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Tarryall Falls Near Jefferson, Colorado

The Tarryall Falls Trail is a short, 1/4 -mile hike across a small canyon to a waterfall that pours into Tarryall Creek. The slopes of snow-capped peaks along Boreas pass make for a majestic backdrop against the contrasting sage grasslands of surrounding South Park.Tarryall Falls draws its waters from the Tarryall Reservoir, a popular camping and fishing destination here in the high-plains. Explore the full Tarryall Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure near Jefferson, Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Tarryall Falls Hike

Parking & Trailhead Information for Tarryall Falls Hike

From Denver, take HWY 285 South to Jefferson. In Jefferson, turn left onto CR77 and continue for about 17 miles. The parking pullout is on the southern tip of the reservoir on the right-hand side of the road. This is about 1hr 45 min drive.

From Colorado Springs, take US 24 toward Divide. At 5.4 miles west of Florissant turn right to Tarryall Road / CR 77. Continue on CR 77 for about 24 miles. This stretch makes for a beautiful drive, especially just before sunset when the Tarryalls are lit up all pink and orange. Just after mile 24, there will be a pullout parking area on the left side of the road alongside the reservoir. The hike description below begins at this parking area. This is about a 1hr 30 min drive from Colorado Springs.

The roadside viewing area is easily accessed by turning on to Turner Gulch Road. The parking area is located on the right-hand side of the road soon after turning onto Turner Gulch road.

The Hike: Tarryall Falls Hike

map of hike to tarryall falls
It's less than a 1/4 mile jaunt from the parking area to the waterfall, but be aware that the trail winds through some rocky and loose terrain on this unmaintained trail. The trail begins on the gravel path that heads down toward the reservoir then descends to a footbridge spanning Potato Gulch, a small canyon that serves as an overflow from the reservoir back into Tarryall Creek. I've marked the trail on the map above, but this is intended for general reference only. Take care as you navigate the trail as it winds through the rock on the other side of the footbridge. The path will lead to the top of the waterfall, then eventually down to the base of the falls. This area is not recommended for pets or children and if present should be supervised.

Sunlit mountain scenery of the tarryall mountains in colorado
As mentioned in the driving directions above, the stretch of road between Tarryall Reservoir and Lake George is one of my favorites for sunsets. Like the Flatirons of Boulder, the Tarryalls have a pink and orange hue but showcase deeper reds, especially at dusk. When the sunlight hits the rock, the mountains seem to come alive.

Hikers coming from Denver can make a day of it by first visiting the trails along Kenosha Pass, then driving to Tarryall Falls. From there, drive South on CR77 to Lake George, taking in the Tarryall Mountains until you come back out to HWY 24. Follow Highway 24 South to visit Rainbow Falls in Manitou Springs. Grab a bite to eat in Manitou or Colorado Springs, then stop by and visitHelen Hunt Falls. All three waterfalls in this driving loop require very little hiking. Finally, take Interstate 25 North back to the Denver area.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Tarryall Falls Hike

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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 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

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.

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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 of Fall River Area: Trail Map Link
  • 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

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Pulloff Near Chasm Falls

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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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bridal veil falls waterfall pouring over cliff face with waterwheel at base among green trees in idaho springs colorado

Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

Bridal Veil Falls is best viewed from Water Wheel Park, a short and easy walk from the downtown of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The legacy of steam locomotives and gold mining make this a historic hike in an historic Colorado town. Explore the full Bridal Veil Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and many of the details you need to enjoy this waterfall in Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs

Parking & Trailhead Information for Bridal Veil Falls, Idaho Springs

The parking area for this short hike/walk is in downtown Idaho Springs, at the corner of 17th and Water Street, which is situated behind the downtown restaurants and shops. Use the driving directions above, which lead to Harold Anderson Park. At this small park, just across from the parking lot, you'll pick up a concrete path that leads under interstate 70 to Water Wheel park (scheduled to open early June of 2016). See the marked map below for a visual of the parking area, trail (yellow dots), and the location of Water Wheel Park.

