Did you know there are waterfalls in Colorado? There is nothing like the sound of the water careening down on rocks below. Not only are you able to go and view these beauties, but also hike around them for some better views and great exercise. Here are a few waterfalls that might be worth visiting on your next outing.
Just west of Colorado Springs in Manitou Springs is Rainbow Falls. Hiking here is easy as it is only a 1/10th mile trip with only a 40 ft. elevation gain. In less than an hour, you can enjoy the views here. Dogs are welcome on a leash. Go under the bridge built in 1934 to get to the base of the falls. The area has been through a lot, including erosion and neglect. People drew on rocks with graffiti and littered the area with trash. When floods came in 2013, people paid more attention to this area and some citizens came together to get funds to restore what is now called the Rainbow Falls Recreation Area. They are slated to construct picnic overlooks here, restore fishing, add connectors to other trails, stabilization of surrounding slopes and more. The historic bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places. There is no fee to hike here, only to do off-roading.
Just a few minutes from The luxurious Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in South Cheyenne Canyon is Seven Falls. Within a 1,250 foot wall box canyon and between the “Pillars of Hercules” is a cascade if falling water dropping down 181 feet. There are two hiking trails available here but you have to climb up 224 steps to get to them and each is a 400 foot climb, so bring your good hiking boots. The Trail to Inspiration Point is one hour round trip. This winding trail provides great views and is also where famed writer Helen Hunt Jackson was buried. The other trail to Midnight Falls is shorter, taking only a half hour round trip. This once was a favorite spot for students at Colorado College to visit. Now, the falls are closed after 6 p.m. For more information, including tickets, visit https://www.broadmoor.com/
Bridal Veil Falls
In Telluride are the tallest free-falling waterfalls in the state. Called Bridal Veil Falls, these waterfalls are 365 feet in height. At the top sits a power plant, the second oldest A/C generation facility in the country. Originally, it was built to supply the Smuggler’s Union Mine back in 1907. The area is best accessed via hiking or biking, but can also be accessed in part by four-wheel drive. Some people enjoy ice climbing here in the winter. By road, it is more than one mile one way to the top. It is an elevation gain of 1,650 feet and the climb is considered moderate. The terrain is rough and uneven and the climb may be difficult for beginners and families. There is also a water crossing that can be dangerous at certain times. The hike begins near the Pandora Mill site on the east side of the box canyon, accessible by driving east through town along Colorado Avenue.
Helen Hunt Falls
In North Cheyenne Cañon Park, you will find Helen Hunt Falls. Drive about 2 ½ miles to the parking area where you can admire the falls, or take a short walk (about three minutes) to to the top. There, you can get a closer view from a bridge that goes across the falls. You also are able to keep hiking upward to Silver Cascade Falls for an overview of North Cheyenne Cañon. Feel free to bring your four-legged friend, but your pooch must be on a leash. The Falls were named after Helen Hunt Jackson, a poet and writer, as well as an activist for the treatment of Native Americans. In the Visitor’s Center, you can find out more about her and about the history of the area. Grab a souvenir from the gift shop on the way out. It is free to hike. You can find out more information at https://coloradosprings.
Hanging Lake—This trail is closed for the foreseeable future! It’s a stunning location but temporarily closed.