The state of Colorado is an outdoor lover’s paradise thanks to its incredibly diverse terrain. Located in the western portion of the United States, Colorado boasts deserts, arid canyons, and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains containing numerous rivers and waterfalls.
During the spring and summer months, when the snow is melting off the mountain tops, there are some absolutely gorgeous waterfalls to visit in Colorado! I have been “chasing waterfalls” in Colorado ever since I was a little girl, and believe me when I tell you, the spring and summer months are my absolute favorite time to see them.
Since Colorado is home to hundreds of waterfalls, you really don’t have to go far to find one. While some of the Colorado waterfalls require strenuous hikes to get to them, there are several waterfalls in Colorado that are easily-accessible for everyone. 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 well worth a visit!
The scenic approach to the falls is called “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado.” This is thanks to the naturally-formed box canyon that Seven Falls calls home. The water from the falls tumbles some 181 feet down 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 would rather, there is also an elevator built into the mountain that will take you to the top. Once at the top of Seven Falls, you are greeted with spectacular views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding area.
Pro Tip: Seven Falls can get very crowded. I would advise arriving first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon to try and avoid some of the crowds. Please check their website for hours and ticket prices.
2. Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs
The spectacular Fish Creek Falls in Steamboat Springs is another waterfall in Colorado that is easily accessible. There is a wheelchair-accessible, half-mile paved trail that leads to the base of the falls.
The falls create a thunderous sound as they pour over the mountainside, tumbling 280 feet into the Yampa Valley below.
If you are up for more of a hike during your visit, you can hike to Fish Creek’s upper falls. Take note though, the trail gains over 1,600 feet in elevation and takes about 3 hours to complete the round-trip hike.
Pro Tip: While Fish Creek Falls is gorgeous any time of year, I recommend visiting in the spring when the snow melt is at its peak.
3. Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride
Bridal Veil Falls is Colorado’s tallest free-falling waterfall. The water of Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride drops over 365 feet into the box canyon below. It is truly 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. Do note, though, that this hike gains 1,200 feet in elevation with a rocky terrain.
Pro Tip: If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, then you can skip the hike and easily drive to the falls!
4. Bear Creek Falls, Telluride
Another one of the gorgeous waterfalls to visit in Colorado is Bear Creek Falls in Telluride. After hiking (or biking) an easy-to-moderate 2.5-mile one-way hike, you are greeted with a gorgeous waterfall tumbling down the jagged rocks.
Bear Creek Falls is only about 70 feet high. While not the largest waterfall, it is still a favorite. The hike through Bear Creek Reserve is beautiful, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Pro Tip: As one of the most popular trails in Telluride, you might want to get here early to do this hike. The trail can get pretty crowded with families as the day progresses.
5. Box Canyon Falls, Ouray
Nestled inside of the charming small town of Ouray, visitors will find the incredible Box Canyon Falls. A visit to Box Canyon is truly exhilarating as you walk on the metal walkway through the canyon to get up close to the falls.
Box Canyon Falls drops 285 feet with gushing force thanks to the water from Canyon Creek being tightly compressed into the canyon. The water rushes by creating a treat for your senses as you hear the roar and feel the mist on your skin.
The falls can be seen from several areas. This includes the lower trail, which is a 500-foot-long walk along a suspension bridge that gets you up close to the falls. Take note that the bridge is slippery and generally always wet. It also contains stairs, so proceed with caution. Another option to view the falls is to take the High Bridge Trail. This trail takes you up 200 feet in a half-mile round-trip hike that includes stairs.
Pro Tip: If you plan to go on the lower trail and get up close to the falls, you may want to wear a rain jacket. Every time I have visited, I have gotten wet. Please visit their website for the most up-to-date information on hours 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 the snowmelt is highest off the mountains.
Winter is another great time to visit these Colorado waterfalls as they are often frozen during the winter months. The frozen waterfalls create a magical feeling when surrounded by white snow.
Pro Tip: If you prefer a longer hike, then do the out-and-back hike 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 are looking for an easy hike to one of the gorgeous waterfalls in Colorado, then you should definitely consider Forsythe Falls in Boulder. The round-trip hike is just over 2 miles but is relatively easy despite some uneven terrain.
Once you arrive at Forsythe Falls, you are greeted with a nice 25-foot waterfall that cascades into a beautiful clear blue lake below.
Pro Tip: This waterfall is best viewed in May or early June when the mountain snowmelt is at its peak. If you are visiting at other times of the year, you are likely to see just a trickle.
8. Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park
You will find Alberta Falls about 12 miles from downtown Estes Park inside of Rocky Mountain National Park.
To access the falls, you will hike about 1.7 miles on Glacier Gorge Trailhead. The terrain is natural and uneven, but the elevation gain is only 200 feet, making it a relatively easy hike. Once you arrive at Alberta Falls, you are greeted with a 30-foot waterfall that splashes down into Glacier Creek below.
Pro Tip: This is an extremely popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, so you definitely want to arrive early to beat some of the traffic on the trail.
9. Treasure Falls, Pagosa Springs
While driving on Highway 160 from South Fork to Pagosa Springs, you will see Treasure Falls. Dropping water from 105 feet, Treasure Falls was named after a legend that said the mountain contained gold.
While you can easily view the falls from your car, Treasure Falls is well worth getting close to. You can do so by hiking the easy half-mile trail to the falls. The trail is a natural trail, so there is uneven terrain to navigate.
Pro Tip: The parking lot to access the trailhead is small, so arrive early if you want to ensure you have the opportunity to hike the trail.
10. Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle
Falling 70 feet over a gorgeous limestone cliff 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 handicap-accessible walkway that leads to them. Of course, if you want a little more of a hike in order to get to the falls, then you can take the 1.5-mile round-trip trail to the falls.
Standing at the base of the falls, looking up on the moss-covered rocks as the mist from the falls hits you in the face, is quite an incredible experience. Rifle Falls is definitely one of the gorgeous waterfalls to visit in Colorado.
Rifle Falls State Park also offers campsites and picnic tables for you to enjoy during your visit.
Pro Tip: If you are feeling adventurous, check out the caves underneath the falls!