jewel lake in rocky mountain national park lake in foreground with morning light breaking onto mountain in middle ground and tall grey craggy mountain in background

Lake Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is riddled with lakes. Some, like Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, are easily accessible from the trailhead. Other, such as Solitude Lake and Sky Pond, require a demanding hike on sometimes steep trails. Each of the trail profiles for these 20+ lake hikes, provides important information for planning an adventure into Rocky Mountain National Park: trail distance and difficulty, maps, driving directions, trail descriptions and tips. Take your time and find the perfect lake hike destination for your adventure in RMNP.

bear lake with mountains of glacier gorge in background along bear lake hike in rocky mountain national park

Bear Lake Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

From Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (just 2 hours from Denver), you can launch out on dozens of hiking adventures, trails that range from less than a mile to full day treks back into Glacier Gorge or Andrews Creek. If you are visiting Colorado and looking for a high variety of trails or just a good place to
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Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bierstadt Lake is a short destination hike in Rocky Mountain National Park to a sub-alpine lake with great panoramic views. At Bierstadt Lake, the trail forms a 1 mile loop along its shores, making it a perfect leisurely hike with friends. Bierstadt lake can be accessed from several different trailheads with differing terrain and demand. Explore the full Bierstadt Lake
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Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Black Lake is among the most spectacular lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey to Black Lake is a strenuous, 10 mile, round-trip hike with significant elevation gain--but both the destination of Black Lake and the several waterfalls along the way make it more than worth the effort. Explore the full Black Lake hiking trail profile for trail map,
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Bluebird Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Bluebird Lake is a 6 mile hike to an alpine lake surrounded by craggy peaks in the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park. Add an additional 1/2 mile spur trail to reach great trout fishing at Ouzel Lake. Hikers will enjoy panoramic views of the Wild Basin and the sites and sounds of several cascade waterfalls along the way.
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Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Cub Lake, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is known for its unusual halo of lily pads. The 4.6 mile, roundtrip hike dazzles with its variety - especially the wildflowers. You'll pass through wetlands, glacial formations, and meadows before arriving at the lake. Explore the full Cub Lake hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and all the details you
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Cub Lake Loop in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Cub Lake Loop Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park is a great alternative to the an out-and-back hike up to Cub Lake. Along the way, hikers will pass by Windy Gulch Cascades, travel alongside the Big Thompson River, cross over an area called The Pool, journey through wetlands, and will be surrounded by sights of a glacial-shaped landscape. Explore
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dream lake at sunrise in rocky mountain national park with mountain face of hallett peak in background

Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Dream Lake is one of the popular destination hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park--and for good reason. In the early morning hours, Dream Lake is a vision straight out of a fairy tale. This 2.2-mile, out-and-back hike begins at the Bear Lake trailhead, and passes Nymph Lake along the way. Explore the full Dream Lake hike profile
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trail leading through grey crags on emerald lake hike in rocky mountain national park

Emerald Lake Hike Rocky Mountain National Park

Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are visiting RMNP, and have limited time to visit, the trail to Emerald Lake is an excellent option. You'll pass both Dream Lake and Nymph lake before you end your hike at Emerald Lake and it's stunning views of Hallet Peak. For more information
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Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

A hike up to Fern Lake begins at the Fern Lake Trailhead on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the Fern Lake Trail, hikers pass through Arch Rocks, over a bridge at The Pool, and by three cascade waterfalls. Near the, you'll gain spectacular views of The Gable, Knobtop Mountain, Notchtop Mountain, and Little Matterhorn from its
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Finch Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Finch Lake is a 4.5 mile hike through pines, aspen glades, and wildflower laden meadows to a sub-alpine lake where the forest surrounds its shores. The Finch Lake trail is a great choice for those who prefer solitude as it's one of the lesser traveled trails in the Wild Basin region of RMNP. Explore the full Finch Lake hike profile
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jewel lake in rocky mountain national park lake in foreground with morning light breaking onto mountain in middle ground and tall grey craggy mountain in background

