Waterfalls in Colorado are some of the most beautiful and breathtaking natural wonders in the United States. With its towering mountains, deep canyons and rocking mountain wilderness, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this state to experience their beauty. Waterfalls have always been a source of inspiration for artists in the state. Their cascading streams that create gentle ripples down rocky cliffsides to thundering gushers that plunge hundreds of feet, it’s easy to see why people want to get a glimpse into the raw power of mother nature.
The Rocky Mountains offer some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Colorado, with numerous trails leading visitors through rugged terrain before arriving at these majestic sites. Maroon Bells Twin Falls is one such spot with two powerful falls dropping into an emerald pool surrounded by wildflowers below. Hanging Lake Trail near Glenwood Springs is another that leads hikers along a winding path until they reach one of Colorado’s most beloved waterfalls, Hanging Lake Falls (also known as Spouting Rock).
Other notable waterfalls include:
- Cascade Falls near Breckenridge which features two tiers descending from high up on Hoosier Pass
- South Boulder Creek Falls located close to Eldorado Canyon State Park
- Calypso Cascades situated beside Staunton Ranch Park outside of Boulder
- Seven mile Creek near Durango where you can find seven different levels dropping more than 200 feet altogether
- Bridal Veil Falls tucked away inside Telluride, North Clear Creek Falls east of Silverton featuring several ledges spilling into one larger shower below
- Fish Hatchery Falls found within Gunnison National Forest boasting multiple levels with colorful foliage surrounding it during autumn months
- Chasm View Nature Trail nearby Ridgway offering views from atop Pyramid Peak overlooking Dallas Divide Basin & Upper Cimarron Valley then ending at Chasm View Fall which drops 100 feet over granite walls down into Cimarron River Gorge below
15 Best Waterfalls in Colorado
1. Rifle Falls – Rifle Falls State Park
Rifle Falls State Park is a Colorado state park located near the actual town of Rifle. The park features a 70-foot waterfall that cascades down an eroded limestone canyon and plunges into a small pool below. The falls are situated on the north side of East Rifle Creek and quite popular with both locals and travelers due to it’s accessibility.
A short trail leads visitors to the base of the falls for up close views and photo opportunities. The surrounding canyon walls provide shelter from wind and noise, making it an ideal place to relax and take in nature’s beauty. In addition to this stunning waterfall, Rifle Falls State Park offers visitors plenty of recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hiking trails, wildlife watching and more.
Although this Colorado waterfall can be enjoyed as a day of fun, we recommend trying to make a weekend trip out of it and camp out for the night. With all the activities in the area you need at least 2 days to really capture the beauty of this place.
There are several cabins available for rent at reasonable rates as well as several picnic areas throughout the park where you can stop for lunch or snacks while enjoying your day outdoors. Rifle Falls is also home to some unique geological formations such as hoodoos (tall thin spires made out of sandstone) caused by running water from streams like East & West Rifle Creeks flowing through them. These hoodoos can be seen along many hikes throughout this area including those leading up towards Mount Baldy & White Rocks Peak which offer spectacular views overlooking both valleys below!
Address: 5775 Highway 325, 10379 CO-325, Rifle, CO 81650 | Phone: (970) 625-1607 | Website
2. Bridal Veil Falls – Telluride
Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful, cascading waterfall located in Telluride, Colorado. The falls are one of the most popular attractions in Telluride and can be seen from many vantage points throughout town. At 365 feet tall, Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado.
This natural wonder has become an iconic symbol of Telluride’s wild beauty and stunning scenery. Travelers from all over the nation come to the area for its breathtaking views, vast hiking trails, and peaceful atmosphere. Access to Bridal Veil Falls is rather easy with several trails available. You can drive up to the top of the falls where to enjoy panoramic views overlooking downtown Telluride. From here you can also see all sorts of wildlife including deer, elk, bighorn sheep, marmots and more. There are also several picnic areas near the top so visitors can spend some time taking in nature’s beauty before heading back down into town.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just want to experience some breathtaking scenery first hand – there’s no denying that Bridal Veil Falls is one of nature’s greatest wonders!