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The Hike: Bridal Veil Falls, Idaho Springs

It's a little hike (more of a stroll) with a lot of history. Starting at Harold Anderson Park, you'll want to take a gander at Locomotive #60, one of five remaining steam engines that ran on the narrow gauge rails of the Colorado and Southern Railway. Kids will love the train and the other sites along this short jaunt.

The Charlie Taylor Waterwheel Trail leads under Interstate 70 then goes west for about 1/10th of a mile before it arrives at the best viewing area for Bridal Veil Falls. The waterfall spills out of Soda Creek high above, making its way then into Clear Creek, a stream famous for its gold, river rafting, and Coors Beer. The water wheel that's just north of Bridal Veil Falls was built in the late 1800's by a local miner, Charlie Taylor. Taylor used the water wheel to drive a machine called a stamp mill--imagine a big hammer that grinds and crushes rock to get silver and gold ore out of it. It was relocated from Ute Creek to its present location by a group of volunteers in the 1980's and now belongs to the Idaho Springs Historical Society. The Colorado Department of Transportation is renovating Water Wheel Park during the Spring of 2016 with a goal to have the project completed and reopen the park in early June.

There are several Bridal Veil falls in Colorado. For Bridal Veil Falls at Hanging Lake, view our Guide to Hiking Hanging Lake page. Or Explore our trail profile for Bridal Veil Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you are vacationing in the area and looking for more places to explore with your family, we recommend checking out Echo Lake, the Mt. Evans Summit Hike, or the Mt. Bierstadt Trail on Guanella Pass. See our day trip recommendation in the tips section below.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking Bridal Veil Falls, Idaho Springs

  • Plan a Day Trip: Make this a family day trip by arriving early at Echo Lake to see the reflection of Mt. Evans in its mirror waters, then drive up to the Summit of Mount Evans. After your drive back down, take in the sites of Bridal Veil Falls at Water Wheel Park, then grab lunch at Beaujo's Pizza in downtown Idaho Springs.
  • Add a Railroad Hike Tour: The Georgetown Loop Railroad still operates on what remains of track of the old C&S Railroad. Located just a few minutes drive from Idaho Springs, they offer a hike + railroad tour, a great family adventure near Denver. Explore more at our Georgetown Railroad Hike page.
  • 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 John Weitzel for sharing such an amazing photograph of Bridal Veil Falls in Idaho Springs, Colorado.
  • After the Hike: Beaujo's Pizza

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baby mountain goat on mount evans colorado more easy hikes


Whitmore Falls Near Lake City Colorado

Whitmore Falls is a lesser known waterfall deep in the mountains of Colorado. But, it just a 1/10th of a mile hike from the pull-off along Engineer Pass Road. It's a great destination hike for those vacationing in the Lake City area and are looking to combine a scenic drive with a short waterfall hike. Explore the full Whitmore Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and all the details you need to enjoy this adventure near Lake City, Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Whitmore Falls Near Lake City, Colorado

Directions, Parking, & Trailhead Information

Whitmore Falls is off the beaten path, located about 1hr west of Lake City, Colorado along the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. From Lake City, take 1st Street northwest, then a left onto the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway/20/Engineer Pass Road. This dirt road which follows Henson Creek is closed December through May. It may be closed or difficult to navigate depending on weather and how recently its been graded. Typically, it is navigable for 2WD passenger cars up to Whitmore Falls, but SUVs will fair best on this stretch of road.

Beyond Whitmore Falls, the road requires higher clearance vehicles more suitable to the difficult terrain, and drivers who possess off-road driving experience. See the Colorado BLM site for more information on the Loop. Whitmore Falls is located approximately 11 miles West of Lake City, and about 2 miles after passing the Capitol City Landmark, a set of restored historic buildings. Take your time, the drive and the scenery is half the adventure.

The parking area for Whitmore Falls is a small pulloff on the right/west side of the road. The falls trail should be marked with a sign on the opposite side of the pulloff. Because of the limited cell service in this part of Colorado, we advise that drivers not rely on phone-based map services that require a cellular connection. Take care in crossing the road to the other side where you can make your way down to the waterfall.

