This scenic hike winding up pretty Bridal Veil Basin past the historic Lewis Mill to Lewis Lake, nestled in a stark glacial basin at 12,700-ft. Along the way pass remnants of the area’s rich mining history, numerous waterfalls and hillsides filled with spectacular wildflowers displays.
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- Distance: 8.0 miles (round trip) to Lewis Mine
8.8 miles (round trip) to Lewis Lake
- Elevation: 10,400-ft. at Trailhead
12,448-ft. at Lewis Mine
12,700-ft. at Lewis Lake
- Elevation Gain: 2,048-ft. to Lewis Mine
2,300-ft. to Lewis Lake
- Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
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Telluride / Southwest Colorado
Why Hike Lewis Lake and Mine
Pretty Bridal Veil Basin begins atop the headwall at the eastern end of the Telluride Valley. A seldom used mining road traverses the length of this hanging valley, leading to scenic glacial lake basins nestled in alpine meadows. Along the way the route passes remnants of the area’s rich mining history, numerous waterfalls on Bridal Veil Creek and hillsides filled with spectacular wildflowers displays.
One of the best hikes in the area leads past the largely intact 5-story historic Lewis Mill (12,448-ft.) to Lewis Lake (12,700-ft.), set amid a magnificent alpine amphitheater in the upper basin. Beyond the lake a trail climbs to an unnamed pass with views of the Columbine Lake basin near Silverton and a panorama of peaks around the Telluride area.
Along the way to Lewis Lake you will pass a turnoff for the Blue Lake trail, a great destination for hikers looking for a shorter day. The trail to Blue Lake, nestled in a stark glacial cirque scattered with mining debris, leads past the remains of an old tram, mining cabins and a bunkhouse. (See the Blue Lake hiking description for more information.)
Whatever your destination getting to the beginning of Bridal Veil basin is its own adventure. The 4WD road to the trailhead switchbacks up the headwall of Telluride’s box canyon, providing terrific view of the town, Bridal Veil Falls and the historic power plant at the top of the falls.
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