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16 Most Incredible Waterfalls in Colorado!

8 mins read
waterfalls in colorado
by jpldesigns/UnlimPhotos

Colorado’s natural beauty is unrivaled, with numerous waterfalls and fantastic hikes that can be found here!

Waterfalls in Colorado range from Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest free-falling waterfall in the state, to shorter but equally mesmerizing falls! Some of them are easy to reach, while others provide adventurous hikes, but it is safe to say that all of them are incredible!

But, to make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best waterfalls in Colorado!

Here Are the 16 Most Incredible Waterfalls in Colorado!

1. Bridal Veil Falls

bridal veil falls
by Gary Campbell-Hall/Flickr. Copyright 2008

Staring with the best of the best, Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado, is the state’s tallest free-falling waterfall which plunges 365 feet into a box canyon that also houses Telluride, a picturesque mountain town known for its epic skiing and festivals!

The falls can be frozen and gushing in others, depending on the year you visit. This makes it a popular destination for ice climbers and rock scramblers.

Bridal Veil Falls is accessible via a short but steep hike along a 1.8-mile rocky terrain hike that gains 1,200 feet in elevation. The sight at the top of the falls is well worth it if you want to see the striking beauty of the Southern Colorado Mountains and the sheer force of the gushing Bridal Veil Falls.

2. Seven Falls

Though not as tall as the Bridal Veil Falls, Seven Falls has its charm!

Located just outside Colorado Springs, Seven Falls is one of the most visited waterfalls in Colorado and one of the most impressive! The water cascades 181 feet down a canyon in seven segments, giving rise to the name.

If you don’t want to hike for miles to see a waterfall, this one in Colorado Springs is an excellent option for you! It does not require a strenuous scramble and Seven Falls even has a staircase that leads directly to the top of the falls! You can also get a good view of Colorado Springs and the starting of the Great Plains from here!

These falls are a popular tourist destination all year, whether you come in the winter to see the frozen falls or gush at their fullest in the summer. And don’t be concerned about them running out because Seven Falls is open all year round!

3. South Mineral Creek Falls

South Mineral Creek Falls is another picturesque waterfall near Durango and Silverton in southwest Colorado. The falls drop 55 feet and dazzle visitors with their two-step cascade!

Approximately 35 feet into a glistening turquoise pool surrounded by reddish-brown craggy peaks, the first step descends—the waterfalls another 20 feet from the pool into a narrow gorge.

From Silverton, take the Million Dollar Highway towards the South Mineral Creek Campground, where the hiking trail begins. The South Mineral Creek Falls are located on the South Fork of Mineral Creek, just upstream from its convergence with Clear Creek. The trail follows the creek’s south fork to the falls, located at 9,950 feet.

4. North Clear Creek Falls

north clear creek
by Larry Lamsa/Flickr. Copyright 2014

North Clear Creek Falls, located near Lake City in southwestern Colorado, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Colorado, falling 100-plus feet into a stunning landscape!

Follow the Silver Thread Scenic Byway to Forest Road 510 just after Spring Creek pass to get to North Clear Creek Falls. It’s not exactly a hike, but it’s a nice place to picnic, especially in early summer when the water is gushing! The falls are only a short walk from the road.

5. Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls, located in Colorado Springs’ North Cheyenne Canon Park, is another one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Colorado!

The 35-foot waterfall plunging down a stone wall is enchanting, especially in late spring when it is at its peak due to the melting snow. The falls are also quite lovely when they freeze over in the winter, though the trail can be pretty slippery due to the snow.

Helen Hunt Falls can be reached in a variety of ways. There is a short out-and-back hike right next to the Helen Hunt Falls visitor center and a longer out-and-back hike. Park at the Strasmore Visitor Center and hike four miles down the Lower Columbine Trail to Helen Hunt Falls to take the longer trail. Either way, the trip is going to be worth it!

6. Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls in the Yampa Valley near Steamboat Springs is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Colorado. It is accessible to people of all ages and athletic abilities, thanks to a paved half-mile trail that leads to the bottom of the falls and is suited even for wheelchairs and strollers. You can continue 2.5 miles past the bottom of the falls to reach Fish Creek’s upper falls for a more in-depth waterfall hike.

The Fish Creek Falls, which cascade down 280 feet, is open all year, but they are most impressive in the spring. This is when the snowmelt reaches its peak, and the volume of water increases to the point where a thunderous roar can be heard.

7. Ouzel Falls

ouzel falls
by Adam/Flickr. Copyright 2007

Located in an area known for waterfalls, Ouzel Falls is only about 40 feet long, but it is a stunning waterfall that cascades through a fracture in a mysterious-looking rock wall. The plunge is into a pool of jagged rocks and fallen trees.

The hike to Ouzel Falls, located inside Rocky Mountain National Park near the Estes Park entrance, is one of Colorado’s most beautiful and vibrant waterfall hikes! This 5.4-mile round-trip hike is not easy, but on the trail, you will be surrounded by plenty of greenery and rocks, along with some nearby falls and cascades!

Take the Wild Basin Trailhead for 2.7 miles to get to Ouzel Falls.

8. Zapata Falls

Considered a hidden Colorado gem, Zapata Falls is a 25-foot waterfall that falls into a hidden rocky crevasse!

Zapata Falls is located 3 miles south of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Although the falls are only 0.5 miles uphill from the parking lot, this hike is intended for more daring visitors who don’t mind scrambling over rocks and trudging through icy water.