Jewel Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Jewel Lake is a 6.4 mile round-trip hike into Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike in RMNP takes you first past stunning Mills Lake. Less than half a mile beyond Mills you'll discover Jewel Lake under the shadow of the jagged eastern ridge known as Keyboard of the Winds. Explore the full Jewel Lake hiking trail profile
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Lake Haiyaha Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lake Haiyaha, in Rocky Mountain National Park, is tucked away in the recesses of a large valley, and its shoreline is surrounded by stacks of massive granite boulders. This relatively easy, 4.2 mile round-trip hike can be a quieter retreat on the busy east side of RMNP, especially if hikers arrive during the early morning hours. Explore the full Lake
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Lake Helene Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Lake Helene is a popular lake hike beginning at the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. Lake Helene is situated in a bowl beneath Flattop Mountain, Ptarmigan Point, and Notchtop Mountain. The trail weaves through aspen groves and pine forests with scenic mountain views at almost every turn. Explore the full Lake Helene hike profile
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Lawn Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park follows the course of the Roaring River for 6.2 miles to a stunning high mountain lake with great fishing. This demanding hike takes adventurers into the heart of the Mummy Range, a lesser visited region of RMNP. Explore the full Lawn Lake hike profile below for trail map, driving directions,
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Lion Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Lion Lake #1 in Rocky Mountain National Park boasts a dramatic alpine landscape hidden away in the northwestern corner of the Wild Basin. The trail to this high-mountain lake passes several waterfalls and offers access to other lakes and surrounding peaks. Because the Lions lake is more remote, a trip to it may require an overnight stay at one
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reflection of keyboard of the winds in mills lake in rocky mountain national park

Mills Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike up to Mills Lake is a steady, uphill, 5.6 mile trek into the breathtaking Glacier Gorge trail system of Rocky Mountain National Park. You'll be entranced by spectacular views of mountain ridges, rugged peaks, and the color of wildflowers along the trail. Glacier Gorge provides surprises at almost every turn. Explore the full Mills Lake hike profile below
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Nymph Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Nymph Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

In Summer, Nymph Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park blooms with the yellow blossoms of the lily pads that cover its surface. It's a short easy hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead to Nymph lake. Most hikers will want to make the journey beyond Nymph to Dream and Emerald Lakes. Explore the full trail profile below for all the destinations
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Odessa Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Odessa Lake is one destination you shouldn't miss in Rocky Mountain National Park. The alpine scenery is striking as towering mountain peaks seem to rise right out of the Lake. Odessa offers great views of Joe Mills Mountain, The Gable, and Little Matterhorn. This hike described here begins at the Fern Lake Trailhead, but a second route is possible from
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pear lake rocky mountain national park header

Pear Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Pear Lake is a great destination for solitude, fishing, and mountain views. It's a 6.5 mile, demanding hike through some of the best wildflower country in Rocky Mountain National Park. After passing Finch Lake, the trail makes its way to the higher, Pear Lake where Copeland Mountain appears to shoot straight from its shores into the sky. Explore the full
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Sandbeach Lake Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Sandbeach Lake features great fishing and a beach! The lake got its name from its sandy shore that resembles that of a beach--making it one of best camping spots in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's a 4.5 mile moderate hike that climbs Copeland Moraine and crosses two creeks before arriving at this beautiful subalpine lake. With several reservable campsites along
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Shelf Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

This demanding hike in Rocky Mountain National Park takes you off the beaten path to two high-mountain lakes, and grants views of several waterfalls along the way. This trail profile provides helpful details for making the journey to Shelf Lake, Shelf Lake Falls, and Solitude Lake. Because the hike to Shelf Lake requires travel on unmaintained trails, it is best
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jagged rock with green lake of sky pond snow fields and sun behind clouds sky pond hike in rocky mountain national park

Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park

Situated above Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park are two spectacular lakes. The highest of the two is Sky Pond, and the lower is called The Lake of Glass. This demanding hike begins at the Glacier Gorge trailhead and takes you past at least three waterfalls and a beautiful set of cascades. Rewards await those who hike all the
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ouzel falls in rmnp spilling over cliff face near giant spruce trees on waterfall hike in rocky mountain national park

Waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Where can you find waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park? There are over 30 named waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park, and even more unnamed and seasonal waterfalls falls hidden within its rugged landscape. Every year, the high mountain snowfields unleash streams of meltwater, pouring over cliffs and rock faces, spilling into alpine lakes, and coursing through the many creeks that race and wend through the parks verdant valleys. The waterfalls of RMNP are at their peak in the early summer, particularly throughout the month of June, but they are still wonderful destinations throughout the mid-summer and into autumn.

Explore these pages of waterfall hikes to find one (or more) that match the distance and difficulty level you're looking for. The list ranges from short hikes to destinations like Copeland Falls (just 0.3 miles one-way), or to waterfalls like Shelf Lake Falls, concealed in the higher reaches of the park, where the jagged peaks seem to scrape the sky.

