Telluride Via Ferrata

For a breathtaking, unique adventure, look no further than the Telluride Via Ferrata. This route precariously traverses rock faces up to 600 feet above the forest below. It is exhilaratingly exposed in sections that would be impassable without the steel cables and scattered steel holds along the way. The Telluride Via Ferrata provides unmatched views of Bridal Veil Falls (the highest free falling waterfall in Colorado), the town of Telluride far below, and the surrounding peaks of the San Juan mountains.

We do not provide transportation on our OPEN Telluride Via Ferrata trips, and we ask that those with minors under 16 book a private trip. 

OPEN Via Ferrata Trips require at least two people to be signed up by the day before departure for the trip to run.

As we enter our fall season, keep in mind that trips scheduled in October and November will start later to avoid the freezing morning temps. In addition, the later in the year your trip is scheduled, the more likely we are to face snow cancellations.

Book Your Private Telluride Via Ferrata Book Your Open Telluride Via Ferrata

What is the Telluride Via Ferrata?

Think of it as a hike on a trail that runs along a sheer cliff with steel rungs to hold onto when the going gets steep. In its essence, it is a high consequence alpine traverse. This guided service of the Telluride Via Ferrata is a perfect adventure for visitors of a wide range of abilities, albeit not particularly for those who have a fear of heights. Five dollars from every guest’s trip will be donated to the Telluride Mountain Club to support their ongoing maintenance of the route as part of our participation in the Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund.

Why is it called a “Via Ferrata?”

“Via ferrata” is Italian for “iron way.”  The original via ferratas were developed during WWI on the Italian and Austrian border to move troops through exposed, high-mountain terrain. Our Telluride Via Ferrata allows access to amazing alpine vistas and stands as a tribute to its visionary, the late Chuck Kroger, a local climbing legend. For another via ferrata adventure in the San Juans, check out the new Ouray Via Ferrata. Mountain Trip is the only Telluride-based company permitted to guide both routes.

Book a Trip!

Mountain Trip provides all technical equipment necessary to traverse the route, including helmets, harnesses, and specialized, load-limiting via ferrata lanyards. Bring the whole family for a five-star day trip, or add to the challenge by taking a direct, multi-pitch rock climb right up to the start of the Via Ferrata.  This option adds some real technical climbing for those looking for a bit more of a challenge.  Whichever variation you choose, our experienced and highly trained guides will ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience.  Please inquire about the option to make the day a bit more challenging and technical with a multi-pitch climb to reach the route.
Register for Telluride Via Ferrata


Via Ferrata Sustainability Fund

The Route

The Telluride Via Ferrata is a high consequence alpine traverse that provides a unique and spectacular way to experience the high country of southwest Colorado.  The route is not particularly strenuous and does not require climbing skills; however, it is a trail that follows a narrow ledge system on an immense cliff, so it does deserve a healthy dose of respect. This route has increased in popularity a lot in recent years and as part of our effort to reduce our impact on it, we are only offering half day, one-way trips, starting at the east end and traversing to the west.



The Telluride Via Ferrata generally takes 4-5+ hours and we will plan to do the entire route from east to west, descending off the route on a hiking trail into the Marshall Creek drainage.  The Telluride Via Ferrata is just over two miles long and roughly 30% of the route is protected with stainless steel cables, into which we clip purpose built, force-reducing lanyards for security. The remaining 70% is a good, single track trail, along which participants should expect to hike without necessarily being secured to the cliff. Guides have a variety of ways to provide additional security to anyone wishing for or needing it.


Does the route require previous climbing experience?

Not at all. The Telluride Via Ferrata was built to allow people with no technical climbing experience access to big, high mountain terrain, even while traversing across sheer cliffs. It is a trail, not a climbing route, although it does have a level of exposure more often associated with rather extreme rock climbing. Unless someone has a debilitating fear of heights, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness (if you can hike for 3-4 miles) should have a great time on the route, with support, coaching and modeling from a trained guide.

