Owl Gulch: Another New Telluride Trail

Owl gulch hike view

By D. Dion

Telluride residents love the new Owl Gulch cutoff between the Jud Wiebe Trail and Tomboy Road, but they’re not the only locals who have been frequenting the new trail this summer. Bears have also been making their mark on the hiking route.

The young aspen trees all along the highest switchbacks of the trail are riddled with claw marks. Apparently the bruins woke up hungry after their winter nap and have been digging into the trees’ flesh, which is just beneath their bark. The inside of the tree bark has nutritional value not just for bears, but also for people, which is a good bit of information to have should you find yourself starving out in the woods. Of course, the average hiker doesn’t have nails or an appendage anything like a bear does, so you might also want to remember your Swiss army knife if you plan on getting lost and not bringing enough food.

Owl gulch bear claw marks

Owl Gulch is another new hike that will be featured in the upcoming edition of Telluride Hiking Guide by Susan Kees. The hike has also been known by locals as the “Wild Wiebe” and other names. The trail is about three miles long, like the Wiebe, and also has a similar elevation gain (1,300 feet versus the Wiebe’s 1,200). It’s a fairly steep connector between the Jud Wiebe and Tomboy Road; you can catch the loop going west to east, by taking the singletrack trail to the right off the sixth switchback above the water catchment facility on the Wiebe’s east end. It’s a little harder to find the trail going east to west, but once you’ve done the loop you will have no trouble navigating it either way. It’s a nice alternative to hiking Jud Wiebe or Bear Creek because it’s still a great workout that you can do in less than two hours, but it’s a lot less crowded; which is probably why the bears also like it so much.

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