11 Amazing Colorado Waterfall Hikes You Can Do Today

Colorado offers a lot, people come from all over the world to experience it. What’s not universally known is the epic waterfall hikes we are home to. Check out these 11 Colorado Waterfall Hikes you can do today!

11 of Colorado’s BEST Waterfall Hikes

Wanna head out on some Colorado Waterfall Hikes? Walk with me. I know, I know, I write about Colorado a lot. It just has so much to offer. From raging river rafting and world-class skiing to hiking one of our famous 14ers, Colorado is an outdoorsman’s and athletes’ paradise. Not every day needs to be an adrenaline-inducing adventure, in-fact maybe taking a nice hike to enjoy your day is just what the doctor ordered. If so, this is another area where Colorado does not disappoint as it is home to over 17,000 trails! 

From the Denver Post: The Colorado Trail Explorer, developed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, includes 17,099 trails and 1,431 trailheads. The mapped trails include 5,683 miles of hiking trails, 6,821 miles of mountain biking trails, 24,906 miles of motorized trails and unpaved roads, and 1,746 miles of paved bike trails. Read more here.

So, as you can imagine, there is more to do here than you likely have time to cover. Because of that, we compiled a list of 11 Colorado Waterfall Hikes you will want to keep on your radar. 

**Disclaimer, Colorado has much more than 11 Waterfall Hikes, so if you exhaust these, there are plenty more. 

1. Hanging Lake Colorado

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3 Miles
  • Elevation Climb: 1,135ft
  • Pets: 
  • Nearest town: Glenwood Springs

Hanging Lake is a hike you will want to put near the top of your list. This lake is positioned along the top of a canyon wall, as if almost “hanging” there. Just above the lake is a waterfall that falls into Hanging Lake. What makes this lake so unique besides the physical nature of the lake, is the color. Wow! Vibrant teal, green and blue colors that pop give this lake a very iconic look.

The hike itself can be a bit technical in some spots if the season is early and there is still lots of snowpack and ice. Otherwise, it’s just a good hike to an iconic location. Previously, you could park at the trailhead just off I-70. However, due to popular demand, you now need to park in Glenwood Springs and take a shuttle to the trailhead. Nearby Town: Glenwood Springs

2. Bridal Veil Falls

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4.8
  • Elevation Climb: 1,368ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Telluride

Telluride is a bit of a famous Colorado mountain town. Located at the base of a canyon, the city is quite a sight all on its own. However, just over 365 feet above the city lies Colorado’s tallest waterfall cascading down the canyon walls. As if Telluride needed more to be loved. While the trail is more of a 4×4 path, you can expect to share this route with hikers, bikers, and jeepers along the way. 

3. Seven Falls

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 770ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Broadmoor (Colorado Springs)

Hike up 224 steps alongside the Seven Falls which fall 181ft down the canyon in multiple segments. If the idea of hiking seems too much this day they have an elevator option! Scenic trails and landscape views of Colorado Springs make this nearby hike a local favorite.

 4. Bear Creek Falls near Telluride

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 1092ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Telluride

Bear Creek Preserve Trail is one of Telluride’s most popular trails. The beautiful and well-marked wooded trail ends in a magnificent set of waterfalls and an unbeatable view of the town of Telluride. Along the way admire meadows and cairns that hikers have constructed. 

5. Helen Hunt Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 0.1 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 6ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs’ North Cheyenne Cañon Park is home to these falls, which can be reached after a steep but manageable hike amid spectacular views. A visitor center gives details about the area and the falls’ geology. 

6. Fish Creek Falls

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 4.7
  • Elevation Climb: 1,450ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Steamboat Springs

Located outside of Steamboat Springs, the trail to Fish Creek Falls is challenging, yet worth it once you arrive. Snowmelt runoff in spring and early summer make for a dominating waterfall experience. This is one you will definitely hear before you see!

7. Horsetooth Falls near Fort Collins

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 2.9 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 393ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Fort Collins

Horsetooth Falls Loop Trail is a 2.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Fort Collins, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

8. Zapata Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 0.9
  • Elevation Climb: 213ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Alamosa (Great Sand Dunes Area)

Like most waterfalls, you have to work a bit to reach the prize. Hikers wade through chilly waters and maneuver over slippery rocks to Zapata’s hidden falls or balance on a log bridge to avoid getting wet. The falls were formed when South Zapata Creek wore a groove in the crystalline rocks of the Sangre de Cristos, allowing its water to spill onto the soft alluvial soils below.  Over millennia, the creek has carved a dim, deep and narrow chasm through which water tumbles some 30 feet.

9. Box Canyon Falls (Upper and Lower Trails)

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 0.3 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 177ft
  • Pets: No
  • Nearest town: Ouray

Box Canyon Falls Park is a developed waterfall attraction situated in the “Switzerland of America”. Ouray’s own wonder of the world is the culmination of Canyon Creek narrowing and spilling thousands of gallons a minute of water over the falls. At this most spectacular geological formation, the 285-foot waterfall plummets into a narrow quartzite canyon. The narrow rock walls tower over the falls by nearly 100 feet!

10. Ouzel Falls

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 5.9 miles
  • Elevation Climb: 1062ft
  • Pets: No
  • Nearest town: Estes Park

Enjoy the vibrant green scenes along the path to Ouzel Falls. Located in the southern portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, Ouzel drops more than 40 feet through a sliver in the rock wall and drops into an alpine watering hole full of boulders and fallen trees. Estes Park is located a short drive away and is a tourist hotspot for souvenirs, great food, and live music. 

11. Rifle Falls State Park

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 0.6 miles
  • Elevation Climb:75ft
  • Pets: Yes – On Leash
  • Nearest town: Rifle, CO

Rifle Falls offers a summer tropical getaway right here in Colorado! Lush greenery in all directions that is kept moist from the falls flow keeps this area wet and cool. The local town of Rifle is a state staple for the cattle ranching industry. Stop in for a bite to eat in this historic colorado town. 

There you have it! Now you what you need to know to take on some of Colorado’s best waterfall hikes. If you’re coming from out of town and camping, check out a must have guide to camping Colorado here. Now, grab your bag and get outside!

Mike is a Colorado resident, an Army veteran, and a former Police Officer, and an avid outdoorsman. Mike has camped, hiked, and overland all over the United States. From backpack Elk Hunts on Public Land to Multi-week Overlanding adventures with his family, Mike is very familiar with these outdoor topics.

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