There is nothing more wondrous than a springtime hike in Colorado. Unless of course, that lush and woody hike leads to one of Colorado’s glorious waterfalls, which spill over a mountainside and cascade into a beautiful stream or lake. Here are some don’t-miss trails that will lead you to one of these beautiful sites. Don’t forget the camera!
Courtesy of Colorado Tourism Office
South Mineral Creek Falls
Location: Near Durango and Silverton
Departing from the South Mineral Creek Campground, hikers will trace South Fork Mineral Creek on the way to these falls, which flow into an ethereal turquoise pool, with red and grey peaks standing sentinel in the distance.
Location: Near Colorado Springs
Trek up 224 steps alongside the Seven Falls (or take the in-mountain elevator), which tumble 181 feet down the canyon in seven distinct segments. Nature trails and views of Colorado Springs and the sprawling Great Plains to the east add to the drama.
Bridal Veil Falls
Location: Near Telluride
Located 365 feet above the picturesque town of Telluride, which is nestled at the foot of a box canyon, the white spray of Colorado’s tallest waterfall plummets to the canyon’s depths, adding the final touch to a breathtaking scene.
Helen Hunt Falls
Location: Near Colorado Springs
These photo-worthy falls are situated in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, and are accessible by a steep but manageable hike amid spectacular views. The visitor center provides information on the area and the falls’ geology.
Fish Creek Falls
Location: Near Steamboat Springs
Gorgeous any time of year, these falls are portrayed best in the spring. When temperatures rise and the snowmelt reaches its peak and winds its way downhill, water whooshes over Fish Creek’s cliff, emitting a thunderous
sound and a gentle spray that lightly cools hikers who have made the trek.
North Clear Creek Falls
Location: Near Lake City
For a hidden treasure along the Silver Thread Scenic Byway, look carefully for Forest Road 510 on your left, just past Spring Creek Pass. A short distance down the road you will be rewarded with views of gushing North Clear
Creek Falls as it plummets from a willow-covered bench into a box canyon.
Location: Near Alamosa
As hikers approach the Zapata Falls along a windy trail at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the way to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, it feels almost as if they’re chasing the falls – they hear the roar of the 40-foot-tall gusher and feel its cooling effect long before they can actually see it.
Box Canyon Falls
Location: Near Ouray
Tucked in a narrow Ouray box canyon, the falls’ 280-foot cascade can be experienced top to bottom via a staircase, hiking trail and suspension bridge. As thousands of gallons of water rush and roar its way down, take
a moment to look up – the National Audubon Society has named the area an important bird site.
Location: Near Estes Park
On the path to Ouzel Falls inside Rocky Mountain National Park, in one of the most green and lush spots in Colorado, hikers encounter several smaller falls and cascades that encourage them to continue toward the mother lode. Breathtaking Ouzel drops more than 40 feet through a sliver in the dark rock wall surrounding it and flows into a chilly pool filled with boulders and fallen trees. Also check out the park’s Columbine Falls near Chasm Lake,
with a great view of Longs Peak in the distance.
Rifle Falls State Park
Location: Near Rifle
On a warm summer day, the mist that drifts from the exhilarating gush of water over the 70-foot limestone cliffs and the dark caves below them in Rifle Falls State Park are a sight to behold.
Location: Glenwood Springs
Appearing to cling to the edge of a mountainside, the almost supernaturally teal-green Hanging Lake is surrounded by moss-covered rocks and a meandering trail. Waterfalls cascade quietly off a cliff into the lake’s still depths, adding to an already surreal atmosphere.