Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park - Day Hikes Near Denver

June 19, 2016 Comments (0) 2-3 Miles, Creek or Brooks, Easy, hikes near estes park, Mile or Less, More than 90 Min, Rocky Mountain National Park, Waterfall Hikes, Waterfalls

Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

chasm falls rocky mountain national park header

Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park bursts through a chasm in Fall River where the rock funnels its waters into a narrow gorge. It’s one of the more accessible waterfalls in RMNP, located about 100 yards off of Old Fall River Road. The only drawback is that parking fills fast. However, there are several parking and hike options that we detail in this trail profile. Explore the full Chasm Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Trail Snapshot: Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Hike Distance: 0.1 mile, 2.8, or 4.8 miles (depending on parking area)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 20 minutes to approx 2.5 hrs Round-Trip
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Starting Elevation: 9065′ at the pulloff
  • Elevation Gain: Negligible (but more, if hiking up Old Fall River Road)
  • Seasons: Spring through Fall, Winter Snowshoeing
  • Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in RMNP but Allowed on certain days on Leash along Old Fall River Road (see details below)
  • Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Chasm Falls RMNP
  • Denver Drive Time: 1 hr 40 min
  • Driving Directions to a roadside pulloff area at Chasm Falls Trailhead: Click for Google Map
  • Driving Directions to EndoValley Parking Area: Click for Google Map
  • Driving Directions to West Alluvial Fan Parking Area: Click for Google Map
  • Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
  • Beauty: Waterfall, mountain views, meadows, river, wildlife: elk, big horn sheep, Abert’s squirrel, deer, moose, bear; wildflowers.
  • Activities: Picnicking, hiking trails, snowshoeing, horseback riding, backcountry camping (with a permit), photography
  • Fee: Park Pass Required


Parking & Trailhead Information for Chasm Falls

Parking is tricky for Chasm Falls. Depending on where you are able to park, the hike will be a 0.1 mile, 2.8 mile, or 4.8 mile round-trip hike. It’s also important to know that Old Fall River Road is closed during the winter months from Nov 30th until the end of March. However, the dirt road gets a lot of traffic and needs a lot of maintenance; so, there may be Spring and Summer closures for repairs. For example, Fall River Road will not open to vehicles in 2016 until early July. We recommend that you visit the Rocky Mountain National Park Road Status page to plan your trip to Chasm Falls and your drive up Old Fall River Road. Below, you’ll find the three different parking options.



Parking Options for Chasm Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park

#1 – Pulloff Near Chasm Falls – 0.1 Mile Jaunt – Driving Directions
#2 – Endovalley Picnic Area Parking – 2.8 Mile Round Trip Hike – Driving Directions
#3 – West Alluvial Fan Parking Area – 4.8 Mile Round Trip Hike – Driving Directions

During the busy summer months, all of these parking areas fill fast. Dogs are typically not allowed in RMNP, but on certain days, they are allowed along Old Fall River Road as long as they are leashed. See the Old Fall River Road status page for days when dogs are allowed. The scenic drive up Old Fall River Road is half the adventure–but not for the faint of heart. It’s a steep dirt road with no guardrails and lots of switchbacks. When the road is open, park visitors can drive it all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center, and take Trail Ridge Road back down into Estes Park, or take Trail Ridge Road over to the west side of the park in Grand Lake, Colorado.

The Hike: Chasm Falls Trail in RMNP

The hike from the pulloff along Old Fall River Road is well-marked with signs. The short trail of approx. 100 yards leads down stone steps and a steep dirt trail. The bottom of the trail opens to a viewing platform. Like the parking areas, the platform can get quite crowded during the busy summer months.

If hiking up Old Fall River Road from either Endovalley or West Alluvial Fall parking areas, be sure to be aware of vehicles as they make their way up and down the road. This this can be a great winter hike or snowshoe trip during the winter. Usually this means starting from the West Alluvial Fan parking area.

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Chasm Falls in RMNP

  • Prepare: Bring water and high-energy food.
  • Winter Road Closure: The road is closed to cars during winter. You may opt to plan on a longer hike during this season – starting from the West Alluvial parking area.
  • Get there early: Parking may be limited at most of the trailheads in RMNP during the summer months. Go early to get a good spot. By early, we mean before 7:30 AM.
  • Trail Map: Trail Map for Chasm Falls in RMNP
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Tim Vo for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Chasm Falls in RMNP.
  • After the Hike: Mountain Home Café


Weather

Estes Park, CO
62°
partly cloudy
61% humidity
wind: 7mph SE
H 65 • L 45
67°
Wed
63°
Thu
69°
Fri



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