If you thought Rocky Mountain National Park was a waterfall paradise then we hope you’re sitting down. The state of Colorado has over 200 documented waterfalls, 2000 streams and lakes, 20 separate mountain ranges, and the headwaters of some of the West’s most important rivers. Though there are no falls on the scale of Yosemite National Park or Yellowstone National Park, there are plenty of options to keep waterfall enthusiasts busy.
North and South Platte Rivers Drainage (Denver, Boulder, Front Range)
The North and South Platte River Drainage is an unique juxtaposition of mighty mountains and flat endless plains. There are several waterfalls in this area spread out across the Front Range, including Boulder Falls and Cherry Creek (Castlewood) Falls near Denver. Due to the Front Range’s dry climate, falls typically run during spring months and drift off during the fall.
The Arkansas River Drainage (Colorado Springs, Sawatch Mountain Range)
Best known for Pikes Peak dramatically cutting off the eastern plains from Western Colorado, the Arkansas River Drainage is a great place to seek out waterfalls. A short distance outside Colorado Springs is Seven Falls, a steep seven-step waterfall dropping 181 feet down a solid granite face. Multiple viewing areas and lights that light up the fall at night provide plenty of opportunity for the perfect photograph. A few other falls in the drainage include Helen Hunt Falls, Catamount Creek Falls, and Apache Falls.
The Rio Grande River Drainage (South Central Colorado)
Bordering the Sangre De Cristo Range and La Garita Mountains, this drainage is home to several stunning waterfalls and wilderness stretches. It is also home to North Creek Falls, strongly believed to be the most photographed waterfall in Colorado. The scene is striking: a flat marshy plateau dramatically ending, clear creek leaping 100 feet down into the dark depths of the sudden canyon. Shooting during springtime can enhance the imagery since the marshy landscape is typically green and filled with lush vegetation. Other key waterfalls in this area include South Clear Creek Falls, Saguache Falls, and Zappa Falls.
The San Juan and Dolores Rivers Drainages (Southwestern Colorado)
Featuring the San Juan Mountain Range, this section of Colorado is best known for it’s rich archeology and Native American history. There are some solid waterfalls including Hondo Creek Falls, Squaretop Creek Falls, and Fourmile Creek Falls leaping over 120 feet.
Utah is a waterfall paradise, but just like Colorado it typically takes effort to see ribbons of water pouring down from towering red rock walls. One of the most famous and easily accessed falls in Utah is Calf Creek Falls, located in the southern edge of the state. A 5.5-mile roundtrip hike leads hikers to the falls, a beautiful 126-foot leap into a refreshingly cool pond below. Think of this as a perfect way to escape the sun.
Wyoming is also home to several famous waterfalls, but quite possibly the most spectacular is Yellowstone Falls at the head of The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The falls are broken down into two separate leaps totaling over 400 vertical feet. We have no doubt that the falls will exceed all of your expectations.