Directions from Telluride: Map
3. Maxwell Falls – Evergreen
Maxwell Falls is a fairly small waterfall located in Evergreen, Colorado. However, this natural wonder is one of the more popular attractions in the area and draws visitors from all over due to it’s closeness to Denver. The falls are formed by Maxwell Creek as it cascades down a rocky ravine surrounded by evergreens.
The hike to Maxwell Falls begins at the parking lot off of Upper Bear Creek Road near Evergreen Lake Park and takes about an hour roundtrip depending on your pace. It’s considered an easy hike with minimal elevation gain, but there are some sections where you will need to climb over rocks or cross small streams so make sure to wear proper shoes for stability and support.
When you reach the falls themselves, be prepared to be amazed as they come into view! Take time to admire their beauty and enjoy the peacefulness of nature around you before heading back down the trail. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like birds, deer, elk and other animals that call this area home. No matter how many times you visit Maxwell Falls in Evergreen CO., it’s always just as breathtaking each time!
Address: 7627 S Brook Forest Rd, Evergreen, CO 80439 | Directions from Evergreen, CO: Map
4. Hanging Lake – Glenwood Springs
Hanging Lake in Colorado is a stunningly beautiful waterfall that cascades over multiple tiers of travertine rock. The milky blue-green waters of the lake flow down from a hanging valley, and thus how it got its name. With it’s easy access, short hike, and stunning views, it’s easily one of the most popular waterfalls for both locals and travelers to enjoy in Colorado.
Visitors to Hanging Lake will be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of this hidden gem nestled in Glenwood Canyon. The turquoise waters cascade down several rocky ledges before collecting in the tranquil pool at the bottom. Although most don’t tend to jump into the swimming hole, there is a trail that leads to the back of the falls where you can stund under the plunging waters. The area around Hanging Lake has been designated as a National Natural Landmark due to its incredible landscape and outstanding scientific value.
There are numerous trails around Hanging Lake as well that allow hikers to explore everything from steep canyons to alpine meadows. Winter brings snowshoeing opportunities for those looking for more adventurous terrain!
Directions from Denver: Map
5. Booth Falls – Vail
Booth Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the White River National Forest near Vail, Colorado. It is one of the most popular and picturesque spots in the area. The falls are situated on Booth Creek and cascade down a steep cliff face for about 200 feet before spilling into a tranquil lake below.
The hike to Booth Falls begins at Piney Lake Trailhead, which is easily accessible from US Highway 24. From there, it’s a rather steady incline through aspen groves until you reach an overlook of Piney Lake and the Gore Range beyond it. After taking in spectacular views of the valley below continue past several switchbacks up towards Upper Piney Lake where you can take a break before heading towards Booth Falls itself. Once you arrive at Booth Falls, be prepared to be amazed by its beauty!
You’ll find yourself standing beneath towering cliffs with water cascading down them in multiple tiers with each tier providing more incredible sights than the last. The best time to visit this natural wonder is during spring or summer when wildflowers are blooming along your path and snowmelt flows over the falls creating an even more breathtaking experience!
Directions from Vail: Map
6. South Mineral Creek Falls – Silverton
South Mineral Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Colorado’s San Juan National Forest. It is one of the more popular waterfalls in the southern part state as its beauty attracts people from New Mexico as well. The falls are located near Silverton, just off Highway 550 on South Mineral Road. The spectacular sight of South Mineral Creek Falls can be seen from about 100 yards away when approaching it by foot.
The impressive cascade drops nearly 40 feet into a large pool below and creates a mist that drifts up to meet you as you approach. The surrounding area is full of wildlife and evergreens, providing a magical backdrop for this natural wonder. Hiking trails lead to beautiful overlooks where visitors can get an even better view of the falls without having to get too close to them, although there are plenty of spots along the trail where you can take amazing photos!
