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?

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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?

Unnamed Falls #2, 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. At this specific drop, the river narrows quickly, forcing the water through a very small path, creating an impressive force. The only view of the falls is from above, which can photographing it difficult.

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: 15′
Length of Hike: 2.0 miles round-trip (to this falls)

Unnamed Falls on Copeland River in Rocky Mountain NP (August 2009)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #2?

Calypso Cascades, Colorado

Calypso Cascades in August 2009

At the Wild Basin Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, you can access a number of waterfalls.  The first few, Lower and Upper Copeland Falls, are not extremely exciting.  There are a number of other unnamed falls along the river that are cool, though sometimes hard to view.

The Calypso Cascades are further along the trail, and this is the first impressive falls you’ll see.  This set of cascades is something like 100′ tall.  It’s hard to sense that from the picture since the falls are relatively deep.  It was a little bit difficult to photograph the falls due to the sunlight, but it’s still an impressive and photogenic waterfall, and a photogenic hike in general.  After continuing on, you can visit the very impressive Ouzel 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. You’ll pass Lower Copeland, Upper Copeland, on your way to Calypso Cascades.  Ouzel Falls is found further along the trail.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: ~100′
Length of Hike: 3.6 miles round-trip (to these Cascades)

Where in the World is Calypso Cascades?

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?