The hike to Rainbow Falls is a short easy walk to the waterfall and a historic bridge. The waterfalls is located in Manitou Springs, just west Colorado Springs. The waterfall and bridge had been neglected for decades, but the area is now being restored by local government and local citizens. Explore the full Rainbow Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this waterfall hike near Colorado Springs.

Trail Snapshot: Rainbow Falls in Colorado Springs

Parking & Trailhead Information for Rainbow Falls

The Rainbow Falls trailhead is located approximately 6 miles from interstate 25, just west of the city of Colorado Springs. From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take the exit for 24/Cimarron. Heading west on 24/Cimarron for 5.5 miles. Turn left onto Serpentine Drive (across from the entrance to Cave of the Winds). The Rainbow Falls Recreation area trailhead is located 0.3 mile up Serpentine Drive, on the right side of a switchback. The trail is found far end of the parking area by the gate.

The Hike: Rainbow Falls Trail in Colorado Springs

It’s just a short 1/10th of a mile hike (one-way) to the waterfall. This easy trail takes hikers along the orange and golden rock faces that surround fountain creek, underneath the bridge to the base of the falls. Constructed in 1934, the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Locals remember when this area before it became clogged with erosion, spoiled by graffiti, and littered with trash. The floods of 2013 brought renewed attention to this hidden area, and a concerned group of citizens put a plan together and pursued grant funding to restore and expand what is now named the Rainbow Falls Recreation Area. In 2016, the state began repair on Rainbow Falls Bridge. After the bridge repair, work on restoring the trail will begin in earnest. The grafitti will be removed, and efforts will be set in place to prevent vandalism of this natural area. Future projects are slated over the next few years, including, the stabilization of the surrounding slopes, construction of picnic overlooks, restoration of habitat and fishing, and connectors to other trails in the Pikes Peak region.

It’s important to note that swimming is prohibited and the parking area and Rainbow Falls Recreation area do not allow overnight vehicles or camping. Dogs are allowed on leash, but due to the present state of fountain creek, it is advisable that both pets and their owners refrain from wading into the water; glass and other sharp objects may be littering the creek bed and could cause injury.

Significant progress on the restoration of the Rainbow Falls Recreation area should be completed by the Summer of 2017. More more details, see the Rainbow Falls Recreation Area Master Plan.

waterfall in canyon with bridge in foreground fish creek falls waterfall in colorado

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Rainbow Falls in Colorado Springs


Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions

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