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: 2017-04-16

Waterfall Latitude: 37.94308
Waterfall Longitude: -107.81061

Cornet Falls (also called Cornet Creek Falls) was perhaps the waterfall that stole the show when it came to waterfalling the Telluride area.

Unlike the nearby Bridal Veil Falls, this 80ft waterfall was not locked up in ice and snow so it performed quite nicely during our April 2017 visit.

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

As you can see in the photo above, the falls also featured red rock cliff surroundings to contrast the white of the water.

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

Accessing Cornet Creek Falls

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.

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.

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

But as you’ll see shortly, perhaps the trail conditions had changed for the worse since the time the receptionist last did it.

In hindsight, I was definitely glad Tahia nor Julie joined me on what turned out to be a trickier hike than I had anticipated.

Overall, the brief hike to Cornet Falls was about 0.3 miles in each direction (0.6 miles round trip).

However, there were some very real dangers of dropoff exposure and some pretty bad trail erosion during my hike so I bumped up the difficulty score.

Cornet_Falls_062_04162017 - Dealing with trail erosion and dropoff exposure on the short hike to Cornet Falls (or Cornet Creek Falls) during my April 2017 visit
Dealing with trail erosion and dropoff exposure on the short hike to Cornet Falls (or Cornet Creek Falls) during my April 2017 visit

It took me about 45 minutes to do this hike solo, but it likely would have taken longer had I brought the wife and daughter along.

Cornet Creek Falls Trail Description

From the nearest street parking (see directions below), I followed the street uphill past some homes to its end as the surface bacame dirt.

I also passed 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.

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

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 pretty badly eroded section alongside what appeared to be intermediate cascades well downstream of the main falls.

The trail actually was supposed to continue further uphill to the right slightly away from the creek.

That said, I noticed footprints cutting straight for some wooden planks that were set up to try to slow down the trail erosion.

Cornet_Falls_011_04162017 - Looking upstream along Cornet Creek at the spot where the trail was pretty badly eroded during my April 2017 visit
Looking upstream along Cornet Creek at the spot where the trail was pretty badly eroded during my April 2017 visit

So I made the precarious scramble alongside the creek.

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.

This was definitely a section of the hike where I had my doubts about whether this was a safe trail or not.

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

Cornet_Falls_015_04162017 - Beyond the really badly eroded part of the trail, there was still some more rough scrambling to deal with to continue to Cornet Creek Falls
Beyond the really badly eroded part of the trail, there was still some more rough scrambling to deal with to continue to Cornet Creek Falls

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

Nevertheless, it seemed to me that the worst part was over back at the first eroded section I encountered.

Aside from some dirty snow sections and residual muddiness on the upper reaches of the trail, the narrow trail continued hugging ledges before finally approaching the Cornet Falls after about 15-20 minutes.

The 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_021_04162017 - Dealing with a little dirty snow in the final stretch to the Cornet Creek Falls
Dealing with a little dirty snow in the final stretch to the Cornet Creek Falls

The terrain around the base of the falls was also steep and slippery, but it did appear possible to scramble around the backside of the waterfall (if not for the snow cone that was there during my April 2017 visit).

That said, I didn’t have to go that far just to get close enough to the snow cone to notice some interesting icicle formations on it.

I don’t know much longer this snow cone would typically last before it would completely melt away.

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

Cornet_Falls_043_04162017 - Profile view of Cornet Creek Falls where I noticed an interesting snow cone right besides its base during my April 2017 visit
Profile view of Cornet Creek Falls where I noticed an interesting snow cone right besides its base during my April 2017 visit

However, I did take a slightly longer way back at the badly eroded section, which seemed to be more sanctioned than the way I took in, but it was still scary.

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_002_04162017 - Looking back at North Aspen Street from where I found street parking to do the Cornet Falls hike
Cornet_Falls_005_04162017 - There was 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 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_055_04162017 - Beyond the scary eroded part of my short hike, I then encountered this steeper uphill section of the Cornet Falls Trail
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
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_032_04162017 - Finally making it up to the Cornet Creek Falls.  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_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
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
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
Cornet_Falls_061_04162017 - Approaching the scary eroded part of the trail on the return hike from Cornet Falls
Cornet_Falls_069_04162017 - Making it back to the bridge on the return hike from Cornet Falls
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 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.

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

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



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Johnny Cheng

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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