Adams Falls, Colorado

Adams Falls in Rocky Mountain NP (August 2009)

Adams Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park. The town of Grand Lake is a nice little town, though the food was rather expensive. At the end of West Portal Rd., you’ll find the parking area for the falls. As you hike the short distance to the falls, you’ll see some spectacular views of the Rockies.

Once you get to Adams Falls, though, you may be slightly disappointed. The falls are actually more than appear in the picture, but it is almost impossible to get a picture of the lower drops that are considerably more interesting. I couldn’t even see some of the drops. What you’re left viewing is a small portion of the falls. The actual beauty isn’t really contained in the falls, but the background around the falls.

Directions:

  1. From US-34 in Grand Lake, head east on CO-278/West Portal Rd.
  2. Drive to the end of West Portal Road, where you’ll find the parking area for the trail leading to Adams Falls. The trail goes beyond Adams Falls, though the hike is only 0.3 miles one-way.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 25′ (?)
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Adams Falls?

Upper Copeland Falls, Colorado

Upper Copeland Falls in Rocky Mountain NP (August 2009)

I have to wonder why they decided to call this specific drop Upper Copeland Falls. Along Copeland Creek, there are actually multiple drops. The drops that have been designated Upper and Lower Copeland Falls are large enough to be considered more than cascades, though they are other drops on the creek that are just as large (or small, depending on how you look at it). The main reason to visit Upper Copeland Falls is more for the scenery along the hike than it is to see these two falls. Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, which are further along the trail, are also far more interesting.

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 Upper Copeland Falls is very clearly marked.

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

Where in the World is Upper Copeland Falls?

Ouzel Falls, Colorado

Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park (August 2009)

Ouzel Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s also one of the longer hikes we did in the park, though there are other falls that are far less accessible than this one.

As your hiking pass Ouzel Falls, you’ll pass by Lower and Upper Copeland Falls and the Calypso Cascades. You’ll also get great views of the Rocky Mountains along the way. The total hike comes in just under 6 miles round-trip, and so it is a longer hike. The trail is rather uneven, especially during the second half, which makes the hike more moderate. During August, it was rather warm, even at these higher elevations, so bring water and food. It also rains rather consistently in the afternoon, so if you set off later in the day, an umbrella/poncho might be useful.

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. You’ll pass Lower Copeland, Upper Copeland, and Calypso Cascades on your way to Ouzel Falls. The hike is a little under 3 miles one way.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 5.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Ouzel Falls?

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?

Silver Cascade Falls, Colorado

After visiting Seven Falls and being somewhat disappointed, we decided to find Helen Hunt Falls, and in the process found Silver Cascade Falls. You’ll first see Helen Hunt Falls, and then a short hike leads to Silver Cascade Falls.

The benefit about these two waterfalls over Seven Falls is that they are FREE. There is no cost to visit the falls, though I did donate some money for the upkeep, which I totally support. The hike to the falls has fencing, though it’s not exactly that steep or dangerous. The trail is actually very appropriate even for younger children, as there is only a small amount of incline, and the trail is relatively short.

Directions:

  1. Take the Nevada exit from I-25 in Colorado Springs.
  2. Take Nevada Rd. south until you reach Cheyenne Boulevard. Head west on Cheyenne Blvd.
  3. The road will fork. Follow the sign for Helen Hunt Falls, which will be the right fork. From there the parking area will be a short distance from that fork on your left.
  4. At the parking area, there will be the visitor’s center, and the start of the trail to Silver Cascade Falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 200′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Silver Cascade Falls in August 2009

Where in the World is Silver Cascade Falls?

Boulder Creek Cascades, Colorado

Boulder Creek Cascades in August 2009

I wasn’t really looking for what I’m calling the Boulder Creek Cascades. What I was looking for was Boulder Falls, which I come to find out are essentially closed to the viewing public. Boulder Creek, which the curving CO-119 follows, is much easier to view at this point in time. (As of 2018, the Boulder Falls trail is still closed, apparently due to 2013 damage…From what I read, there’s finally going to be some work done to stabilize the area.)

