10 Stunning Waterfalls to Visit in Colorado
The state of Colorado is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise thanks to its incredibly diverse terrain. Located in the western part of the United States, Colorado has deserts, arid canyons and the magnificent Rocky Mountains containing many rivers and waterfalls.
In the spring and summer, when the snow melts off the mountain tops, there are some absolutely stunning waterfalls to visit in Colorado! I’ve been “waterfall hunting” in Colorado since I was a little girl, and believe me when I tell you, the spring and summer months are my favorite time to see them.
Since Colorado is home to hundreds of waterfalls, you really don’t have to travel far to find one. While some of the waterfalls in Colorado require strenuous hikes to reach them, there are several waterfalls in Colorado that are easily accessible to anyone. With that in mind, let’s dive into some of my favorite waterfalls to visit in Colorado.
1. Seven Falls, Colorado Springs
Located just outside of Colorado Springs is the fabulous Broadmoor Seven Falls. Indeed, these falls are a major tourist attraction, but they are still worth the detour!
The scenic approach to the falls is called “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado”. It is thanks to the naturally formed box canyon that Seven Falls calls home. Water from the falls drops approximately 181 feet into the canyon in seven different areas, hence the name Seven falls.
There are 224 steps leading to the top of the falls, or if you prefer there is also an elevator built into the mountain that will take you to the top. Once at the top of Seven Falls, you will be greeted by spectacular views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding area.
Pro Tip: Seven Falls can get very crowded. I would recommend arriving early morning or late afternoon to try and avoid some crowds. Please check their website for hours and ticket prices.
2. Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs
Another easily accessible Colorado waterfall is the spectacular Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat Springs. There is a wheelchair accessible half mile paved trail that leads to the base of the falls.
The falls create a thundering sound as they tumble down the side of the mountain, tumbling 280 feet into the Yampa Valley below.
If you are willing to do more hiking during your visit, you can hike to the upper falls of Fish Creek. Note, however, that the trail gains over 1,600 feet in elevation and takes about 3 hours to complete the hike out and back.
Pro Tip: While Fish Creek Falls is beautiful any time of the year, I recommend visiting in the spring when the snowmelt is at its peak.
3. Bride’s Veil Falls, Telluride
Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado. Water from Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride drops over 365 feet into the canyon below. It really is a breathtaking site!
To access the base of the falls, head east through Telluride on Colorado Avenue. Just past the Pandora Mill on the left you will see a dirt road marked “County Road”. This road will give you access to the 1.8 mile trail to the falls. Note, however, that this hike gains 1,200 feet in elevation with rocky terrain.
Pro Tip: If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can skip the hike and get to the falls easily!
4. Bear Creek Falls, Telluride
Bear Creek Falls in Telluride is another of the beautiful waterfalls to visit in Colorado. After hiking (or biking) an easy to moderate 2.5 mile one-way hike, you are greeted by a beautiful waterfall tumbling down the jagged rocks.
Bear Creek Falls is only about 70 feet high. Although not the biggest waterfall, it is still a favorite. The hike through the Bear Creek Preserve is beautiful, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Pro Tip: As one of the most popular trails in Telluride, you may want to arrive early to do this hike. The trail can get quite crowded with families as the day progresses.
5. Box Canyon Falls, Ouray
Nestled inside the charming little town of Ouray, visitors will find the incredible Box Canyon Falls. A visit to Box Canyon is truly exhilarating as you walk the metal walkway through the canyon to approach the falls.
Box Canyon Falls plummets 285 feet with gushing force thanks to Canyon Creek water being tightly compressed within the canyon. The water rushes in creating a feast for your senses as you hear the roar and feel the mist on your skin.
The falls can be seen from several places. This includes the lower trail, which is a 500 foot walk along a suspension bridge that gets you closer to the falls. Take note that the deck is slippery and usually always wet. It also contains stairs, so be careful. Another option to see the falls is to take the High Bridge Trail. This trail takes you 200 feet on a half mile round trip hike that includes stairs.
Pro Tip: If you plan on going on the lower trail and getting close to the falls, you might want to wear a rain jacket. Every time I visited I got wet. Please visit their website for the most up-to-date information on times and ticket prices.
6. Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls, located in Colorado Springs’ North Cheyenne Canyon Park, is an easy hike from the park’s Visitor Center. Dropping 35 feet from the rocks above, Helen Hunt Falls is at its peak during the spring months when snowmelt is highest off the mountains.
Winter is another great time to visit these waterfalls in Colorado as they are often frozen over during the winter months. Frozen waterfalls create a magical feeling when surrounded by white snow.
Pro Tip: If you prefer a longer hike, hike there and back from the Strasmore Visitor Center and follow the Lower Columbine Trail for 4 miles until you reach Helen Hunt Falls.
7. Forsythe Falls, Boulder
If you’re looking for an easy hike to one of Colorado’s magnificent waterfalls, you should definitely consider Forsythe Falls in Boulder. Round trip hike is just over 2 miles but relatively easy despite rough terrain.
Once you arrive at Forsythe Falls you are greeted by a beautiful 25 foot waterfall which cascades into a beautiful clear blue lake below.
Pro Tip: This waterfall is best seen in May or early June when snowmelt is at its peak. If you visit at other times of the year, you’ll probably only see a trickle.
8. Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park
You’ll find Alberta Falls about 20 km from downtown Estes Park, inside Rocky Mountain National Park.
To access the falls, you will hike approximately 1.7 miles on the Glacier Gorge Trail. The terrain is natural and rugged, but the elevation gain is only 200 feet, making it a relatively easy hike. Once you arrive at Alberta Falls, you’re greeted by a 30-foot waterfall splashing into Glacier Creek below.
Pro Tip: This is an extremely popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. So definitely get there early to avoid some of the traffic on the trail.
9. Treasure Falls, Pagosa Springs
Driving on Highway 160 from South Fork to Pagosa Springs, you will see Treasure Falls. Dropping water 105 feet, Treasure Falls was named after a legend that the mountain held gold.
Although you can easily see the falls from your car, Treasure Falls is worth getting up close. You can do this by hiking the easy half mile trail to the falls. The trail is a nature trail so there is rough terrain to navigate.
Pro Tip: The parking lot to access the trailhead is small, so get there early if you want to ensure you have a chance to hike the trail.
10. Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle
Dropping 70 feet above a magnificent limestone bluff are the three separate falls that make up Rifle Falls in Rifle Falls State Park. Located in the northwest corner of Colorado in the town of Rifle, these falls are easily accessible thanks to the 0.1 mile handicapped accessible walkway leading to it. Of course, if you want to do a little more hiking to get to the falls, you can take the 1.5 mile round trip trail to the falls.
Standing at the base of the falls, watching the moss covered rocks as the mist from the falls hits you in the face, is quite an amazing experience. Rifle Falls is definitely one of the beautiful waterfalls to visit in Colorado.
Rifle Falls State Park also offers campgrounds and picnic tables for you to take advantage of during your visit.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the caves below the falls!