Alberta Falls, Colorado

Alberta Falls in August 2009

Alberta Falls is one of the best waterfalls to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is one of the easier waterfalls to visit in the park, and it is one of the more visually appealing. The hike to the falls is very beautiful as you walk through forests of pines and aspens. You’ll see some amazing mountain scenery along the way. The trip is only about 1 mile one-way, which is shorter than many of the other waterfall hikes in the park.

Getting to the trailhead may be the most complicated part. The parking area directly adjacent to the trailhead is often full very early in the morning. Therefore, the best place to park is earlier along on Bear Lake Rd. There will be signs indicating whether the trailheads further up are full. From there, you can easily jump on the buses that lead to the trailhead. The bus ride there is a little crazy, as some of the sharp curves don’t seem made for buses, but it’s still fun to enjoy the scenery without being the one driving.

Directions:

  1. From Estes Park, head west along US-36 into the park. You’ll have to pay the $20/week entrance fee.
  2. Shortly after entering the park, you’ll turn left onto Bear Lake Rd.
  3. Head down Bear Lake Rd. for a ways. Pay attention to signs indicating whether parking is available. You may have to park in one of the bus lots.
  4. Whether you take the bus or drive further, you want to stop/park at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
  5. From the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, there are very clear signs indicating the directions to Alberta Falls.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Alberta Falls?

Lower Copeland Falls, Colorado

Waterfalls are all relative. Lower Copeland Falls is not exactly that exciting, but that’s partly because it’s near much grander waterfalls. Even so, I never knock smaller waterfalls. They always have their benefits.

Lower Copeland Falls is the first “major” waterfall that you’re going to encounter on your hike to the much larger waterfalls and cascades, Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, which are both found in the southeast portion of Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike one-way to Ouzel Falls is 2.7 miles, whereas the hike to the two Copeland Falls is only 0.4 miles. It is also a less complicated hike, so viewing Copeland Falls is better for those that would rather not walk the longer distance. That’s why small waterfalls can have their benefits.

Directions:

  1. Drive north on CO-7 past Allenspark. A few miles after passing Allenspark, you will see an entrance for Rocky Mountain National Park indicating the Wild Basin Trailhead. Turn left here.
  2. Drive down the road for a very short distance to the park entrance. You can pay the entrance fee here.
  3. Drive down the rather narrow dirt road to the very end. This will be the parking area for the Wild Basin Trailhead. It may be advisable to arrive early in the summer, as the parking area only has 20-25 parking spaces.
  4. From the parking area, begin walking on the Wild Basin Trail. The sign for Lower Copeland Falls is very clearly marked.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 5′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip (to this falls)

Lower Copeland Falls in August 2009

Where in the World is Lower Copeland Falls?