The Hike to Whitmore Falls

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Whitmore Falls

The drive to Whitmore Falls is more harrowing than the hike. It's just a short 1/10th of a mile from the roadside down to the falls. However, it is steep and the terrain is mostly gravel, much of it talus and loose scree. So, take care making your way down to the falls. Trekking poles will be a great aid in making it down the switchback trail to the overlook and to the falls. The trail can be located near the Whitmore Falls BLM sign.

Whitmore Falls is a plunge waterfall that launches over 40' from the rock cliffs surrounding Henson Creek. Depending on the flows of Henson Creek, the base of the waterfall provides close access for viewing the falls.

  • TIP: Bring trekking poles to assist the short hike down the steep, gravel path.
  • Take Your Time: Pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy the scenic drive. Hikers can stop and explore the Capitol City historic site before or after their visit to Whitmore Falls.
  • 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 Dan Parker for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike.
  • After the Hike: Lake City Cafe

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Zapata Falls Hike Colorado

The hike to Zapata Falls is a perfect family adventure. The 30 foot waterfall is back an easy .4 mile trail, and requires wading through Zapata creek to gain the best views under the shower of the falls. Because it's quite a drive from Denver, we recommend camping at the nearby campground and adding a visit to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to your adventure. Explore the full Zapata Falls hike profile below for driving directions, and all the details you need to enjoy this unusual Colorado waterfall.

Parking & Trailhead Information for Zapata Falls Trail

Like most of the best hikes in Colorado, the trailhead for Zapata Falls is out in the middle of nowhere--well, almost. It's about 8 miles south of Great Sand Dunes National Park and 29 miles from Alamosa, Colorado. Parking is limited, so arrive early in the morning to guarantee a space--or visit on a weekday. Memorial Day weekend is the busiest time of the year for Zapata because so many families visit the neighboring Great Sand Dunes and stay at the campground during that weekend. If the parking lot is full, the road leading into the trailhead lot offers roadside parking; just park with care. The trailhead has toilet facilities.

The Hike to Zapata Falls

The hike to Zapata Falls is short and refreshing. The trail is well-constructed with benches along the way for hikers who need to take a breather. However, it's a very popular trail and you'll want to hit the trail early to avoid waiting in line to see the falls (and to avoid the midday heat). Along the way, you'll take in the scent of juniper trees and gain views of both the Great Sand Dunes National Park and the larger San Luis Valley of Colorado.

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Views to the Great Sand Dunes courtesy of Patrick Mitchell

At the falls, many hikers opt to wade across Zapata creek to gain the best views and experience of the waterfall. Zapata Falls is unusual as it is tucked back in a short tunnel in the rock where the water funnels 30 feet down from the creek high above. Though a small creek, after heavy rains, the current can become very strong. Exercise great care on the slippery rock, and be sure to bring your water shoes if you opt to explore the base of the falls.

Zapata Falls is accessible in the winter when it turns into a frozen masterpiece of ice and snow.

Camping Near Zapata Falls

It's quite a drive to hike Zapata Falls, and you may want to do more than just hike. Camping is an option! There is a USFS campground next to the Zapata Falls Trailhead. It's a popular spot with 23 sites, all non-reservable. On weekends these campsites fill up by Friday at noon. On holiday weekends, they are at capacity before Friday. For fees and more details, see the official USFS campground page for Zapata Campground.

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Tips & Resources for Hiking to Zapata Falls

  • Pathfinder: We would like to thank, Dayhikes Pathfinder, Patrick Mitchell for hiking this trail, providing a report, and photos of his hike to Zapata Falls.
  • Oasis General Store: This place is the only store for miles and just outside the National Park off of Highway 150 North.
  • 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 Ben Flasher for sharing such an amazing photograph of Zapata Falls.
  • After the Hike: The Roast Cafe in Alamosa, CO

