Our nearly 14-mile out-and-back trip to beautiful Bridal Veil Falls was our longest ride yet this summer. Once again, we parked at the Gem Lake trailhead. That was the same trailhead for our Black Canyon/Gem Lake ride which I wrote about previously. Check that blog for info on park entrance and parking.
Other than the distance, this is a fairly easy ride. The elevation gain is about 1900 feet, so maybe I should ask the horses if this is an easy ride… But there aren’t any huge surprises or giant boulders to climb up as there are going to Gem Lake.
There are a couple of gates to go through on this ride. They can be done mounted, but one of them is not set up to accomplish that easily. The views are spectacular, especially on the Black Canyon part of the trail.
The destination falls are well worth the trip! There is a hitching post about a quarter-mile from the falls. Cowboy boots make lousy hiking shoes, but we didn’t want to miss anything. (Once, I nearly had a disastrous fall while hiking to a destination lake in my cowboy boots…) There is a scramble at the end, as described below. It really is challenging in cowboy boots, so consider throwing your tennis shoes in your saddle bags!
Here is what rockymountainhikingtrails.com has to say about Bridal Veil Falls:
At just over 2.9 miles, just past the horse hitching post, you might think that the trail ends as it heads toward a very small waterfall on your left. However, you should continue towards the right, which heads steeply up the hill to reach the main attraction. This next section of trail climbs over several series of rock steps.
At just over 3 miles you’ll pass a water slide on your left. You should continue to follow the trail upward. This last section of trail climbs fairly steeply, gaining more than 125 feet over the course of the last tenth-of-a-mile.
Just as the above description indicates, we didn’t initally realize we hadn’t reached the real deal. With the horses secure at the hitching post, we ate our lunch at the “little falls”. However, hikers going past us on the trail was our first clue… We trudged up the mountain in our boots.
The water falls about 20 feet. It is best to try and hike or ride this trail in the spring, when the snow is melting and the water is high. At most, we encountered 6-8 people on this trail… not heavily trafficked at all.
The meadows on the way to the falls were filled with beautiful wildflowers. The weather was perfect… not too hot and no rain.
You can also reach the falls by going counterclockwise on the Cow Creek trail that I described a couple of weeks ago. That would be a little over 12 miles out-and-back. However, I think you would encounter more traffic going that way.
Next week join us as we do the Cub Lake Loop. This is an easy and beautiful ride with personal importance to me. Sadly, there was more fire damage on this trail than we expected. In fact, if you read AllTrails reviews about Cub Lake, many reviewers discuss how much damage the area experienced, and how the views are dramatically altered. As usual, many photos will be included!
Also, on July 15th we will begin advance sales of our awesome new tags. Pre-orders will receive 20% off the regular price of any number of new tags. Hurricane season has started early. Fire season is in full swing. Equestrians are hitting the trails in record numbers after a long, boring year stuck at home. Are you ready for anything?