The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Colorado

Must-visit Colorado waterfalls include Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs
Must-visit Colorado waterfalls include Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs | © Brian Hartshorn / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kellie Mortimer
28 September 2020

The US state of Colorado has no shortage of natural beauty. Its majestic Rocky Mountains, sand dunes, hiking trails and hot springs are sights to behold, but its waterfalls are arguably the state’s most magical features. From Hanging Lake to Ouzel Falls, here are the best waterfalls to see in Colorado.

Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View

Just an hour outside of Aspen is Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. The lake is fed by a stunning waterfall and gets its name from the way it appears to be hanging on the edge of a mountain. Due to Hanging Lake’s popularity, you will need to make reservations in order to embark on a hike here. Permits can be reserved online and cost $12, which includes a shuttle bus service from the welcome center to the trailhead. The hike is just over 2mi (3km) roundtrip and is on the more difficult side, but the views are worth every step of the way.

Seven Falls, Colorado Springs

Natural Feature
Map View
Seven Falls, Colorado
© aeodice / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
Getting its name from the seven distinctive sections the waterfall is broken up into, Seven Falls trickles down 181ft (55m) of canyon, creating a truly magnificent landscape. Just outside downtown Colorado Springs, Seven Falls is open year round, and visitors have the choice of making the 224-step trek to the top or taking the elevator that’s built into the mountain. The complex also has several hiking trails, a full-service restaurant and a food truck.

Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View
Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, surrounded by pine trees in Telluride, Colorado, USA
© Elisabeth Bender / Alamy Stock Photo

Bridal Veil Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, clocking in at 365ft (111m). Although the falls can be seen from the street, the views from the trail further up are extremely impressive. The 5mi (8km) hike is open from May through October and is moderately difficult with 850ft (259m) in elevation gain. During the winter months, the waterfall freezes, creating a truly unique display and space for some of Colorado’s best ice climbing.

Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View
Bridge and Fish Creek Falls Routt National Forest near Steamboat Springs CO USA
© Christopher Alan Selby / Alamy Stock Photo

The 280ft (85m) Fish Creek Falls is a highlight for visitors to Steamboat Springs. The lower falls are easily accessible for all, with two short options – the quarter-mile (0.4km) gravel trail or the half-mile (0.8km) paved trail, both offering incredible views from the viewing platform. For the more adventurous, the upper falls are accessible via a 5mi (8km) roundtrip trail with significant elevation gain (over 1,600ft, or 488m). Whichever you choose, you’ll get picturesque views year round.

Box Canyon Falls, Ouray

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View

The small town of Ouray, a 40mi (64km) drive from Telluride, is home to some striking landscapes, including the dramatic Box Canyon Falls. The water rushes at a startling rate, with thousands of gallons spilling over the canyon per minute and crashing down to the narrow canyon floor. The 280ft (85m) falls are accessiblevia a staircase, a short hike and a suspension bridge.

Ouzel Falls, Estes Park

Natural Feature, Hiking Trail
Map View

Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Ouzel Falls is just 30 minutes from the charming town of Estes Park. The gorgeous 5mi (8km) hike leads visitors through a lush landscape and through several smaller waterfalls before arriving at Ouzel. The spectacular 40ft (12m) fall cascades into a rocky pool surrounded by green trees and dark boulders.

These recommendations were updated on September 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.