13 Waterfalls to Hike to This Spring

As the snow melts, you’re probably getting the itch to go hiking again. But snow melting also means one great thing for hikes — waterfalls are in full force. From some of the more famous waterfalls in Colorado to gushing water that flies a bit more under the radar, these waterfalls right now are as stunning as they get. Lace up your boots, get in your happy spring hiking mood, and let’s go chasing waterfalls.

1. Calypso Cascades

Photo by Richard White via Flickr.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park

The Lowdown: On a hike featuring several waterfalls, Calypso Cascades steal the show. Hike past Copeland Falls before reaching Calypso, where there are plenty of rocks for watching the falls rush down.

2. Elk Falls

Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Distance: 10.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Staunton State Park

The Lowdown: Bet you didn’t even know a waterfall this beautiful could be right in Denver’s backyard? While it’s a bit of a trek on foot, the trailhead is less than an hour from Denver. The trail eventually leads to a highpoint overlook of the falls, giving you a spectacular view of the entirety of the waterfall.

3. Bridal Veil Falls

Photo by John O’Dell via Flickr.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Telluride

The Lowdown: While there are a few Colorado waterfalls named Bridal Veil Falls, the one near Telluride is by far the most epic. It is, after all, the tallest waterfall in Colorado and falls into an expansive canyon. An old hydroelectric power plant, built in 1907, sits atop, giving the falls a charming historical element.

4. Alberta Falls

Photo by Benjamin Hayes via Flickr.

Distance: 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park

The Lowdown: If you’re looking for low effort, high reward, Alberta Falls won’t disappoint. One of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, the trail weaves through aspen groves before giving you a side view of 30-foot Alberta Falls.

5. Fish Creek Falls

Photo courtesy of the USDA Forest Service.

Distance: 4.7 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Location: Mount Zirkel Wilderness, near Steamboat Springs

The Lowdown: If you prefer a short walk, you can get to an overlook a quarter mile into this hike. But if you’re feeling adventurous, the full 4.7 miles will get you up close to the 280 foot Fish Creek Falls. These falls are especially strong this time of year, as they are fed by ski-season snowmelt via the Yampa River.

6. Continental Falls

Photo via AllTrails.

Distance: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Arapahoe National Forest

The Lowdown: Along this trail near Breckenridge, you’ll find great mountain views, lakes, mining site remains, and of course the multi-leveled Continental Falls. Split between granite rocks, the falls cascade gracefully from one crack in the rock to another.

7. Boulder Falls

Photo by Rick via Flickr.

Distance: 0.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Boulder

The Lowdown: If you’re looking for something close to home, Boulder Falls is the way to go. Recently re-opened, Boulder Falls gets you to the action quickly with a short hike and breathtaking waterfall.

8. Catamount Falls

Photo courtesy of AllTrails.

Distance: 6.4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Pike National Forest

The Lowdown: Not one, but three total waterfalls make an appearance on the Catamount Falls trail. Cascading down from Pikes Peak, the Catamount Falls appear in chunks sliding over and between the rocks.

9. Diamond Lake Falls

Photo courtesy of AllTrails.

Distance: 3.4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Indian Peak Wilderness

The Lowdown: Just outside Nederland, Diamond Lake and the subsequent Diamond Lake Falls flow through the lower altitudes of the Indian Peaks. Alongside the trail and cascading falls are newly budded wildflowers this time of year, which only add to the beauty.

10. Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake. Photo by Darian Simon.

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: White River National Forest

The Lowdown: We couldn’t forget this famous gem. Hanging Lake, while very popular, is worth dealing with the crowds to get a good look. One of the most magical scenes in Colorado, two waterfalls gush over moss into the limestone colored Hanging Lake. You definitely have to see this picturesque spot for yourself.

Note: As of May 1, 2019, you need a permit to visit Hanging Lake. Get one here.

11. Fern Falls

Photo by Scrubhiker via Flickr.

Distance: 7.1 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park

The Lowdown: On the less populated east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Fern Lake Trail that gets you to Fern Falls is fairly secluded. The trail follows the Big Thompson River and features some incredible views — as is typical for the park — before you make your way to the falls.

12. South Mineral Creek Falls

Photo by David Kingham via Flickr.

Distance: Approximately 0.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Location: San Juan National Forest

The Lowdown: Outside of Durango, this hidden gem is only a short walk from the South Mineral Campgrounds. The falls lie upstream the South Mineral Creek, which is a brilliant turquoise color contrasted with the red rocks of the area. While this area is a bit further from Denver, it’s well worth a trip.

13. North Clear Creek Falls

Photo by Larry Lamsa via Flickr.

Distance: 0.3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Rio Grande National Forest

The Lowdown: While a very short hike, the area is well maintained with signs that explain the history of the falls. The trail ends at a scenic overlook of the falls.

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