give you an idea of the differences in trail conditions in my visits, it took me about 45 minutes total to do this hike on my first visit, but it only took me less than 30 minutes on my second visit.

So from the northern end of North Aspen Street, I followed the street uphill past some more homes to its end as the road’s surface became dirt.

Cornet_Falls_006_04162017 - The bridge for the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail, but I avoided crossing this bridge to continue along Cornet Creek towards the Cornet Falls
The bridge for the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail, but I avoided crossing this bridge to continue along Cornet Creek towards the Cornet Falls

I also passed by some trailhead signage for the “Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail”.

Not even a minute’s hike beyond the sign, I then encountered a footbridge that continued the Jud Wiebe Trail.

However, for Cornet Falls, I avoided crossing the bridge and continued up the right side of Cornet Creek along a much narrower trail.

Barely another few minutes of hiking later, the trail then got to a part that was once pretty badly eroded alongside what appeared to be intermediate cascades well downstream of the main falls.

Cornet_Falls_015_07232020 - Traversing a rockslide prone section of the Cornet Falls Trail
Traversing a rockslide prone section of the Cornet Falls Trail

The trail actually was supposed to continue further uphill to the right slightly away from the creek, but this section was re-routed to go straight ahead to a restored set of steps by some wooden planks.

It turned out that the upper trail going around this eroded section had some dropoff exposure itself, and it still had to negotiate the eroded sloping section where the planks were.

Thus, it made sense that the re-routed trail completely avoided this climb and cliff-ledge altogether.

Beyond this formerly eroded section, the narrow trail continued hugging ledges while going uphill alongside the Cornet Creek below.

Cornet_Falls_017_07232020 - Context of an eroded part of the Cornet Falls Trail with dropoff exposure and a very narrow slope that the trail clung to
Context of an eroded part of the Cornet Falls Trail with dropoff exposure and a very narrow slope that the trail clung to

There were a few more steep and somewhat eroded uphill climbs as well as what appeared to be another little rockslide section.

Nevertheless, these hazards seemed to be pretty tame though I’m sure the dropoff exposure and narrowness of the trail might intimidate the inexperienced hiker.

The narrow trail ultimately approached the Cornet Falls after about 15-20 minutes, where the falls never really presented itself until the very end.

Cornet Falls pretty much sat at what appeared to be the head of this mini-canyon carved out by Cornet Creek as it was pretty much surrounded by cliffs on three sides.

Cornet_Falls_041_07232020 - Cornet Falls in mid-Summer 2020 flow as seen from the fringes of its plunge pool
Cornet Falls in mid-Summer 2020 flow as seen from the fringes of its plunge pool

The terrain around the base of the falls was also steep and slippery, but I managed to scramble around to the backside of the waterfall for that unusual perspective that seemed unique among Telluride’s waterfalls.

Anyways, after having my fill of the Cornet Creek Falls, I went back down the way I came.

The hike back felt a lot easier since it was mostly downhill, especially since Telluride in general was at high altitude at nearly 9,000ft.