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


Treasure Falls Near Pagosa Springs Colorado

Treasure Falls is a 105 foot, plunge waterfall just 15 miles outside of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. It's just a 1/2 mile hike in to the falls where you can get close enough to feel the spray and mist from the falling water. It's a sight that kids and adults alike will remember. Explore the full Treasure Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the details you need to enjoy this adventure near Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Treasure Falls Near Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Parking & Trailhead Information for Treasure Falls in Colorado

Treasure Falls is located about 15 miles northeast of the town of Pagosa Springs, along highway 160 near Wolf Creek Pass. Driving from Pagosa Springs, the parking area and trailhead for Treasure Falls are located on the right (east) side of the road. Parking can accommodate about 18 vehicle and 3 RV/trailers. There are restrooms at the site. Because parking is limited, it fills to capacity often during the summer months. Though the trailhead is open year round, sometimes the entrance gets blocked by plowed snow. Some have noted Treasure Falls as a handicap accessible hike, but it is not. However, the waterfall can be viewed--at a distance--from the parking area.

The Hike: Treasure Falls in Colorado

Treasure Falls is a 105 foot plunge waterfall with a horsetail spray. This hike is approximately 1/2 mile to the two different observations decks. The complete journey down to the falls and back (includes both observation decks) is a total of 1 mile. Along the way, hikers learn the history of the area and the story of how Treasure Falls got its name: a legend that a treasure was buried near the sight. Kids (adults, too) will love this short hiking trail, the history, and the captivating site of one of Colorado's highest waterfalls. While short, the hike is steep, and older folks and those who have difficulty walking, may find the journey beyond their ability.

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Landscape Near Treasure Falls courtesy of Tobias Haase

The first observation deck, named Blowout, takes the trail to the right. The second observation deck, which is closer to the waterfall--so close that you can feel the spray from the falls--is called Misty Deck, and can be reached by going back to the main trail and following the signs.

The trail to Treasure Falls is steep and can become quite muddy with the spring snowmelt and rains. In the Winter, the waterfall freezes over into an aqua stream of ice. During these months, when the parking lot is not plowed or snowed in, Treasure Falls can be accessed by snowshoeing or hiking in with traction devices or microspikes--much depends on the amount of snowfall. Ice can compound with the snow to make the trail very difficult.

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

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Treasure Falls, CO

  • Hot Cocoa: After the trip, drive up the the Wolf Creek ski area and get hot chocolate at the lodge.
  • Wear Good Footwear: The hike up to treasure falls can be slick in places, and muddy in the spring. Be sure to have durable and gripping boots or shoes. Looking for good boots? Check out our hiking boot reviews.
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Alley House Grill in Pagosa Springs
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Tobias Haase for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike.

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helen hunt falls waterfall pouring over granite rock face with bridge in background along hike near colorado springs

Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs

Helen Hunt Falls in Colorado Springs is a 35 foot waterfall requiring only a short walk from the parking area. For a longer and more demanding hike, visitors can take the 4 mile Columbine Trail from the bottom of Cheyenne Canyon to Helen Hunt Falls. This strenuous option affords and experience of the rich ecosystem of this canyon at the base of Pikes Peak. Explore the full Helen Hunt Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and many of the details you need to enjoy this waterfall in Colorado Springs.

Trail Snapshot: Helen Hunt Falls

Parking & Trailhead Information for Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls is located in the upper reaches of North Cheyenne Canyon in Colorado Springs. The driving directions and map in the trail snapshot (above) direct hikers to the small parking area nearest to the waterfall. However, this lot is often full, so visitors will need to drive further up into the canyon to additional parking. The Helen Hunt Falls area is a trailhead to several hikes in the canyon, so the parking areas do fill quickly on weekends and during the busy vacation season. Go early to park close. In case you or a friend are unable to make the short hike to the falls, they are visible along the road from your vehicle. Drive with care through the canyon as there are many cyclists on this stretch of road.

The longer hike begins near the Strasmore Visitor Center at the entrance to Cheyenne Canyon. Click for Driving Directions.