How long will the Via Ferrata take and how far is it?

The route in its entirety, traversed east to west, will take at least four to five hours round trip from the town of Telluride. We traverse the route from east to west and hike out on a short section of trail back to Bridal Veil road. The total distance of the route is just over two miles. The hike up the fabulous and new Bridal Veil Trail to access the start of the route is one mile in length and gains 859 feet of elevation. We follow the Bridal Veil Road for just under another half a mile to the trailhead of the route.

What should I bring and wear?

You should plan to wear comfortable clothing similar to what you would wear for a half-day hike: athletic shorts or pants, a breathable shirt with an extra layer if the morning is chilly. Pack a bottle of water, a snack, your camera, and sunglasses. Sunscreen is best applied before you head up, so your hands
aren’t greasy from lotion. 😉

Is the route appropriate for my young children?

The answer to that question really depends on the child, as we’ve had countless youngsters impress us on the route. Kids (or adults) less than five feet in height will have difficulty making some of the reaches between rungs, but our guides can help mitigate that difficulty. We do require that families or groups with young children book a private trip, as that will enable the guide to give kiddos more attention than if they were part of an Open, mixed group. While young children may have challenges with some of the reaches, as long as they are able to pay attention, walk carefully and take coaching from the guide, they’ll probably have a great time.

What is the difference between open and private trips?

On a private trip, you will be just with your group and your guide; the meeting time and pick-up are up to you. You will have ultimate control over the composition of your group, which could give you more control over the outcome of the day. With an open trip, you will be joined by other climbers at no more than a 4:1 climber to guide ratio. While we will do our best to enable every participant the opportunity to complete the entire route, under certain circumstances, a team could have to turn back or be significantly delayed if one member of a group cannot negotiate the route.

How can I register other members of my group? The online sign-up only takes information for one person.

The way our online registration is organized, we only require information for the “trip leader,” or the person registering on behalf of the rest of the party. If there is anything in particular that you think your guide should know in advance about particular members of your party (ie: medical conditions, prior injuries, fear of heights, apprehension, younger than age 14, etc.), please list that in the notes section or let us know in the office. 

Is transportation included? Where can I park?

** June 2021 – Covid-19 update: Due to local health restrictions, we are able to provide transportation for Private Trips only.

For summer 2021, we ask that you please meet your guide at the Bridal Veil Falls trailhead, sometimes referred to as the Valley View Parking area, where you can park for free. Your guide will work with you on a plan for the day of your trip.

Is gratuity included?

Guide gratuity is not included. Typically, if you had a good experience, a demonstration of your appreciation (~10-20 percent of trip cost) is greatly appreciated by your guides. Of course we pay them a livable wage, but guiding is typically a tip-augmented profession, like many service industry jobs. 

Do you offer a military discount?

You bet! We offer a ten percent discount for active-duty military on all of our Via Ferrata trips, along with our gratitude for your service. 

What happens if the weather is bad?

We are in the risk management business, so we carefully assess weather each day to decide if it could create a level of increased risk that is outside of our risk tolerance level.  If we cancel the trip due to weather, we will refund you in full. In some circumstances, the weather could be less than desirable but does not affect or increase risk. In such cases, we would still launch a trip that day.

Do you rent via ferrata equipment?

Due to liability exposure, we do not rent any technical climbing equipment, including via ferrata gear. If you would prefer to traverse the route unguided, you can purchase the necessary equipment at the local gear shop, Jagged Edge.  Via ferrata lanyards cost about as much as a guided trip across the route. If you are joining us on a trip and would like to purchase your own equipment, we have some from Jagged Edge that we can arrange for you to purchase at a discount.


The Telluride Via Ferrata is an amazing adventure, but it should be taken seriously, as it is a true alpine endeavor.  The following equipment is required to join us on this fabulous guided service, but please note that Mountain Trip will provide all technical equipment, including all helmets, harnesses, etc.

