Trail Snapshot: Forsythe Canyon Trail
- Hike Distance: 2 Miles+ (RT)
- Denver Drive Time: 1hr 15min
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 2hr+
- Activities: Hiking Trails
- Dogs: Allowed on Leash
- Directions: Click for Google Map (note: people miss trailhead often, see profile and comments below for details)
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Seasons: Late Spring to Fall
- Beauty: Waterfall, Wildflowers, Reservoir, Woodland Canyon
- Town Nearest Hike: Boulder, Colorado
The shade of a wooded canyon, combined with a waterfall, ending at a blue lake, make this hike near Boulder Colorado worthwhile. Though it’s probably 25′ high, the waterfall is not what I’d call spectacular. So, if you are going for this waterfall, I’d recommend going early in the season when the snowmelt is at its peak in May and early June.
The trail winds gently downhill through a canyon, beside a creek, sheltered beneath fir and spruce. In fact, of the hikes we have profiled, this trail may provide more shade than any trail near Denver. You’ll come upon the falls about 1 mile into the hike and the reservoir is just 200 yards further down the trail. In fact, reaching the clear blue water was the highlight for our kids.
We skipped rocks and hiked along the sandy and rock rim so that we could explore more of the lake. With the water levels being so low, and a large tree blocking the shot, I couldn’t get a good photo of the falls.
Tips & Resources for Hiking Forsythe Canyon:
- TIP: If you are coming from Denver, it’s quite a drive. The payoff is that the parking lot was almost empty on memorial day weekend. We recommend making a day of it and spending some time in Boulder before or after the hike.
- TIP: The Reservoir is stocked with Kokanee Salmon, and this stretch of it is where they supposedly like to hang out. So, bring your fishing gear. Here is a link to a Dept. of Wildlife PDF with information on the stock on the lake and some links to the fishing regulations for Gross Reservoir.
- TIP: Swimming and Wading are Prohibited
- TIP: The Google Map & Directions: The trailhead parking lot is new, and really nice (with a restroom), and the directions above are accurate. However, I get a lot of email from folks who plug this map into their GPS and somehow miss it and try to drive down FR359. Remember, GPS is only accurate up to a point. Once you turn off of Magnolia and onto 68, drive for 2 miles then turn right into the parking lot just before FR359. Look for a gravel parking lot with a restroom and a wooden fence surrounding the perimeter. You can zoom in on the Google Map to get a feel for what it looks like. Google updated the satellite photos recently, so the parking lot now shows. You can check here for seasonal road closures of FR359. Or you can all 303-541-2500 (Boulder Ranger District) to check the road status before heading out on your adventure
- TIP: Be sure to take the recommended route using Magnolia road. We’ve had a few emails from folks trying to reach the Forsythe Canyon Trailhead from Lakeshore Road. My understanding is that it’s not possible, or at least highly problematic.
- After the Hike: After the Hike: Ozo Coffee
- Order Map: Boulder Area Trail Map
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions