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Adventure, Alpine, Climb, Travel / July 4, 2013

Telluride’s Via Ferrata

Written by: Matt Minich

Your knuckles are white. There’s 300 feet of air between the your toes and the valley floor, and nothing for your hands and feet but a series of metal rungs drilled into the cliff face. You have every reason to be scared – but you’re safe.

You’re on Telluride’s Via Ferrata – a series of ladders, ledges, and cables that tours the cliffs above the mountain town for more than a mile. The route is as wide as ten feet in places, but much of it is on narrow ledges or iron “ladders.”


A steel cable is bolted along most of the route, providing a safety line for harnessed climbers. Many travelers choose to travel shorter sections of the route, as a full traverse can take as many as six hours (including a one-hour hike back to the parking lot).

Specialized equipment is recommended for Via Ferrata travelers, and is available for rental at San Juan Mountain Guides in nearby Ouray. Generally considered the region’s best mountain outfitter, San Juan Mountain Guides also offers guided tours of the route through the fall.

Getting there: From Telluride, leave town headed east on Colorado Avenue, and follow this for almost two miles to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. In a high-clearance vehicle (most SUVs will work fine), follow the dirt road up two switchbacks to a small dirt parking lot. From here, the route can be reached by an obvious trail in 15 minutes or less. 

In the mean time, check out a video of the action.


about the author

Matt Minich

Matt Minich is Editorial Director for Shoulders of Giants. He has spent more than a decade writing, editing, and curating content about outdoor sports and adventure. As an adventure journalist he has climbed peaks in Patagonia, rappelled waterfalls in Colorado, B.A.S.E. jumped in Moab, and sampled fermented horse milk in Kyrgyzstan.

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