Summer is hiking season in Colorado, a time to get out into nature and see it up close and personal, step by step. And if you’re going to exert all that energy on a hike, why not make sure those steps lead you somewhere fabulous?
The state has an amazing array of gorgeous waterfalls, many of you can walk to. Here are a few favorites, named by 5280 magazine:
Maxwell Falls: Just 45 minutes from Denver, near Evergreen, this trail is easy enough for beginners with a payoff that should please anyone. “With fragrant pines, splashy creek crossings, very little elevation gain, and its namesake series of lovely cascades, Maxwell Falls Trail is an ideal close-to-Denver trek for families and visiting flatlanders,” notes 5280. You’ll find the trailhead off South Brook Forest Road, where you can park. Follow the path for about an eighth of a mile. Take a right when you reach a Y intersection.
Booth Falls: This moderately difficult hike near Vail, four miles round trip, takes you to “thundering 60-foot falls.” You’ll enjoy “expansive views of Vail Valley, provided you don’t mind the 1,300-foot elevation gain that will get your heart pumping along with your legs. Cars aren’t allowed to park at the trailhead; plan to take the free East Vail blue line shuttle.
Lower Wild Basin Falls: One of many waterfall hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, this five-and-a-half-mile hike (round trip) offers a triple treat of waterfall sightings: Hike about a third of a mile to Copeland Falls; then trek another 1.5 miles to Calypso Cascades; and in another mile, you’ll find Ouzel Falls, which “plunges over a granite ledge.” Plan to start at the Wild Basin trailhead.
Bridal Veil Falls: It will take a six-hour drive to get to your starting point in Telluride. And once there, be prepared for a strenuous journey during which “you’ll stair-step up boulders and wind through steep rock gardens, exposed root webs and groves of aspen trees.” But the destination is worth the journey. Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest waterfall in Colorado, dropping 365 feet. “At the shore of Bridal Veil’s pool,” notes 5280, you can “stare up at the long sinuous waterfall above, listen to its unique melody, and feel the waves of mist as they disappear into the dry mountain air.” Park near the Pandora Mill at the east end of Telluride.