Many of the items on the list need to fit you well in order for you to fully enjoy your experience on the trail. Please plan ahead with clothing and footwear purchased for your hike so you can be certain that your gear fits you well. Hanging from an iron rung is not the place to discover that your old raincoat is no longer waterproof or that your boots give you blisters.

Please follow this list closely and do not hesitate to call us for clarifications or to solicit an opinion about any gear you are considering. We want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for your trip.

Print Equipment


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Trekking Shoes or Boots for ColoradoComfortable, well broken in trekking shoes or lightweight boots will work for approaching climbs, the Telluride Via Ferrata or climbing 14ers. Good traction is important for all of the above. Contact our office for more detailed advice!

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Rain Jacket for ColoradoA rain shell can be your most important layer as we often experience afternoon showers during the summer months in Colorado. It should be packable and in good working order meaning that, in addition to being waterproof, it still has a functional water repellent finish and beads water on the surface of the fabric.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
SunglassesSunglasses are essential in the mountains. Choose a pair that are comfortable and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Via Ferrata GlovesA thin pair of gloves will help keep your hands warm as the steel rungs and cables can be cold in the morning. Good dexterity is important for these gloves. We are happy to provide you with gloves if you do not have any with you.

Packs and Duffels

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Small Pack Colorado Day HikesDay hikes and the Via Ferrata require a small backpack or Camelback style hydration pack. It need only be large enough for a camera, water and light additional clothing layers for the day.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
CameraSmall, light weight point and shoot cameras are most popular among climbers. Be sure to bring extra memory and batteries!
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
Water BottlesThe ability to carry 2 liters of water will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
SunscreenThe sun can be intense in Colorado, so please apply high SPF sunscreen prior to your trip and bring a small tube along to reapply during the day.

Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for guests who must cancel trips. Guests must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning trips and contracting guides for specific dates, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in organizing our excursions. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all guests.

Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available for all excursions. U.S. and Canadian residents can purchase travel insurance for their trip via Travel Guard HERE. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below.

We require 100% payment at the time of booking and at least 72 hours notice for cancellations and rescheduling of activities.

• We are happy to work with you to reschedule to a new date or if you need to cancel entirely we will provide a full refund with a minimum of 72 hours notice.  If you cancel inside of 72 hours ahead of your trip departure, or do not show up, you will not be refunded, and will have to reschedule by paying full price.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.  No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 3 days prior to the scheduled date of your trip.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel a trip prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from trip participants shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.

Weather Cancellations

Mountain weather is extremely variable and hard to read. As skilled mountaineers, our guides have extensive experience reading these unusual weather patterns. Because of this, we ask that you allow your guide to make any and all weather-related decisions for your trip on the morning it is scheduled. 

We do not cancel trips due to rain. Rather, we read the weather for the possible risks it could cause, such as rock fall or lightning, which makes it all the more important that you defer to your guide in these situations.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Trip Fee:

• All necessary protective equipment for the trip (harness, helmet, via ferrata lanyards, etc)

• Guidance of our highly trained and experienced Mountain Trip guides

• Assistance arranging for post-trip activities in the area

Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Travel to and from SW Colorado

• Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list (please, just ask us if you need anything!)

• Accommodation in Colorado

Transportation to the route (Although we can provide this for Private Trips)

• Travel and/or rescue insurance (The COSAR card is an inexpensive way to reimburse local rescue groups for costs incurred during a rescue in Colorado – for more information, click HERE)

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the area due to illness or other problems

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip

• Customary gratuities for guides

• Costs as a result of force majeure

General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Team Members

When registering for an outing with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is Incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us on a via ferrata experience in the mountains. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

Climbing and trekking can be very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to how you might best arrange your travel to SW Colorado. If flying, we suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Responsibilities of Climbers

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist on the excursion and choosing an excursion that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your excursion.

While on the trip, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from an excursion.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to cancel a climb due to an illness.

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