Each trail profile will provide details on difficulty, distance, trail maps, driving directions, and tips.

adams falls waterfall on hike in grand lake colorado rocky mountain national park

Adams Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Adams Falls is a short .6 mile round-trip hike near Grand Lake, Colorado. The waterfall borders Rocky Mountain National Park and its trail begins at the same trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. Explore the full Adams Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and all the details you need for this short waterfall Hike in Rocky Mountain
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alberta falls waterfall in granite canyon with cascades in foreground in rocky mountain national park

Alberta Falls Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is full of waterfalls and this hike takes you to one of the most accessible waterfalls in the park. Alberta Falls is one of the most popular, short destination hikes in the park, and for good reason. If you only have time for one short hike on the East Side of RMNP, this is a
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Black Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Black Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Black Lake Falls cascades down the towering granite cliffs above Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. This trail through Glacier Gorge takes hikers past multiple sub-alpine lakes and several waterfalls. It's a demanding, 10 mile, round-trip hike with significant elevation gain in the heart of RMNP. Trail Snapshot: Black Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park Hike Distance 10
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calypso cascades rocky mountain national park header

Calypso Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Calypso Cascades is an easy 3.6 mile hike to one of several waterfall destinations along this section of trail. This waterfall in the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park is gets its name from the purple Calypso Orchids that bloom along the banks of Cony Creek. Explore the full Calypso Cascades hike profile below for trail map, driving directions,
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Chaos Canyon Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Chaos Canyon Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Chaos Canyon Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park is formed as Chaos Creek tumbles through the forest below Lake Haiyaha. This 4.2 mile round trip hike is on the east side of RMNP to one of the lesser visited cascade waterfalls in the park. Explore the full Chaos Canyon Cascades hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and some
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chasm falls rocky mountain national park header

Chasm Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

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
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copeland falls rocky mountain national park header

Copeland Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Copeland Falls is just one of the many waterfalls hikers will encounter in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, you can't miss Copeland Falls as it is the first waterfall along the main trail--just a short hike from the trailhead. Explore the full Copeland Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more
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falcon falls rocky mountain national park header

Falcon Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Falcon Falls is one of two waterfalls that spill from the heights above Thunder Lake in this remote part of the Wild Basin. It's a difficult and demanding 16 mile round-trip hike that requires some land navigation and backcountry travel skills. Explore the full Falcon Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to
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Fan Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fan Falls is tucked away in the high reaches of the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park. This 15.5 mile, difficult trek, leads to a long set of segmented cascades spilling out of the heights and streaming down into Thunder Lake. This garden of water, wildflowers and rock is a perfect escape for those looking for a demanding hike
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Fern Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fern Falls tumbles down through the forest casting a fine mist across the trail. It's a perfect place to stop, cool off, and take in the sights and sounds of the falls before hiking on to Fern Lake. Explore the full Fern Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the details and tips you need
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Grace Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Grace Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to view Grace Falls, high in the rock cliffs and ledges of Odessa Gorge, is one of several waterfalls and scenic waypoints along the Fern Lake Trail. Grace Falls drops nearly a hundred feet from Notchtop Mountain, tumbling over a series of ledges, eventually making its way into Fern Creek. Explore the full Grace Falls hike profile below
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Granite Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Granite Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Granite Falls takes a 5.1 mile journey from the Green Mountain Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. At Granite Falls, the waters of Tonahutu Creek drop fifty feet through a course of smooth granite slabs. The hike offers a diverse landscape: from tranquil forests, to expansive meadows, and verdant creeksides--all alive with wildflowers and wildlife. Explore the full Granite Falls
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Horseshoe Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Horseshoe Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park is a favorite family hike near Estes Park, Colorado. It's a short and easy hike from the Alluvial Fan Trailhead, but the falls can also be viewed from the roadside. It's an extensive cascade waterfall, named for the way it bends its course through the rocky hillside. Explore the full Horseshoe Falls hike
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Lake of Glass Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lake of Glass Waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you are up for a demanding hike in Rocky Mountain national Park, with 3 waterfalls in the space of less than 5 miles, then the hike up to Lake of Glass Falls is a great choice. A hidden waterfall that you won't find on the map! Lake of Glass falls is a segmented cascade spilling into the creek that
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Lost Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lost Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The hike to Lost Falls is a demanding 15.6 mile trek into into a lesser traveled, northern reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail follows the North Fork of the Big Thompson River through stands of lodgepole, the pinch of a rugged canyon, and past aspen laden meadows before reaching this hidden waterfall. Explore the full Lost Falls hike
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Lyric Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lyric Falls is a beautiful stair-step waterfall that spills over the moss-covered granite slabs of Hunters Creek in Rocky Mountain National Park. A lesser-known waterfall, Lyric Falls requires a 3/4 mile segment on the unmaintained social trail that winds along Hunters Creek. Locating the falls may be a bit challenging and land navigation skills are needed for this hike in
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Marguerite Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Marguerite Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Marguerite Falls is a set of casacades with upper and lower leaps, just below Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. After the 3.9 mile hike up to Fern Lake, a social trail leads into the woods along Fern Creek to the falls. Explore the full Marguerite Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the
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ouzel falls waterfall in background with cascades in foreground in rocky mountain national park

Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Ouzel Falls spills over a cliffside and enormous boulders, making it arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park. Before reaching this 40-foot falls, the trail traces the course of several creeks and leads hikers past three other cascade waterfalls. Explore the full Ouzel Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips
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Ribbon Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Ribbons Falls is a slide waterfall that spills from Black Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The 4.8 mile hike up to Ribbon Falls is demanding, but well worth the effort as you'll encounter several other waterfalls along the way. Push an additional .2 mile up the trail to Black Lake and yet another waterfall, Black Lake Falls, that seasonally
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Shelf Creek Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Shelf Creek Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Shelf Creek Falls is a waterfall hidden within the races of Shelf Creek in Rocky Mountain National Park. This waterfall is not marked on maps, but can be found along the hike up to Shelf Lake, a demanding hike on an unmaintained trail in Glacier Gorge. Because this hike is off-the-beaten-path, it is recommended only for those who have a
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Shelf Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Shelf Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

You won't find the cascades of Shelf Lake Falls on the map. This tiered, shelf waterfall is hidden away in the high country above Glacier Gorge in Rocky Mountain National Park. Shelf Lake Falls flows out of Solitude Lake then into a creek that spills over the rock shelves of the falls, cutting strange formations out of the snow and
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Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Timberline Falls is a demanding 8-mile round-trip waterfall hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail takes you past Alberta Falls up into beautiful Loch Vale. Beyond Timberline Falls hikers will find Lake of Glass, additional falls, and breathtaking Sky Pond. Glacier Gorge is the home to some of the best hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and this waterfall
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Trio Falls Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Trio Falls is among the most stunning waterfalls that you will encounter in Rocky Mountain National Park, or in Colorado. But it comes at a price: A 15-mile round-trip, demanding hike. Because of this, the hike up to Trio Falls may best be part of an overnight camping trip in the park. Explore the full Trio Falls hike profile below
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Windy Gulch Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Windy Gulch Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Windy Gulch Cascades is a hidden cascade waterfall less than half a mile into Fern Lake Trail system in Rocky Mountain National Park. Though a short hike, the final 1/10th of a mile segment is off the main trail and in steep terrain. For that reason, we've noted this as a moderate difficulty hike. Explore the full Windy Gulch
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Ypsilon Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park Ypsilon Hike

Ypsilon Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Ypsilon Falls is a tiered waterfall hidden along the northern shore of Ypsilon Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The 4.5 mile hike to this secluded waterfall follows the Ypsilon Lake trail, a demanding trek through the thick woods of the Mummy Range. Explore the full Ypsilon Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and
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Hikes With Shade Near Denver

Most hikes near Denver are very exposed to the sun. In fact, less than 10% of the hikes on our site offer any real significant escape from the sun. This leaves you with just a couple options: 1) Hike early in the morning to escape the heat, or 2) Try out out some of the hikes from this list below.

All of these hikes offer a considerable amount of shade, but none of them keep you entirely out of the sun. So be sure to still wear your sunscreen! All of these shady hikes are within 90 minutes of Denver. Explore the individual trail profiles to get a sense of difficulty level and distance. We'll keep adding to this set as we find more hikes near Denver that offer a significant amount of shade.

aaron johnson author of dayhikes near denver with daughter in backpack flyfishing on bear creek at Lair o the Bear Park near morrison colorado

Bear Creek Trail at Lair o’ the Bear Park

Lair o' the Bear is, in our family's opinion, the best family hike near Denver. First, the drive into the canyon on Bear Creek road is beautiful. Once at the park you'll find great hiking trail options, the cool water of bear creek, great parking, and some good picnic spots. There are open areas as well as shade. Our one ...
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buffalo creek waterfall at wellington lake slide waterfall cascading over granite slab on hike near denver

Buffalo Creek Falls at Wellington Lake

This waterfall isn't even on the map, and it's become my favorite waterfall hike near Denver. In fact, this is the only post that I'm tempted to keep to myself, because not only is there great hiking, but Wellington Lake may be the best camping spot within 90 minutes of Denver. There is a hitch though: it's a privately held ...
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calypso cascades rocky mountain national park header

