Majestic waterfalls are located all around the Rocky Mountains, many only a short walk from your car. They’re usually at their most explosive between April and May when the snow is melting fast, and some freeze up during winter.
List of Waterfalls in CO
There’s something therapeutic about standing at the base of a waterfall. Add at least one of these unique attractions to your itinerary for a true Colorado experience. Some of the falls freeze up in the winter, providing unique recreation for ice climbers.
Map of Waterfalls in CO
Guide to Visiting Waterfalls in Colorado
These nature-fueled wonders amaze and relax all who are lucky enough to be around them. Waterfalls cascade over the Rocky Mountains, fueled by winter snowmelt, the strongest in spring and early summer.
Nearly everywhere west of the Front Range, you can find exquisite waterfalls due to Colorado’s mountainous terrain and slopes. The best time to go is spring when the winter snow is beginning to melt off and fuel the rivers. Otherwise, a few of the waterfalls turn to ice climbing during winter, attracting a different type of adventurer.
Most waterfalls are located on federal lands open to the public, such as a national park. Therefore anyone can visit with only a short walk from the parking area. Some falls are privately owned or in a state park, and require a day fee.
There are many more waterfalls throughout the Rockies that aren’t listed above. Go exploring enough and you’re bound to find a few. Take time to stop to soak it all in, enjoying the sights and sounds!
Where to find the best waterfalls
If you drive around the Rockies anytime from late spring through early fall, you’ll be able to spot dozens of waterfalls from the roadside. And many, many more are hidden either a short hike from the road or secluded deep in the backcountry.
Colorado Springs is home to a few notable waterfalls, including the colorful, dazzling Seven Falls, the graffiti-tagged Rainbow Falls, and the peaceful Helen Hunt Falls. Each of these waterfalls requires a short trek to reach, with Seven Falls being the tallest and most touristy. It’s probably one of the most visually stunning in the state, lit up at night, and complete with a staircase to the top.
Between Lake City and Creede, the secluded Silver Thread Scenic Byway winds you past two major waterfalls: North Clear Creek Falls and South Clear Creek Falls. The northern one is much larger and awe-inspiring, but you can get up close to the southern one. Add this national scenic byway to your Colorado bucket list!
Within the steep San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, you’ll find a number of great waterfalls. Thanks to Telluride’s breathtaking box canyon, it’s a mecca of cascading water. One of the most notable is Bridal Veil Falls. If you’re looking for something easy to reach on Highway 160, consider Pagosa Springs’ Treasure Falls, which you can view from the roadside, or take a short, but steep hike up to.
Situated in a unique state park, Rifle Falls actually combines a waterfall experience with caves that you can meander through. It’s one of the most unique waterfall experiences you can have here. Tucked away in Northwest Colorado is Fish Creek Falls, which is popular year-round and known for its great ice climbing during winter. It’s another short day hike that requires only a parking fee to access.
Overlooking the vast San Luis Valley, Zapata Falls requires a half-mile uphill hike to the cascades and has picturesque campsites back at the trailhead. Ages Vaille Falls is tucked away in Chalk Creek Canyon, not far from Buena Vista in Nathrop It’s another easy trek from the parking lot that you won’t regret.
As you can see no matter what part of the Rockies you end up in, there are beautiful waterfalls to see, hear and feel. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes with good traction, and be prepared to get wet!
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As you’re planning your next family adventure, keep in mind there are plenty of kid-friendly things…
Colorado is full of natural beauty, preserved at places like federal lands, landmarks, and state parks. Explore their hidden gems year-round.