The Hike: Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls is a 35 foot waterfall that cascades over the rock in North Cheyenne Creek. The falls are most beautiful when Cheyenne Canyon's water volume is at it's peak in the late Spring to early Summer, or after a good rain. It's not much of a hike to Helen Hunt Falls because the base of the falls can be accessed just a few steps from the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center. The visitor center is open only in the Summer and has snacks and gifts for sale. The waterfall access is open year-round and there is no fee.

In the winter, the frozen falls have a beauty of their own, but be advised that the trails can be very slick and icy.

There is short, but more strenuous trail just after the bridge and to the left. The trail has a set of stairs built into the side of the canyon that lead to an overlook and another perspective on the waterfall.

If you prefer a longer, creekside hike to the Falls, then park at the Strasmore Visitor Center at the entrance to the Canyon. Near the visitor center, you can locate the Lower Columbine Trailhead. This creekside trail weaves through Cheyenne Canyon all the way up to Helen Hunt Falls. It's 4 miles one-way to the Upper Columbine Trailhead near the falls, and about 1000+ feet of elevation gain. Because the trail follows the creek and over a lot of rocky surface, be prepared for slick surfaces, and be sure to wear a solid pair of hiking boots. Trekking poles will be exceptionally helpful on this stretch of trail. About midway up the Columbine Trail, it abandons the creek, crosses the road, and begins a significant climb that includes a set of demanding switchbacks. Eventually, the trail nears Tunnel #2 along Gold Camp Road, then terminates at the Helen Hunt Falls area.

Helen Hunt Falls is named for reformer, activist, and writer, Helen Hunt Jackson, who fought for Native American Rights in the era of Reconstruction after the Civil War.

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

Tips & Resources for Hiking Helen Hunt Falls

  • Explore More: Hike further to Silver Cascade Falls to take in a second waterfall. It's less than 1/2 mile from Helen Hunt Falls with an elevation gain of approximately 250 feet.
  • Pack a Picnic Lunch: Helen Hunt Falls and Cheyenne Creek are great places to enjoy a picnic lunch.
  • Bear and Mtn Lion Activity: Like many areas along the Front Range of Colorado, Bear and Mtn. Lions live in Cheyenne Canyon and the surrounding countryside. Dispose of food in the proper containers. Be alert. And keep together as a group. It's best that children don't run ahead, but stay with your group. Dogs should be leashed at all times.
  • Trail Map for North Cheyenne Canyon: Trail Map Link
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Urban Steam Coffee
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Mike Sinko for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike.

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baby mountain goat on mount evans colorado more easy hikes


Rifle Falls Hike Colorado

Rifle Falls is a 70 foot, triple waterfall in Rifle Falls State Park. It's just .1 mile hike to the base of the falls along a paved, handicap accessible trail. The caves hidden along the waterfall beckon those looking for more adventure. Explore the full Rifle Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the details you need for this short waterfall Hike in northwestern Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Rifle Falls Colorado

Parking & Trailhead Information for Rifle Falls, Colorado

Because Rifle Falls State Park is one of the more popular State parks to visit in Colorado, it often has very limited parking. We highly recommend that you arrive when the park opens at 7AM. If you do not have a Colorado State Parks pass, then you will need to pay the access fee for the park at the kiosk. If the lot is full, visitors will be turned away. As with almost all trailheads in Colorado, Monday through Thursday are the best days for avoiding traffic. However, in the busy summer season, when the weather is amazing and vacation season is in full swing, the park is often at capacity.

The Hike: Rifle Falls

The base of the waterfall can be accessed via 1/10th mile hike on a paved trail that is considered ADA accessible. The falls launch 70 feet over a limestone cliffside, reminiscent of Hanging Lake, near Glenwood Springs. It is a segmented waterfall, breaking into three distinct waterfalls. The spray and mist from the falls makes the surrounding scenery unique. Moss covered rock, flowers, brush, trees, and the roar of the falls make this a real oasis in the oft dry landscape of western Colorado.

The Coyote Trail crosses the creek and leads hikers on a 1.5 mile loop that includes both caves and the area above the waterfall. Following the loop counter-clockwise, the caves will soon become visible on the left-hand side of the trail. After the caves, the loop continues back towards the top of the waterfall area and crosses the creek before making its way back to the shaded picnic grove and parking area.