Calypso Cascades in Rocky Mountain National Park

Calypso Cascades is an easy 3.6 mile hike to one of several waterfall destinations along this section of trail. This waterfall in the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park is gets its name from the purple Calypso Orchids that bloom along the banks of Cony Creek. Explore the full Calypso Cascades hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, ...
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two women sitting on rock along clear creek trail in golden colorado with bridge in background and green trees

Clear Creek Trail in Downtown Golden

Want a hike to please everyone?The Clear Creek Trail in Golden, Colorado is it! It's got shade, the kids can bring their bikes, and you can finish your hike with a stroll around downtown. We might get some flack for calling this a hike, because it runs through the business district of Golden, CO.But you can wear the soles of ...
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copeland falls rocky mountain national park header

Copeland Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Copeland Falls is just one of the many waterfalls hikers will encounter in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, you can't miss Copeland Falls as it is the first waterfall along the main trail--just a short hike from the trailhead. Explore the full Copeland Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more ...
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snow and evergreen trees on mountainside against blue clouded sky with Devils Thumb rock formation and lake

Devils Thumb Lake

Devils Thumb Lake is located in Indian Peaks Wilderness north of Boulder Colorado and can be accessed via a 6.5-mile (one-way) steep and challenging hike. Wildflowers, alpine meadows, small waterfalls, and cascades all beckon those who have the stamina to explore these heights in the Front Range near Denver. Explore the full Devils Thumb Lake hike profile below for trail ...
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cascade waterfall leaping over granite boulders eldorado falls in walker ranch hike near boulder colorado

Eldorado Falls at Walker Ranch

Eldorado Falls is a cascade waterfall tucked back in Walker Ranch near Boulder, Colorado. It's an easy to moderate 1.25 mile hike from the Ethel Harrold Trailhead down to where South Boulder Creek winds through the park and crashes over the boulders blocking its path. Explore the full trail profile below for all the details: tips, trail map, and driving ...
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fern falls rocky mountain national park header

Fern Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fern Falls tumbles down through the forest casting a fine mist across the trail. It's a perfect place to stop, cool off, and take in the sights and sounds of the falls before hiking on to Fern Lake. Explore the full Fern Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the details and tips you need ...
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Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

A hike up to Fern Lake begins at the Fern Lake Trailhead on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the Fern Lake Trail, hikers pass through Arch Rocks, over a bridge at The Pool, and by three cascade waterfalls. Near the, you'll gain spectacular views of The Gable, Knobtop Mountain, Notchtop Mountain, and Little Matterhorn from its ...
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lakeshore of gross reservoir on forsythe canyon hike near boulder

Forsythe Canyon to Waterfall and Gross Reservoir

Looking for a trail that will provide some shade on a hot Colorado day? This hiking trail has shade, plus a waterfall, a stream, a canyon, and lake. It's hard to beat. Forsythe Canyon is just outside Boulder, Colorado (1hr 15min from Denver), and is an easy to moderate hike. Check out our full hiking trail profile for details and ...
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highline canal hike county line to flyn b park header

High Line Canal Hike – County Line to Fly’n B Park

The High line Canal starts in the foothills and meanders over 60 miles through Denver, creating a treelined hiking and biking thoroughfare in the middle of the city. This stretch in Littleton, Colorado takes you past Fly'n B Park. Take the path south and you'll find yourself in Writer's Park. Scroll down for the trail snapshot, and for further details ...
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jasper lake in colorado clouds against blue sky at a lake at the foot of the mount framed by evergreens

Jasper Lake Hike in Indian Peaks

Jasper Lake requires a 5.5-mile (one-way) hike into the mountainous, wildflower-laden Indian Peaks Wilderness. Just 40 minutes outside of Boulder Colorado and about 1hr 15 minutes from Denver, the trail to Jasper Lake gets its start at the Hessie Trailhead. Travel an additional mile beyond Jasper to see Devils Thumb, a striking rock formation that looms above Devil's Thumb Lake ...
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Boulder falls near boulder colorado in canyon with ponderosa pines and visitors at base of falls

7 Waterfall Hikes About 1 Hour of Denver

Where can you find waterfalls near Denver? This collection of seven waterfalls are all within about a 1 hour drive waterfalls from the Mile High City. Trails to the waterfalls in this collection range from just 100 yards to 5.5 miles one-way. Each of the waterfall hikes have a more detailed trail profile with driving directions, maps, and tips for making the most of your adventure. Because the landscape near Denver is not as dramatic as other parts of Colorado, we have a limited number of waterfalls close to town. However, Dayhikes Near Denver has trail profiles for more than 30 Colorado waterfall hikes on our site, so be sure to see our full set of Colorado Waterfall hikes on our Dayhikes Near Denver Waterfalls page. There you'll find waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park--just 2 hours away--and many others located the farther reaches of our beautiful state of Colorado.

