Happy trails to you complete with autumn colors and plunging water.
Fall is a b-e-a-utiful time to get outdoors. The trails aren’t as crowded, the weather starts to give us a break and the leaves put on a show that simply begs to be seen. Add in a flowing waterfall, and really, what more could you ask for? This autumn, check out these six waterfall jaunts that range from easy to moderate for hikers of all levels.
Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park
Roundtrip 5.4 miles; More Info
What could be better than a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in the fall? Nothing, really. It’s an amazing park with beautiful views and a unique chance to catch elk during rutting season. The park is also a place you can watch Ouzel Fall’s 40 feet of tumbling water in action amid the seasonal colors. You can take a trail to the base of the falls, as well as hike a few miles more to see its origin: Ouzel Lake.
Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Forsythe Falls, Boulder
Roundtrip 2.2 miles; More Info
Forsythe Canyon draws plenty of fall-color seekers for a variety of reasons: It’s easy to get to, dogs are allowed and it’s ideal for all skill levels. It’s a beautiful hike complete with wildflowers, autumn hues, and the 15-foot waterfall. It’s not the biggest waterfall around, but this location is a great choice for kids and others who just want a leisurely stroll.
Elk Falls, Conifer
Roundtrip 10 miles; More Info
Staunton State Park is among Colorado’s newest natural spaces. Trail construction has made it easy to see autumn in its full glory, as well as witness the beautiful 75-foot Elk Falls. The longest hike on the list is rated as moderate and is dog-friendly. Exploring this wilderness is a beautiful way to spend a fall day and still be home by dinner.
Zapata Falls, Great Sand Dunes
Roundtrip less than 1 mile; More Info
This hidden gem is an all-season stunner, tumbling over rocks in the warmer months and freezing to an ice wall in the winter. Zapata Falls cascades around 30 feet down a rocky crevasse in the midst of the Great Sand Dunes, whose beauty is nothing to sneeze at, either. You’ll have to hike over wet rocks to get to the falls, but it’s a must-see sight. Camp at the Zapata Falls Campground and take in the beauty of the national park, as well.
Treasure Falls, Wolf Creek Pass
Roundtrip 1 mile; More Info
Wolf Creek Pass has been hit pretty darn hard by the beetle epidemic, creating a mass of dead trees as far as the eyes can see. However, it still has beautiful aspens to behold and breathtaking views that can’t be beat, including Treasure Falls on the west side of the summit. Legend has it that French prospectors hid a bounty of gold in several locations around the falls. You can try your hand at treasure hunting by making your way up the mountain trail and to the base of the 105-foot falls. Head behind the plunging water to cool off, hear the roar and feel the water spray on your skin.
Bridal Veil Falls
Roundtrip 3.1 miles; More Info
Bring your dogs and hit the dusty trail to this not-to-be-missed natural wonder. The tallest free-standing waterfall in Colorado, Bridal Veil Falls cascades a whopping 365 feet from top to bottom. While you can jeep to the top, a hike will allow you to get up close and personal with this picture-worthy (and then some) site. It’s about 1.5 steep miles to the top, but the switchbacks make it easier, and it is beyond worth the views!
Are there other waterfalls across the state that we missed in our list? Share them with us in the comments below.