Rifle Falls in Winter

Rifle Falls State Park is open all year round. It's Colorado, so expect snow and ice on the trail in the late Autumn through late Spring.

Camping at Rifle Falls

There are 20 camping spots at Rifle Falls State Park. Thirteen are drive-in camping and seven are walk-in sites. All are along Rifle Creek. A number of the sites are reservable from May 1 to Oct. 31, and others are available on a first-come basis. Weekdays have better availability than weekends, and the campsites are in less demand November through April. Because Rifle Falls State Park is open year-round, camping is available year-round as well. Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a 6' leash.

Weddings at Rifle Falls

The Waterfall is also a popular place to tie the knot. The Mountain Mist Amphitheater is reservable and has a capacity of 50. All arrangements must be made ahead of time with the parks office (970) 625-1607. All vehicles must pay the fee or have a Colorado State Parks Pass. Because of the limited parking, those coming for a wedding should plan to car pool or be dropped off at the park.

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

Tips & Resources for Hiking at Rifle Falls State Park

  • Go Early: Rifle Falls State Park is small and very popular. The park opens at 7AM, and we recommend that you arrive early for parking.
  • Bring a Flashlight or Headlamp: If you plan to explore the caves, you'll need a light. Bring a flashlight or headlamp to light up some of the chambers you'll discover in the caves.
  • Trail Map for Rifle Falls State Park: Trail Map Link
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Oliver Ridleys Coffee
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Jimmy Thomas for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike.

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above bear lake in rmnp looking to glacier gorge colorado hike finder


Fish Creek Falls Near Steamboat Colorado

A 284 foot waterfall! Need we say more. Fish Creek Falls is a 1/4 mile hike located just outside Steamboat Springs, Colorado--about 3.5 hours from Denver. The Fish Creek Falls Overlook trail is handicap accessible, and a second trail takes hikers down to the base of the falls. Explore the full Fish Creek Falls hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and many the details you need to enjoy this adventure near Steamboat, Colorado.

Trail Snapshot: Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat Springs

Parking & Trailhead Information for Fish Creek Falls

The trailhead for the waterfall is about three miles outside of the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Stop at the pay station to purchase the day use fee. There are two parking areas: one will be on your left driving in, and the larger lot--which is closer to the trailhead--at the end of the road.

The Hike: Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Colorado, perfect for families with small children who are not yet able to hike longer distances. It's also wheelchair accessible via the Falls Overlook Trail. There are three different options detailed below.

  1. Fish Creek Falls Overlook Hike:

    This 1/4 mile (one-way) hike leads to the Falls overlook. The trail is paved and handicap accessible. The most direct access to the overlook trail is from the northeast end of the larger parking area, near the interpretive signs and the small shelter.

  2. Fish Creek Falls Hike:

    This second option is also a 1/4 mile (one-way) and leads to the bridge at the base of the falls. The trail is gravel and dirt--not paved like the overlook trail. This trail begins at the far east end of the same parking lot.

  3. 1 Mile Loop:

    Both the overlook and the Fish Creek Falls hikes can be combined to form a kind of 1 mile loop by hiking first to the overlook, then returning through the shaded picnic area to the Fish Creek trail below. After hiking to the bridge, return the way you came.

Tips & Resources for Hiking Fish Creek Falls

  • Bring a Picnic Lunch: The picnic area at Fish Creek Falls is one of the best in the State of Colorado. It's extensive and the trees provide a ton of shade.
  • Springtime is Best: The waterfall roars with the late Spring meltwater.
  • In Winter: The trails to the falls are open year round. You may need snowshoes when the snow gets thick.
  • Explore More: There is another waterfall. A short, but demanding, 2.2 mile (one-way) hike to Upper Fish Creek falls follows the trail beyond the bridge and another 1,100+ feet above the trailhead.
  • Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
  • Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
  • After the Hike: Creekside Cafe in Steamboat Springs
  • Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Greg Hamilton for sharing the photograph of this hike.

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