On July 15, 1982, the Lawn Lake Dam above this area in Rocky Mountain National Park, gave way. When this happened, it flooded the park as well as the town of Estes Park. Over 200 million gallons of water poured from the dam. It has receded now and water flows naturally over the rocks that were flung from the original dam in a type of waterfall called – yes – an Alluvial Fan. Water cascading down this rocky hillside is a sight to behold. Just last year, they built a bridge over the roaring river, which makes the incredible views from this location more easily accessible. It’s a short walk from the parking lot, but you should wear closed shoes in any event. It’s really too rocky to hike around there wearing sandals!
2. Chasm Falls – Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the prettiest falls in Rocky Mountain National Park! This waterfall has a 25-foot drop and makes for a lovely, very classical looking waterfall photo. You can hike to it, or you can pretty much drive right up to it. It’s located in the park, right along Fall River and Fall River Road, so you can hike it, or you can simply drive up to it and then take a short walk to several scenic overlooks on the trail to get a good picture.
3. Bridal Veil Falls at Hanging Lake
I never really thought of the falls being separate from the lake, but technically, the water that flows over the rocks there is called Bridal Veil Falls. There’s at least three such-named falls in Colorado that I know of! But this is definitely one of my favorites. This beautiful natural area has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. To get to it, you must hike a very steep 1.1 mile trail. This is one of the most challenging hikes I’ve done and I won’t be doing it again, so I’m glad I got this picture! I hiked it several times when I was younger. In order to get to it now, you must reserve a time to go as they have a reservation system. If you’re up for the hike, you should reserve your time now!
4. Rifle Falls
Located in Rifle Falls State Park, just NE of the town of Rifle, in western Colorado. These falls are the central feature of the park and are easily accessible from the parking lot. This is a 70-foot triple waterfall that flows from the dam above and into East Rifle Creek. I took this photo in the winter and the water is still flowing! Another interesting thing about these falls is that there is a trail that goes back behind where the falls are, with caves that become “ice caves” in the winter. Wear solid hiking boots for this hike! It’s easy to get to, but can be slippery, especially in the winter.
5. St. Vrain Falls
If you’re driving to Rocky Mountain National Park from The Denver Metro Area, you’ll be driving along Hwy 7 to get to Estes Park. Along the way, you follow The St. Vrain River and at one point, this lovely bend in the road that offers a small waterfall. If you decide to hike, there are many other parts to this waterfall that cascade down the side of Long’s Peak. It looks peaceful enough, but people can and do get hurt out here, including by falling into the river. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and don’t get too close to the water’s edge!