As your driving along the road, you’ll see Boulder Creek taking many small drops. At points, there are rapids, while at other points the drops are a little larger, though still not significant. The Boulder Creek Cascades go on for miles and miles, so the picture to the right is just one of the many photographs you’ll be able to take.

Directions:

  1. From Boulder, head west on CO-119.
  2. The many stops along the road allow for many great views of Boulder Creek.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 6′ (with other drops along the creek)
Length of Hike: not applicable/roadside

Where in the World are Boulder Creek Cascades?

Unnamed Falls, Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado

As you’re hiking to Ouzel Falls from the Wild Basin trailhead, you will pass multiple named waterfalls including Upper and Lower Copeland Falls and Calypso Casacades. In between those falls, you can actually find multiple other drops along the river. Some of the drops are probably not significant enough to be recognized, while others are actually rather large. I think this drop here might be just as large as Lower Copeland Falls, if not larger.

I guess the only thing is that it is harder to view this falls. The only good vantage point is from above. There might be a way to get to the bottom of the falls, but I’m not sure how safe that would be…Even so, this hike contains some beautiful scenery and some beautiful falls.

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. This falls will be past Copeland Falls, but I think it is before Calypso Cascades.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 2.0 miles round-trip (to this falls)

A drop on the Copeland River in Rocky Mountain NP (August 2009)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls?

Seven Falls, Colorado

Seven Falls in August 2009

Seven Falls is much better in picture than in person. That is the moral of this waterfall. I paid $8 to visit this falls, and was surprisingly disappointed. First of all, I guess it doesn’t help that I’m not a big fan of heights, and to get up close and personal with the falls, you’ve got to walk on some very shaky stairs without anything below.

Beside that, I just wasn’t impressed in person, at least not considering how much I paid to visit it. There are other more interesting falls that are free in the area. I have to admit, though, that the photos of the falls are really cool. The rock colors around the falls are just amazing. The best place I found to view the falls is by taking the elevator up to a viewing platform.

A ranger at the site at Helen Hunt Falls and Silver Cascade Falls suggested taking the Mount Cutler Trail (map) in the North Cheyenne Canyon area, which he said leads to a good view of Seven Falls without the added costs. We didn’t end up trying it.

Directions:
I had a terrible time finding this falls, so I’m going to defer to the Seven Falls website to get directions to this falls. Your best bet if you have a GPS would be to enter the following address into the system:

2850 S. Cheyenne Canyon Road
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

Accessibility: 10/10
Height: 181′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Seven 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?

Cascade Falls, Colorado

Cascade Falls in August 2009

I’ve been visiting various waterfalls in Colorado, and I’ve had mixed feelings about them. Some are beautiful, while others have been disappointing. Cascade Falls was one of the more beautiful ones, so I’ve decided to give it precedence.

Cascade Falls is found on the outskirts of the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park. Cascade Falls can be accessed from the North Inlet Trail right in Grand Lake (the western entrance of the park). The trail to the falls is extremely pleasant, and has only very brief inclines. The total elevation gain is listed as 300′, but it didn’t seem to bad, at least compared to some other falls I’ve visited.

Even so, bring something to drink and wear sunscreen. The trickiest part of the climb is the elevation (at 8000’+). Being from Michigan (at 700′ above sea level), it isn’t too bad, but I can still feel the effects. I think it just has a tendency to wear me out more than usual. The trail to the falls roundtrip is 6.8 miles, which I can handle.

Directions:

  1. You’ll be heading north on US-34 toward Grand Lake.
  2. As you approach Grand Lake, you can head straight and enter the park, or veer to the right and head toward Grand Lake. Head RIGHT.
  3. After a short distance, you’ll come to another choice. My first instinct is to keep going, but instead, take the offshoot to the left, staying on W. Portal Rd.
  4. A little distance after splitting off onto W. Portal Road, pay attention for a sign indicating the trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. It’s very easy to miss the sign, especially if you’re coming from the opposite direction. I’m not even sure there is a sign in the opposite direction.
  5. Turn left onto the road leading to the trailhead.
  6. Turn right into the parking area for the East Inlet Trail. From there, connect onto the trail and start your journey.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 6.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cascade Falls?