There’s no greater reward after a long hike than basking in the mist of a waterfall. You’ve put in the miles. You’ve earned it. If you love killer views, you’ll want to ignore TLC’s warning and go chase these stunning waterfalls.
This moderately difficult hike is tucked away in Staunton State Park near Conifer. With about 1,500 feet in elevation gain, you’ll definitely earn your jaw-dropping views of Elk Falls. You’ll want to leave yourself with plenty of daylight to bag this 12ish-mile out-and-back hike, which follows the Chimney Rock and Elk Falls trails and meanders through terrain of all types. Dense forests, prairies, majestic rock formations – you’ll see it all on your way to the 75-foot falls. Make sure you stop for a break – and to take in the sights – at Elk Falls Pond.
Getting there: Staunton State Park, one of Colorado’s newest state parks, is about an hour’s drive west of TAVA Waters via Highway 285. Want to know the best way to get there? Colorado Parks & Wildlife has the scoop.
Ouzel Falls, one of many wondrous waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park, is a roaring 40 feet tall. You’ll pass a number of attractions, including Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and Lower Copeland Falls, on your 2.7-mile journey to Ouzel Falls. Beginning at the Wild Basin Trailhead, this 5.4-mile round-trip hike gains 870 feet in elevation and reaches a peak elevation of 9,370 feet. All the hard work is worth it, though, thanks to the endless forest and rock views. And don’t limit yourself. Rocky Mountain National Park has its fill of waterfalls. Other gems include Fern Falls, Alberta Falls, and Ypsilon Falls.
Getting there: At about 80 miles northwest of TAVA, this one’s a bit of a haul. The Wild Basin Trailhead is about 15 minutes from Allenspark in the southeast corner of Rocky Mountain Park. See more detailed directions here.
Venture south toward Colorado Springs for our finale, Catamount Falls. Marvel at the Pikes Peak-fed falls at the end of this steep, switchback-heavy hike, which is just under 5 miles long. A highlight along the way is the Garden of Eden, a beautiful meadow dotted with wildflowers, and the views of Pikes Peak are amazing. This hike makes for a great day trip.
Getting there: The trailhead is located in the tiny town of Green Mountain Falls, which is just outside Colorado Springs and less than two hours from your TAVA Waters home. Check out Visit Colorado Springs for detailed directions and more trail info.
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