For those who want more adventure, climbing down next to the falls is possible. However, it should only be attempted by experienced hikers due to slippery rocks and strong currents at certain times of year. No matter how you choose to experience South Mineral Creek Falls, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!
Directions from Silverton: Map
7. Seven Falls – Colorado Springs
Nestled in a stunning canyon just outside of Colorado Springs, Seven Falls is one of the most impressive and unique natural attractions in all of Colorado. The series of seven cascading waterfalls stretch for 181 feet, with each fall ranging from 8 to 32 feet high. A winding staircase takes visitors up 224 steps to the top, where they can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding canyon walls and crisp mountain air.
The falls are part of South Cheyenne Creek and were formed by millions of years of erosion on granite bedrock. This natural process has created some truly remarkable formations such as nearby Rainbow Falls, which appears to be illuminated with a rainbow-like spectrum when sunlight hits it at certain angles. Visitors will also find an old gold mine shaft near the base that was once used by miners during the gold rush days in Colorado Springs.
Seven Falls is open year-round but is especially popular during summer months when temperatures are warm enough for swimming in the pools below or simply wading along its banks.
Directions from Colorado Springs: Map
8. North Clear Creek Falls – Lake City
North Clear Creek Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Colorado. Located near Lake City, this waterfall has a total drop of 45 feet and spans across 300 feet. The falls can be seen from the road, but if you’re brave enough to venture down the steep trail into its depths, you will be rewarded with an even more stunning view.
The color of North Clear Creek Falls changes throughout the day depending on how much sunlight it receives and what time of year it is. In springtime when snowmelt is at its peak, you can witness shades of blue-green as well as white foam cascading over rocks and boulders that line the bottom. During summer months or after heavy rains, vibrant turquoise hues are visible against emerald green foliage surrounding it. Autumn brings warm oranges and yellows for a truly magical experience! No matter when you visit North Clear Creek Falls in Colorado, it’s sure to take your breath away!
With its towering height combined with majestic colors that reflect off each pool below—it’s no wonder why so many people flock here year-round to admire its beauty!
Directions from Lake City: Map
9. Fish Creek Falls – Steamboat Springs
Fish Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the Routt National Forest near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The falls are approximately 30 feet tall and cascades down into a large pool at its base.
The hike to Fish Creek Falls is rather easy and starts off with a climb up a dirt road that leads to the top of the falls. From there, you have stunning views of both nearby Steamboat Springs and far-off mountain peaks while also enjoying the fresh mountain air. Once you reach the base of the falls, you’ll be able to witness the waters crashing down over rocks before entering a deep blue pool below. This is one of many spots along this trail where visitors can take in breathtaking views or even jump in the swimming hole.
At night time, Fish Creek Falls takes on an entirely different feel as soft moonlight illuminates the waterfall. Campers who come here after dark are treated to spectacular displays of stars overhead with the sounds of the rushing waters. Many locals consider Fish Creek Falls one of Colorado’s best places for stargazing.
Directions from Steamboat Springs: Map
10. Helen Hunt Falls – Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls is another cascading waterfall located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is named after Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, an American writer who wrote about the plight of Native Americans in the late 19th century. The falls are part of Seven Falls, a series of seven waterfalls that cascade down from Cheyenne Canyon to South Cheyenne Creek.
The main attraction at Helen Hunt Falls is its majestic sixty-foot drop over several tiers of rock formations into a swimming hole below. A wooden bridge spans across the top portion of the falls and provides people with spectacular views as they cross it and look down on the roaring waters below. You can also take advantage of nearby trails which offer access to other parts of Seven Falls such as Inspiration Point and Echo Park.
Helen Hunt Falls offers several other activities in the area such as swimming, fishing, camping, and picnicking areas. There’s even an interpretive center where visitors can learn more about the local history, geology, and wildlife through interactive exhibits and programs offered by park rangers throughout the year.