Elk Falls at Staunton State Park

  • Elk Falls at Staunton State Park

  • Distance: 11 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 50 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
    We'll start with the most difficult waterfall to reach near Denver, but one that's worth the 11 mile round-trip journey to see because it has the highest drop. Elk Falls was unknown to most until opened to the public in 2013 with the creation of a new Colorado State Park, Staunton State Park. Overall it's a long but moderate hike to the Elk Falls Overlook. Explore our full trail profile for more detailed information.

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    Eldorado Falls at Walker Ranch

  • Eldorado Falls at Walker Ranch

  • Distance: 2 1/2 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Eldorado Falls, along with Forsythe Canyon Falls (see below) is one of the lesser known waterfalls near Denver. Found along the Walker Ranch loop, this clamorous cascade dives under giant boulders then gushes out on the other side. Hikers can take this in as a part of the larger Walker Ranch Loop hike, or as a shorter 1.25 mile (one-way) hike in from the Ethel Harrold Trailhead.

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    Boulder Falls

  • Boulder Falls

  • Distance: 200+ Yards Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 50 Minutes
    Difficulty: Easy
    Boulder Falls dives over 60' from a cliff face in Boulder Canyon. It's about an 100 yard walk from the parking pull-off area along Boulder Canyon Drive. Because of the 2013 flood damage, the trail has been closed for repairs. Check our trail profile for updates and announcement when it is reopened to the public. A great alternative hike in the same general area is Forsythe Canyon Falls (see below).

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    Castlewood Canyon Waterfall Hike

  • Castlewood Canyon Waterfall Hike

  • Distance: 1/4 mile Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 50 Minutes
    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
    Named Castlewood Canyon Falls or Cherry Creek Falls, this waterfall is probably the most accessible falls near Denver, just .17 mile from the parking area. It's at its peak in the Spring after a good rain. Be sure to get the details from our full hike profile and explore the many other trails in Castlewood Canyon.

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    Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

  • Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

  • Distance: 1/4 mile Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 45 Minutes
    Difficulty: Easy
    Bridal Veil Falls is the second highest waterfall in this collection (Elk Falls being the tallest). The hike to Bridal Veil falls is just a short jaunt on a concrete path to Water Wheel Park, which is being renovated and is scheduled to reopen in June of 2016. What makes this waterfall unusual is that it's right in the town of Idaho Springs, much like Cornet Falls in Telluride. While not a trip into the Colorado wilderness, Bridal Veil falls boasts the interesting history of gold mining, an old steam locomotive, and restored water wheel.

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

    Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our more than 50 Colorado Waterfall Hikes, our favorite Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, or 7 Waterfalls within One Hour of Denver.


    Maxwell Falls Near Evergreen

  • Maxwell Falls Near Evergreen

  • Distance: 1.6 to 4 miles Round Trip
    Drive Time from Denver: 50 Minutes
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Maxwell Falls has become one of the most popular destination hikes near Denver. Best viewed in the late Spring and early Summer, this tiered fan waterfall can be accessed by either a .8 mile trail that leads directly in, or by one of two different loop hikes. Because the trails at Maxwell Falls get a lot of visitors, be sure to get there early, pick up trash when you see it, and keep your pup leashed (though it's a USFS area, the county dog regulations apply here). See our trail profile for more details.

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    Forsythe Canyon Falls Near Boulder

  • Forsythe Canyon Falls Near Boulder

Distance: 2 miles Round Trip
Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Forsythe Canyon Falls is tucked away in a canyon southwest of Boulder near Gross Reservoir. A few highlights: Forsythe Canyon offers a lot of shade, the waterfall is found in unique pinch in the canyon, and the trail ends at Gross Reservoir, a beautiful site. We've found this to be a lesser visited hike, and a great alternative to some of the busier trails.

