Alpine scenery, glacial lakes, and scenic rocky mountains make the San Juan Mountains of Colorado an excellent hiking destination. The area around Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride is also full of waterfalls. One of the most enchanting waterfalls in the Telluride area is the Mystic Falls, also known as the Lake Fork Falls. It is relatively unknown so you won't see crowds of tourists around. The best time to visit Mystic Falls is from May to October.
Mystic Falls can be reached by CO-145 from the Mountain Village. Drive south and turn right onto 63L and then left toward the town of Ames. The road gets steep and rocky, so a 4wd vehicle is recommended. You can park by the power station or continue driving and take a left on a narrow dirt road. It goes to a parking lot with coordinates 37.863109, -107.883358. The trail to the Mystic Falls starts to the left of the parking area and runs parallel to Lake Fork Creek. Cross the creek and walk for about 250 m (800 ft), and you will see the top of the waterfall. You can also go to the bottom of the canyon to look at the falls from a different angle.
San Juan National Forest is full of beautiful waterfalls, many of them unnamed. You can also visit Lean Creek Falls, Piedra Falls, Silver Falls, and Treasure Falls to name a few.
What other waterfalls can be found in San Juan National Forest?
The beautiful San Juan National Forest has numerous waterfalls, some without names. Three of the most popular falls are Piedra Falls, Treasure Falls, and Silver Falls. Piedra Falls drops 80 feet into a box canyon, and Treasure Falls cascades down a steep cliff that's visible from a parking area. Silver Falls is a little more challenging to reach, but it is worth it. Visitors must have good stability and be comfortable hiking to reach the base. Show more
What is the recommended time to visit Mystic Falls?
To enjoy Mystic Falls to the fullest, plan a visit between May and October when the weather is warmer, and the trail is accessible. During the winter months, the roads leading to and around the falls are usually closed due to icy conditions. If you want to take photos of Mystic Falls, the best time to go is early in the morning or late afternoon when there's enough light. Show more
How far is Mystic Falls from Ames?
To reach Mystic Falls, drive to the town of Ames, and take the left turnoff towards the falls. The route is accessible via CO-145 from Mountain Village. The journey takes about 45 minutes, and it's predominantly on unpaved roads. Visitors are encouraged to have a 4wd vehicle as the road gets steep and rocky, making it challenging to navigate in a regular car. The distance between Ames and Mystic Falls is roughly 18 miles. Show more
Is a 4wd vehicle necessary to access Mystic Falls?
The road leading to Mystic Falls gets steep, rocky, and has several drainage ditches, which can make it challenging to navigate, especially in challenging weather conditions. Although visitors can make the trip in a regular car, it's recommended to use a 4wd vehicle for the final stretch. The dirt road used to reach the falls becomes hazardous during wet weather, significantly increasing the risk of slipping or getting stuck. Show more
What are some other activities to participate in around the Mystic Falls area besides hiking?
Apart from hiking, visitors to the Mystic Falls area can enjoy other outdoor activities. Fishing is a popular activity in nearby streams and rivers, and the reservoirs in the San Juan National Forest are perfect for kayaking and boating. There are plenty of scenic drives and camping spots to enjoy in the area. The Uncompahgre National Forest is also a short drive away and provides opportunities for mountain biking and horseback riding. Show more