Directions from Colorado Springs: Map
11. Horsetooth Falls – Fort Collins
Horsetooth Falls is another locally voted best Colorado waterfall located in Larimer County, Colorado. It is situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and can be found along Horsetooth Mountain Park’s trails. The falls cascade down about 70 feet over rocks and boulders, creating an incredible sight to behold!
It was also once a popular spot for miners during the Gold Rush days. Today, it remains one of Colorado’s most beautiful natural attractions and draws thousands of visitors each year from all over the world. Visitors can hike up to see both upper and lower sections of Horsetooth Falls or enjoy views from afar while picnicking at any number of nearby overlooks such as Soderberg Trailhead or Poudre Canyon Overlook.
There are several hiking trails that lead up to different sections of the falls where you can take photos, observe wildlife, and simply soak in nature’s beauty. Its stunning scenery makes it easy to understand why so many people flock here every year, especially during summer when temperatures reach their peak.
Directions from Fort Collins: Map
12. Ouzel Falls – Estes Park
Ouzel Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. This breathtaking cascade of water tumbles down from the Ouzel Lake, which lies at an elevation of 9,785 feet above sea level. The falls measure approximately 30 feet and are surrounded by evergreen trees and vibrant flowers.
The best time to visit Ouzel Falls is during late spring or early summer when the snow has melted away and the runoff creates a powerful rush of white-water that cascades over its rocky ledges. People can take advantage of one of the several short trails that lead up to the base of this majestic waterfall for exceptional views and photo opportunities. this is another place we recommend as a weekend getaway as their are some great campsites nearby.
Directions from Estes Park: Map
13. Forsythe Falls – Boulder
Forsythe Falls is a beautiful waterfall located near Boulder, Colorado in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The falls are part of the North Fork Big Thompson River and cascade down from an elevation of 9,240 feet to 8,540 feet. This stunning waterfall is one of many attractions in the national park that make it such a popular destination for hikers and sightseers.
The hike to Forsythe Falls is relatively easy. It’s roughly a 3 mile round trip with minimal elevation gain. It’s also possible to reach the falls by driving on Trail Ridge Road until you reach the trailhead at Sprague Lake which takes only a few minutes from Estes Park or Grand Lake entrances into Rocky Mountain National Park. Once you arrive at Forsythe Falls, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views as well as opportunities for fishing, swimming and wildlife viewing!
The area surrounding Forsythe Falls offers plenty of outdoor attractions as well including miles of hiking trails and camping spots to pitch a tent.
Directions from Boulder: Map
13. Box Canyon Falls – Ouray
Box Canyon Falls is a natural waterfall located in Ouray, Colorado. The falls are part of the Uncompahgre Gorge and drop into a deep canyon below. Box Canyon Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Ouray County, drawing thousands of visitors each year to witness its majestic beauty.
The falls are accessible via a trailhead at the top of the gorge or by taking an aerial tramway from nearby downtown Ouray. From either vantage point, you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and cascading waters as they make their way down to the base of Box Canyon Falls. Be prepared for some steep terrain when hiking to reach this destination.
At the bottom, there are some additional viewing platforms that provide upclose experiences with Box Canyon Falls. This is where most people snap photos with their family and friends. Nearby you can take a quick break at a local café and gift shop onsite that serves snacks and souvenirs.
Directions from Ouray: Map
14. Zapata Falls – Great Sand Dunes National Park
Zapata Falls isn’t a very well known waterfall, but still makes our list as one of the best in the state. The falls are fed by Zapata Creek, which flows down the side of Music Mountain before plunging over an 85-foot drop into a deep pool surrounded by steep walls.