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Map of 7 Waterfall Hikes About 1 Hour of Denver


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10 Colorado Waterfall Hikes One Mile or Less

Enjoy the Sights and Sounds of Waterfalls near Denver that Only a Short Distance to Hike To

Short hikes with a big payoff! Ten Colorado waterfall hikes, one mile or less! Most waterfalls in Colorado require demanding hikes through difficult terrain. But not everyone has the time or ability to hike deep into the Colorado wilderness to discover these gems. That's why we've compiled this set of 10 easy-access waterfalls, most requiring less than a 1-mile round trip hike. A few of these hikes can be enjoyed from the car or handicap accessible viewing areas. These short waterfall hikes can be found in different parts of the state, making the scenic drives to these waterfalls half of the adventure. Explore the full set below and build your Colorado Waterfall bucket list. Be sure to download our Free Hiking Guide to help you prepare and pack smart for your dayhikes near Denver.

Top Short Waterfall Hikes Near Denver One Mile or Less: Our Favorite Hikes

    Rifle Falls Near Rifle, Colorado

  • Rifle Falls Near Rifle, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.2 to 1.5 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

    Rifle Falls launches off a limestone face 70 feet into a segmented, triple waterfall. The lush surroundings and shaded picnic area are also the home to a series of caves just waiting to be explored. So, bring your flashlight or headlamp if you plan to visit Rifle Falls State Park. Explore the full trail profile to get the trail map, driving directions, and more for Rifle Falls.

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    Cornet Falls in Telluride, Colorado

  • Cornet Falls in Telluride, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.5 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 6.5 Hours

    It's just a 1/4 mile hike from downtown Telluride to Cornet Falls, an 80 foot waterfall pouring over the red cliffs above. On the trek back down, hikers will enjoy views down into this quintessential, Colorado mountain town. Read the full trail profile for parking details and more.

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    Adams Falls Near Grand Lake, Colorado

  • Adams Falls Near Grand Lake, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.6 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

    You'll find Adams Falls on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake, Colorado. Explore this easy hike to gain views of this race waterfall. Hike a bit further down the trail to take in the expansive landscape of the east meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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    Fish Creek Falls Near Steamboat, Colorado

  • Fish Creek Falls Near Steamboat, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.5 Miles Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 3 Hours

    Fish Creek Falls drops nearly 300' feet, making it one of Colorado's highest waterfalls. This short hike near Steamboat, Colorado, has two observation areas and is the trailhead for more challenging hikes. It's a must see if you are planning to vacation in this beautiful part of Colorado.

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    Zapata Falls Near Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park

  • Zapata Falls Near Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park

  • Distance: 0.8 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 4 Hours

    Zapata Falls is one of the more unusual waterfalls in Colorado. To access it requires a short hike, wading across Zapata Creek, then exploring the rock chamber where the waterfall pours down from the heights above. The hike to Zapata falls is a great option if you are visiting or camping in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. See the trail profile for camping info, driving directions, and more.

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    Looking for more waterfalls near Denver? Explore our more than 50 Colorado Waterfall Hikes, our favorite Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, or 7 Waterfalls within One Hour of Denver.


    Treasure Falls Near Pagosa Springs, Colorado

  • Treasure Falls Near Pagosa Springs, Colorado

  • Distance: 1 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 4 Hours 45 Minutes

    Legend has it that back in the 1700's, French Trappers buried a cache of gold in this area of Colorado near Treasure Falls. A popular vacation stop, Treasure Falls offers a great 1/2 hike to the 100+ foot falls. There are two observation decks and interpretive signs explaining the history of the region and the legend of the treasure.

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    Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs

  • Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs

  • Distance: 1/10th of a Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

    Helen Hunt Falls is accessed via a beautiful drive into Cheyenne Canyon in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Two more waterfalls beckon hikers to explore the trails beyond the falls. Read the full trail profile for parking options and a longer hike approach from the entrance of Cheyenne Canyon.

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    Whitmore Falls Near Lake City, Colorado

  • Whitmore Falls Near Lake City, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.25 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy

    Drive Time from Denver: 6 Hours

    Whitmore Falls is off the beaten path about 45 minutes outside of Lake City, Colorado. This plunge waterfall pours into a mesmerizing, emerald green pool. Be sure to pay careful attention to the driving directions to this waterfall along Engineer Pass road. See the full trail profile for the details.

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    Silver Falls Near Pagosa Springs, Colorado

  • Silver Falls Near Pagosa Springs, Colorado

  • Distance: 0.4 Mile Round Trip

    Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    Drive Time from Denver: 5.5 Hours

    It's just 1/8th of a mile hike to soak in the beauty of Silver Falls as it tumbles over the pink and orange cliffs that surround it. Silver Falls is about a 40 minute drive outside of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a beautiful drive along the course of the San Juan River.