In the summer, however, this half-mile scramble to the falls is a refreshing experience, and the cool water feels relaxing in this part of the state, which can get quite hot. The view of the dunes from the waterfall hiking trail parking lot is also spectacular.

The dunes can also be seen from the waterfall hiking trail parking lot!

9. Box Canyon Falls

In the little mountain town of Ouray, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Colorado can be found in a visually striking box canyon!

As the name suggests, Box Canyon Falls cascade down 280 feet with a mighty roar! The falls can be seen from all sides thanks to a staircase, a short hiking trail, and a suspension bridge, all of which can be reached from Box Canyon Falls Park, which also has a small visitor center.

The lower trail hike takes you right into the heart of the falls via a walkway and suspension bridge. Another moderate hike from the visitor center also takes you to a bridge above the falls, where you can see the falls’ energy from the top! The echo of thousands of gallons of water rushing by is an unforgettable experience!

10. Horsetooth Falls

horsetooth falls
by Ed Ogle/Flickr. Copyright 2021

Horsetooth Falls is a powerful free-flowing waterfall that cascades down the side of a cliff into a small pool below!

The Horsetooth Falls Loop Trail, located in Horsetooth Mountain Park just outside of Fort Collins, is a 2.9-mile round trip that takes you past Horsetooth Falls, and because it’s a loop, it does not get monotonous with the same scenery every time you come back!

Due to a lack of shade, the trail can become hot in the summer. However, the lack of trees keeps it warmer during the colder months. This area is also home to various animals, including deer and coyotes, seen in the tall grasslands.

11. Continental Falls

Continental Falls rushes just outside of Breckenridge through cracks in the granite sides of the eastern slope of the Mosquito Range.

The hike to the waterfall’s base is a moderate 2.5-mile uphill trek. The trail offers breathtaking views of an old mining operation’s mountains, lakes, and ruins. It’s adorable in the fall when the leaves turn gold and orange! The 1000+ feet of elevation gain require some physical effort, but it’s well worth it.

12. Rifle Falls

Located inside the Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Colorado!

The falls plunge 70 feet down limestone cliffs in three drops, culminating in a cave hidden beneath, and are reachable via a 0.1-mile walk along a paved walkway. Alternatively, a 1.5-mile out-and-back round-trip trail is also available.

You’ll be misted with water from the base of the falls, which is refreshing on a hot summer day. It also leads to a unique landscape with moss-covered rocks and flowers, which are uncommon in this arid region of the state. The caves can also be explored via various hiking trails, and during the winter, the falls freeze into stunning ice columns.

13. Hanging Lake

hanging lake
by Max and Dee Bernt/Flickr. Copyright 2014

While every waterfall on this list is a wonder, this one is something beyond that!

Hanging Lake is located about 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs and is only a long day trip from Denver. This is one of the most unusual natural landmarks you’ll find while exploring Colorado, with a series of waterfalls cascading off a cliff!

The lake is an unusual color for its location, appearing to be part of the sea in a tropical paradise. Still, it also gives the illusion of clinging to the mountain’s edge, resulting in a surreal atmosphere!

The trek to jade-colored Hanging Lake is one of the most popular hikes in the state, so much so that the parks department has begun requiring reservations to hike it, so remember to make reservations in advance!

14. Treasure Falls

Treasure Falls was named after the legendary “Treasure Mountain,” which was chosen by French soldiers looking for a safe place to bury their Spanish-seized gold in the San Juan Mountains. Despite the efforts of many prospectors to locate this legendary mountain and its buried treasure, the location was lost to time, and Treasure Falls was named in its honor.

Because these falls are conveniently located off the highway, about 15 miles east of Pagosa Springs, it’s a great place to take a break, stretch your legs, and enjoy the scenery! If you want to get a closer look, there is a short hike, a 0.6-mile loop that will take you directly to the base of the falls.

15. Bear Creek Falls

Another waterfall in Telluride, Bear Creek Falls, offers one of the best hikes among all the waterfalls in Colorado! It is one of the longer hiking trails, but we assure you it would be a fantastic experience if you were up for it!

The trail meanders through woodland and past wildflower-strewn meadows before arriving at Bear Creek Falls, waterfalls cascading into a pool from a series of craggy rocks. The scenic and serene beauty of the falls at the trail’s end will undoubtedly relieve your exhaustion!

16. Boulder Falls

boulder falls
by Max and Dee Bernt/Flickr. Copyright 2011

Last but not least, this jewel-like waterfall, which cascades down about 70 feet of a rock wall, is accessible via a short hike!

While swimming and rock climbing is not allowed here, you can still have a fantastic experience! You can feel the chilly mist ascending from the serene falls and lose yourself in the sound of the gushing water! Pine trees enclose the area, and you can hope to spot some wildlife!

Boulder Falls is located in Boulder Canyon, 11 miles west of Boulder. It’s a 20-minute drive that’s both easy and scenic!

In addition to these waterfalls, there are plenty of other waterfalls in Colorado that you can visit and enjoy! These include Midnight Falls located in Colorado Springs and plenty of waterfalls in the Rocky Mountain National Park, such as Alberta Falls, Chasm Lake Falls, and Horseshoe Falls! Elk Falls is another great waterfall which is also a relatively recent discovery!

Lastly, there are numerous other natural wonders in Colorado, such as lakes and rivers, which provide scenic beauty and a variety of outdoor fun activities for you!

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