Searching for Mystic Falls

A number of years ago, I invited a friend on a journey down to the Telluride region of Colorado in hopes of finding a waterfall called Mystic Falls. I had seen the falls in very few photos at that time and it looked like an amazing waterfalls, so convincing my friend wasn’t a difficult task. We looked at all of the topo maps and Google satellite images we could find and had a rough idea of where the waterfall would be located. So we made plans for finding it a few days later, I figured we’d need around 3 hours of hiking time to reach the falls so we set off from Gunnison pretty early.

I had told my friend that the best chance for reaching the falls would be above Trout Lake toward a small alpine lake called Hope Lake, it was nearly at 12,000ft. and there was a small canyon in between the two lakes where there could be a waterfall. While my friend Steve was in great shape, I’m not as much and the long hike to Hope Lake really took it out of me. By the time we arrived at the lake, there was nary a small canyon nor any waterfalls along the way. The storm clouds overhead also presented us with a diminished sense of hope for finding our destination. We made our way back down the trail to my truck and departed the Trout Lake area for the day, realizing that we were famished and food was a priority.

Along the way back to Telluride, we stopped to venture down a side road and I thought we could take one more crack at finding that elusive waterfall but it was not to be. We walked back up to the truck and while waiting for some passing cars, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a waterfall. Could this be Mystic Falls? We looked for what would be downstream of the waterfall and shortly after a 1/4 mile scramble across loose rocks and a powerful creek, we had arrived at Mystic Falls. It was just like the photos that I had researched and I spent the next hour photographing this beautiful waterfall while anticipating that it would rain at any second. The rain forced us back down to the truck and we finally made our way to Telluride to get food at the Brown Lab. A calzone and a beer, the perfect way to end a day of adventuring in the San Juan mountains of Colorado.