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    North Clear Creek Falls Near Lake City, Colorado

  • North Clear Creek Falls Near Lake City, Colorado

Distance: 0.1 Mile Round Trip

Difficulty: Easy

Drive Time from Denver: 5 Hours

North Clear Creek Falls in Southwestern Colorado is a 100+ foot waterfall accessible from a well maintained pull-off. It's a great roadtrip stop, a place to stretch your legs and to enjoy a picnic lunch near the sight and sounds of the falls. Read the full trail profile for driving directions and more.

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Map of Colorado Waterfall Hikes One Mile or Less


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Top 10 Spring Hikes Near Denver

Where are the best trails to hike in the Spring near Denver? We've created this top 10 list of the best Spring hikes near Denver so you can get your boots out and discover some beautiful Colorado landscapes.

Winter holds Colorado in its grip for about half of the year. Then, before you know it, Spring appears, and Summer follows quickly on its heels. On the Front Range, near Denver, we also get some of our heaviest snowfall in March and sometimes in April. So, Spring hikes can be muddy, and ice can build up on segments of trails that escape the direct light of the sun. For that reason, we've tried to collect a set of hikes where Spring gets an early start. Still, if you expect to encounter snow and ice, we recommend wearing traction devices, like YakTrax. Our hope is that you'll be able to find a great hike during this unpredictable--but beautiful--time of year.

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  • Alderfer Three Sisters Park in Evergreen

  • Distance: .2 to 10 mile+ loop Miles

    Drive Time: 40 minutes from Denver

    Alderefer and Three Sisters park is a choose-your-own-adventure experience. Download the park map to get familiar with the significant network of trails, then create a hike out of it. Hike up to the sisters to gain views into the quaint town of Evergreen and beyond.
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  • South Rim Loop at Roxborough State Park

  • Distance: 3 Miles

    Drive Time: 45 minutes from Denver

    Red Rock formations against the brilliant green of Spring. The South Rim Trail at Roxborough State Park takes hikers to several overlooks for some of the best panoramas in the Denver area.
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  • Sunset Loop at White Ranch

  • Distance: 2 Miles

    Drive Time: 45 minutes from Denver

    White Ranch sits just north of Denver in the green of the foothills. This 2 mile hike combines trails to form what we've named the Sunset Loop--though it's equally good for viewing the sunrise.
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  • Mount Sanitas in Boulder

  • Distance: 2-3 Miles

    Drive Time: 45 minutes from Denver

    Mt. Sanitas is a local favorite--and for good reason. A refreshing brook cuts through the valley floor, and the higher elevations of the hike offer a demanding workout. Explore the full trail profile for driving directions, map, and more trail info.
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  • Spruce Mountain Near Larkspur

  • Distance: 1.5 to 4 Miles

    Drive Time: 50 minutes from Denver

    Spruce Mountain is unique because the trail takes hikers up to the top of a table mesa. The trail then follows the rim and affords fantastic views to Pikes Peak in the south, and to the stretches of the greenland plains to the east.
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  • Davis Ponds Loop at Staunton State Park

  • Distance: 2 Mile Loop

    Drive Time: 45 minutes from Denver

    There are many places to explore in Staunton State Park, and we've encountered a lot of ice on some of the trails in the early Spring. However, the Davis Ponds Loop is more open to soak the sunlight. The ponds make a great destination hike and are stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout.
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  • Enchanted Mesa At Chautauqua Park

  • Distance: 2 Miles

    Drive Time: 40 minutes from Denver

    This hike in Boulder's Chautauqua Park takes you through beautiful stands of ponderosa pine along the prominent flatirons formation. You also have a lot of options to explore in the larger network of trails in Chautauqua park.
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  • Red Rocks Trail at Red Rocks

  • Distance: 6 Miles

    Drive Time: 25 minutes from Denver

    Iconic Red Rocks Park offers some of the best trails close to the city. This trail that stretches between Red Rocks and Matthew-Winters Park is perfect for a hike, mountain bike, or trail run.
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  • South Valley Park in Littleton

  • Distance: .5 to 3 Miles

    Drive Time: 30 minutes from Denver

    South Valley is my go-to spot for getting outside. Just a short drive and you are tucked away between the hogback and the foothills in an expanse valley riddled with red rock.
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  • Waterton Canyon Trail

Distance: 2 to 12.4 Miles

Drive Time: 35 minutes from Denver

The Waterton Canyon trail follows the Platte River back into the foothills. During the spring this place is in bloom. Perfect for a picnic lunch or dinner, there are picnic areas along the way. Read the full trail profile to get the details.
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