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9 Best Colorado Waterfalls

Guest Post From Louis

The state of Colorado is home to more than 80 waterfalls, so if you’re wondering where the best ones are located in this beautiful part of the country, you’re in the right place! This landlocked state has no shortage of stunning nature spots to explore. Colorado is best known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from the desert to the Rocky Mountains and majestic river canyons

Colorado mountains hide some of the most impressive waterfalls in the USA you can enjoy at any time of the year. Once you know what Colorado has to offer, you’ll understand why Colorado waterfalls should be on your bucket list. 

Let’s get started with the best Colorado waterfalls that you can’t miss on your next trip!

Bridal Veil Falls

We’re starting with the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, the majestic Bridal Veil Falls. Crashing down an impressive 111m (364 feet) tall cliff, Bridal Veil Falls are a must-see stop on your Colorado itinerary.

You’ll find Bridal Veil Falls on a popular hiking trail just outside of Telluride. The trail is relatively easy, but there is some climbing required the closer you get to the waterfall.

Plan your visit on weekdays or early in the morning on the weekends as it is a popular trail, and if the car park is full, you’ll have to wait for quite some time until a spot frees up.

Bridal Veil Falls, one of the best Colorado waterfalls to visit
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Bridal Veil Falls. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Box Canyon Falls

Adventure and nature enthusiasts will love Box Canyon Falls. This waterfall is hidden deep in Canyon Creek. There are two ways to reach it, a free nature walk or a paying shortcut through the canyon.If you decide to take the paying trail, you’ll be walking through the narrow canyon on metal bridges and then down a staircase to the falls. 

It is an easy trail and usually takes about half an hour to complete. You’ll find this unique canyon hiking trail with a waterfall just outside the small mountain town of Ouray. There is a parking lot with bathrooms and picnic areas before the trail.

North Clear Creek Falls

If you like to see powerful waterfalls tumbling down steep cliffs, North Clear Creek Falls could be the best waterfall in Colorado for you! Located deep within the Rio Grande National Forest, this waterfall is rushing down over 30m (98 feet) tall cliffs.

An easy way to see this waterfall is from the lookout on State Highway 149. As the overlook is easily reachable by car, you can visit this waterfall at any time of the year. There is also a calm picnic area and toilets at the lookout spot.

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake is one of the most picturesque Colorado waterfalls. This large, turquoise-blue lake is fed by two waterfalls slowly seeping down through the forest and roots of the trees on the upper level of the lake.

Hanging Lake is a very fragile landscape and one of the most popular hiking destinations in Colorado. To protect the environment, a permit is now necessary to access the trail leading to the lake. 
Unfortunately, going for a dip in the lake is strictly forbidden, so save it for the swimming pool at home.  If you visit in the winter, as the temperature drops and snow covers the ground, two waterfalls feeding the lake freeze, creating a stunning ice waterfall sculpture.

clear waters of Hanging Lake in Colorado
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Hanging Lake. Photo by Steve O on Unsplash

Fish Creek Falls

The second tallest waterfall in Colorado, Fish Creek Falls cascades down an 85m (278 feet) tall canyon. The waterfall is on a couple of popular hiking trails, and you can reach the bottom pool or observe the waterfall from the upper section trails.

This waterfall is mesmerizing at any time of the year. It is the most powerful in the spring as the snow starts to melt. In the summer, it is very refreshing to feel the coolness of the water as you reach the waterfall after a long hike.

You’ll find Fish Creek Falls just a short ride outside of Steamboat springs or about 3 hours from Denver.

The Broadmoor Seven Falls

Seven Falls is a stop on many tourists’ itineraries and the most popular waterfall to visit in Colorado. As proof of its beauty, Seven Falls is the only waterfall in Colorado to make National Geographic’s list of international waterfalls.

At 55m (180 feet) tall, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in Colorado. In fact, it is a series of 7 cascading waterfalls. The trail to the waterfall is about 1.5km (0.9 miles) long, and you can explore it by climbing the ladders along the waterfalls.

It is a popular spot, with a restaurant and other amenities you could need on a day trip. You’ll find Seven Falls just outside of Colorado Springs.

stairs and visitors near the Broadmoor Seven Falls, one of the best Colorado Waterfalls
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Broadmoor Seven Falls. Photo by Priscilla Gyamfi on Unsplash

Rifle Falls

Rifle Falls State Park is home to one of the most scenic Colorado waterfalls. Those looking to spend a day out in nature chasing waterfalls will get the opportunity to enjoy numerous hiking trails, limestone caves, and diverse wildlife.

You’ll get to see not just the twin waterfall, but the triple waterfall. Three large waterfalls flow peacefully into a calm stream that continues down the trail. You can climb behind the waterfalls and explore small limescale caves. The view from the top of the waterfall is spectacular, and it is quite easy to climb up!

Rifle Falls State Park is located in the west of Colorado, and the closest town is Rifle (surprisingly enough!), about a 3-hour drive from Denver.

Bear Creek Falls

Bear Creek Falls is a majestic waterfall cascading down a cliff through a lush green forest. It is located deep in the Rocky Mountains, close to the historic Victorian town of Telluride, and you can easily walk to the waterfall from the city.

You’ll have to take a short, but steep hike to reach the waterfall. The trail is about 1km (0.6 miles) long, and the stairs on the trail are well maintained.

During the wet season, the waterfall gets quite powerful, so be ready to get wet from the mist as you walk along. It also makes the trail slippery, so be careful and watch your step. It’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit just in case someone does slip.

There is a bathroom at the start of the trail, but no other amenities around.

Maxwell Falls

If you’re looking for a quick nature escape from Denver, Maxwell Falls is one of the closest waterfalls to Denver. Three hiking trails lead to Maxwell Falls, the shortest one is just about 1.5km (0.9 miles) long, and the longest is about 6.5km (4 miles).

You can hike the Maxwell Falls trails at any time of the year, but if you come in the winter you might find the waterfall frozen! The most popular time to visit this waterfall is in the summer when you can dip your feet in the icy cold water.

Maxwell Falls is located just a 45-minute drive from the city center of Denver, great for a family-friendly day trip.

Summary: Best Colorado Waterfalls

That concludes this list of the best waterfalls that should be on your Colorado itinerary!

It’s hard to pick just 9, as this state is filled with natural wonders. With so many waterfalls along trails in this hiking state, there is no better way to end your hike than with a stunning waterfall. 

From the impressive 111m (364 feet) tall Bridal Veil Falls to easily accessible Maxwell Falls on the outskirts of Denver, there is a waterfall in Colorado for every type of traveler.

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