Rifle Falls, Colorado

In June, I went on a road trip (social distancing style) from Las Vegas to Michigan. The first waterfall stop on the trip was Lower Calf Creek Falls. The next stop was in Colorado. The waterfalls we visited had to be easy to get to from the main freeways and also had to be shorter hikes. Rifle Falls fits into both of those categories.

From the parking area, it was an easy hike to Rifle Falls, a fascinating waterfall. A sign near the falls says the waterfall likely formed when minerals built up around a beaver dam (or something of that sort). I don’t know if I’ve stopped at any other falls that may have been formed that way. At the falls, there are multiple different viewpoints. It is one of those that definitely changes as you’re looking at it from the sides versus head-on, and that makes it fun to photograph. It’s definitely a waterfall that’s worth a stop if you’re along I-70 in Colorado.

Directions:

  1. We were headed east through Colorado along I-70 and took exit 87 before Rifle.
  2. We then turned left onto US-6, which follows I-70 into Rifle. Before entering Rifle, we turned left onto CO-13.
  3. CO-13 skirts Rifle and then just north of Rifle, we turned right onto CO-325 heading north.
  4. Rifle Falls State Park is on CO-325, but you veer right and then left before arriving. When you reach the Rifle Gap Reservoir, you veer right, and then when CO-325 splits with Road 226, you veer left again. It’s pretty hard to miss Rifle Falls State Park if you stay on CO-325.
  5. From the parking area, you head north to see Rifle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (Easy)

Height: 70′

Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Rifle Falls in June 2020

Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado

There are (at least) two different Bridal Veil Falls in Colorado.  One of them is considered to be the tallest waterfall in Colorado.  The one I’m featuring here is not.  For starters, I did not even know its name for about 3 years.  I just called it I-70 falls, since it was directly off of I-70 in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  As I was searching for other falls just last year, I stumbled upon Bridal Veil Falls, which I quickly realized was a waterfall that I had seen before.

I’m not sure how easy it is to get up close to the falls.  We were driving west along I-70, and stopped in Idaho Springs.  I noticed the falls from across the interstate!  It was almost impossible to avoid getting the fence with the falls, but oh well.  In August, the falls weren’t flowing very intensely.  There is probably more water in early spring.  I’ve also seem some pictures of frozen ice falls during the winter.  This is by no means a falls I’d seek out, but if you’re headed toward Rocky Mountain National Park and you’re passing through Idaho Springs, hunt for Bridal Veil Falls.

Directions:

  1. Well…head west on I-70 through Idaho Springs.  If you stop in a parking area relatively near the freeway, you will likely be able to see the falls. (There does now seem to be a trail that will lead you the water wheel and the falls.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: not applicable/roadside

Bridal Veil Falls in August 2009

Where in the World is Bridal Veil Falls?

Berthoud Pass Falls, Colorado

Berthoud Pass Falls in August 2009

As I’m driving higher and higher in elevation toward Rocky Mountain National Park, I keep thinking there should be some waterfalls somewhere! We’re talking about 10,000′ feet here, and there’s enough elevation change to expect a few along the roadside! Well, there were one or two of them, and I’ve called the easiest to visit Berthoud Pass Falls.

Berthoud Pass Falls is found as your going through the Berthoud Pass, which might be obvious. The pass is found along US-40 after exiting I-70 going toward Winter Park/Fraser, which continues on into Rocky Mountain National Park. There is a pull-off near the highest point which I think is really meant for the awesome views of the valleys far, far below. If you look ahead, you’ll notice a creek cascading down a hill, and this is where the falls (maybe should cascade) are found. In the summer months, others will also likely be exploring the area.  It is a truly beautiful sight early in the day. The wildflowers were exploding along the creek in mid-August. Even if the falls aren’t the most unique, it’s still definitely worth a stop for the overall ambiance.

Directions:

  1. If you’re driving along I-70 past Idaho Springs, this can be found along US-40.
  2. Take the exit for US-40, which starts heading north toward Winter Park and Fraser, continuing on to Granby and Rocky Mountain National Park.
  3. I’m not exactly sure how far it is to Berthoud Pass, but I believe there’s a sign, and the turnoff is relatively obvious.  You will have been heading uphill for a ways as you come along the area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′ (possibly more)
Length of Hike: not applicable/roadside

Where in the World is Berthoud Pass Falls?