Even just arriving at the parking area to access the waterfall is a sight to behold. Many spend just as much time here capturing views of the Great Sand Dunes as they do the waterfall. Any direction you look you’ll find breathtaking views such as the Sangre de Cristos and the San Luis Valley mountain peaks. If you can time your visit to Zapata Falls just right, as you make your way back down in the evening, you can capture probably the greatest Colorado backdrop as the sunset lights up the area in pinks and gold.
The reason this waterfall isn’t as popular as some other as it isn’t as easy to get to as most. You do need to trek through some water, scale rocks, and even balance yourself across a log bridge. It isn’t as dangerous as it sounds and we think it adds a great deal to the exploration of the area. After a half mile you will finally reach your destination.
Directions from Colorado Springs: Map
15. Adams Falls – Rocky Mountain National Park
Adams Falls is the last picturesque waterfall on our list located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The falls are situated near the headwaters of the North Fork Big Thompson River and can be accessed via a short hike from Bear Lake Road. The 40-foot Adams Falls cascades over large boulders that have been worn smooth by years of erosion.
At certain times during summer months when water levels are high enough, you can also enjoy some activities like kayaking or tubing down sections of river directly adjacent to Adams Falls. It’s not often you find such a great attraction that allows a full day of water activities.
Direction from Fort Collins: Map
Map and Directions to Colorado Waterfalls
Check out our Colorado Waterfalls Map for even more locations and directions on some of the states best falls to visit.
Types of Waterfalls You Will Find in Colorado
Here’s a look at some of the different types of waterfalls you can find in Colorado:
Cascading Waterfall – Cascading waterfalls are perhaps the most common types of waterfall found in Colorado. These type typically form when a river runs over several rocks and drops down from one level to another, creating multiple tiers or steps along its course. Examples include Cascade Falls near Estes Park and Fish Creek Falls near Steamboat Springs.
Plunge Waterfall – Plunge waterfalls occur when there is a single drop off point for an entire stream or river before it hits the bottom pool below. The vertical descent creates a powerful force as it crashes into its surrounding area making these type of falls particularly impressive sights to behold! Some notable plunge falls include Horsetooth Falls near Fort Collins and Chasm Falls on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Segmented Waterfall – Segmented waterfalls form when two separate streams join together then cascade down over rocky terrain with several levels that create stair-like sections along their journey downwards towards the base. Examples include North Clear Creek Falls located just outside Creede and South Saint Vrain Creek Falls near Allen’s park which features three distinct segments all within close proximity to each other!
Tiered Waterfall – Tiered waterfalls feature multiple levels where each tier contains its own set of smaller drops that eventually lead up to larger ones higher up until finally reaching their final destination at either a plunge point or segmented formation depending on what type they may be classified as. Notable tiered examples in Colorado include Granite Falls located inside Arapaho National Forest and Roaring River Fall found within White River National Forest.
Blocky/Sheet Flow – Blocky/sheet flow is not necessarily considered a “true” waterfall but rather more like rapids due to their wide spread across an entire stream bed without having any visible break points between individual drops or tiers outlined by rocks. Some popular blocky/sheet flows worth checking out would be Big Thompson Canyon Rapids situated right outside Loveland as well as Eagle Rock Rapids located further south closer towards Canon City.
Colorado Hiking Trails with Waterfalls
One of the most popular hiking trail in the state is located near Boulder at Eldorado Canyon State Park. This moderate hike takes people past several majestic waterfalls including South Boulder Creek Falls and Fowler’s Falls. The 2-mile round trip trek follows a well-marked path that winds up alongside both falls before looping back around to the beginning point. It’s an ideal spot for anyone who wants to spend a day out in Colorado’s wilderness.
Rocky Mountain National Park is another extremely popular area for one to find hiking trails that lead to several waterfalls in the state. The more common trailheads will take you miles into the wilderness where you can enjoy breathtaking views of mountain peaks and wild life before rewarding you with places like Ouzel Falls and Alberta Falls. Both falls require a bit more effort than Eldorado Canyon mentioned above as they involve climbing uphill on rocky terrain but the payoff is worth it.