Authorities

Cornet Creek Falls resides in the town of Telluride in San Miguel County, Colorado. It is administered by the town of Telluride. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Cornet_Falls_001_07232020 - When I made my July 2020 visit to Cornet Falls, I actually didn't bother with parking and walked directly up North Aspen Street from the Victorian Inn. This photo and the next several are from this visit
Cornet_Falls_008_07232020 - The Cornet Falls Trail beyond the Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail Bridge over Cornet Creek
Cornet_Falls_009_07232020 - Approaching a part of the Cornet Falls Trail that I thought might have been pretty eroded
Cornet_Falls_014_07232020 - An intermediate cascade on Cornet Creek beyond the improved part of the trail with the wooden planks
Cornet_Falls_016_07232020 - Ascending a worn and eroded part of the Cornet Falls Trail that still wasn't improved upon since the last time I came here three years prior to this visit
Cornet_Falls_018_07232020 - The Cornet Falls Trail approaching a ledge as it continued to follow along Cornet Creek
Cornet_Falls_019_07232020 - Context of the Cornet Falls Trail as it continued to hug this narrow ledge with dropoff exposure towards Cornet Creek
Cornet_Falls_021_07232020 - Finally starting to see Cornet Falls as I approached the end of the canyon
Cornet_Falls_022_07232020 - Cornet Falls with someone standing behind it
Cornet_Falls_030_07232020 - Another look at Cornet Falls with someone standing behind its plunge
Cornet_Falls_031_07232020 - Looking up at Cornet Falls from closer to its base during my July 2020 visit
Cornet_Falls_037_07232020 - Long exposed look at Cornet Falls from the fringes of its plunge pool
Cornet_Falls_041_07232020 - Another long-exposed look at Cornet Falls from the fringes of its plunge pool
Cornet_Falls_045_07232020 - Looking up from the backside of Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_049_07232020 - Context of someone scrambling up to the ledge that allowed us to go behind the plunge of Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_052_07232020 - Profile look up at the full plunge of Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_053_07232020 - Context of the full drop and red cliffs behind Cornet Falls with some boulders piled up at its base
Cornet_Falls_054_07232020 - Last look back at Cornet Falls before heading back down into Telluride
Cornet_Falls_056_07232020 - Contextual look at the narrow trail on the return hike from Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_058_07232020 - Going back through the rockslide-prone section of the short Cornet Falls hike
Cornet_Falls_059_07232020 - Continuing to go downhill along the partially-eroded but improved trail on my return hike in July 2020 from Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_061_07232020 - Passing back through the unpaved part of North Aspen Drive flanked by some homes near the trailhead for Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_062_07232020 - Hiking back downhill along North Aspen Street in Telluride as I made my way back to The Victorian Inn to end my late July 2020 visit
Cornet_Falls_002_04162017 - Looking back at North Aspen Street from where I found street parking to do the Cornet Falls hike during my first visit back in April 2017. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery were taken from that first visit
Cornet_Falls_005_04162017 - This was the trailhead signage at the end of the North Aspen Street pavement, where I then began the hike to Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_008_04162017 - Looking upstream from the bridge where it was clear that there was a trail just to the right of Cornet Creek
Cornet_Falls_013_04162017 - This was the scary part of the April 2017 hike where the trail to Cornet Falls was badly eroded and dropped off towards some intermediate cascades on Cornet Creek.  Even the wooden planks appeared like they had suffered from trail erosion as well
Cornet_Falls_015_04162017 - Beyond the badly eroded part of the Cornet Falls Trail, I had to negotiate what appeared to be a rockslide area with still some chunks of snow
Cornet_Falls_055_04162017 - Beyond the scary eroded part of my short hike, I then encountered this steeper uphill section of the Cornet Falls Trail, which actually had some dirty snow
Cornet_Falls_016_04162017 - Continuing further, the trail to Cornet Falls climbed and narrowed some more as it hugged ledges that were sloped towards Cornet Creek, which was especially tricky since there was still snow and ice around during this April 2017 visit
Cornet_Falls_054_04162017 - The uphill trail to Cornet Falls had some tricky spots like this muddy and icy section where the red dirt had concealed some of the dirty snow
Cornet_Falls_020_04162017 - Another look at the narrow and downsloping ledge that the Cornet Falls Trail followed along with Cornet Creek down below
Cornet_Falls_021_04162017 - Finally approaching Cornet Falls with some dirty snow patches on the narrow trail making the footing a little tricky
Cornet_Falls_032_04162017 - Finally making it up to the Cornet Creek Falls on that April 2017 visit.  Here's a look up towards the brink of falls as the canyon was boxing in around it
Cornet_Falls_042_04162017 - As I scrambled closer to the base of Cornet Falls, I noticed this really cool snow cone that had been building up over the Winter and early Spring
Cornet_Falls_043_04162017 - Looking up towards some icicle formations at the top of the snow cone during my April 2017 visit
Cornet_Falls_044_04162017 - Looking downstream at the steep terrain that I had to traverse to get closer to the snow cone at the base of Cornet Falls in April 2017
Cornet_Falls_053_04162017 - As I was headed back to the Cornet Falls trailhead, even though it was pretty much all downhill, I still had to be mindful of the dirty snow and the slippery footing during that April 2017 visit
Cornet_Falls_057_04162017 - Back at the landslide part where I could see up ahead that the sun was about to set on Telluride Valley during the shorter days from my April 2017 visit
Cornet_Falls_061_04162017 - Approaching the scary eroded part of the trail on the return hike from Cornet Falls in April 2017
Cornet_Falls_062_04162017 - Instead of taking the badly eroded path dropping off to Cornet Creek on the way down, I took what appeared to be a more sanctioned path above, but even this was a little on the dicey side as this photo showed
Cornet_Falls_069_04162017 - Making it back to the bridge on the return hike from Cornet Falls in April 2017
Cornet_Falls_072_04162017 - Finally back on North Aspen Street, where just a few more paces down the hill would lead me to the parked car and the end of my little April 2017 adventure to Cornet Creek Falls

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


Cornet Creek Falls was pretty much in the town of Telluride.

Once in town, I would continue along Colorado Ave (the main drag through town) before turning left onto N Aspen St.

N Aspen St was about 0.4 miles east of the last roundabout before the Clark’s Supermarket.

Cornet_Falls_003_04162017 - The 2-hour street parking signs near the trailhead for Cornet Creek Falls along N Aspen Street
The 2-hour street parking signs near the trailhead for Cornet Creek Falls along N Aspen Street

Continuing north (uphill) on N Aspen St, I then drove about as far as its intersection with Dakota Ave.

That was where I managed to find two-hour street parking along N Aspen St.

For context, Telluride was 111 miles (over 2 hours drive) north of Durango, 126 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) southeast of Grand Junction, 330 miles (over 6 hours drive) southwest of Denver, 132 miles (under 3 hours drive) east of Moab, Utah, and 322 miles (about 6 hours drive) northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Deliberate downstream to upstream sweep while also examining the canyon rims around the falls before ending off with a slow bottom up sweep to the top of the falls


Short bottom up then top down sweep of the backside of Cornet Falls as people were approaching


Comprehensive video starting with a sweep from the backside of Cornet Falls before scrambling lower to examine the falls from a couple of other positions


Sweep checking out the base of Cornet Falls and the big snow cone behind it as well as the immediate surroundings


Profile examination of the snow cone behind Cornet Falls

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: telluride, colorado, cornet creek, san miguel county, rocky mountains, waterfall, eroded, snow cone



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About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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