Explore the most popular waterfall trails in San Isabel National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great day hike. Most elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles. Great views of the valley on the assent opening up to meadows. Lots of water at the falls. Trail is well maintained. At mile 3 look for the ground level sign pointing you left to the falls.

hiking
22 hours ago

Great hike! Lots of beautiful views and historical information! Still very snowpacked and lost the trail a couple of times but finished in about 4-5 hours! Definitely worth the hike and will be hiking again mid summer!

backpacking
2 days ago

Our family of four hiked up to the boiler as our first backpacking trip with the kids. Our boys are 8 and 9 and the trail was just about at their max difficulty point on the way up. The uphill sections are broken up with some nice level sections, so it's not too sustained. The stream crossings were a big hit and a mini-adventure each time we got to one. None of the crossings were too hard for the kids to do - just balance on the logs and walk across. The scenery was nice, with a good mix of boulders and trees. There are a good number of fallen trees, some quite recent, but they don't affect hiking on the trail. We saw lots of cool beetles and heard lots of birds.

We made it to the boiler in about 2.5 hours. In that same area are multiple (non-official) campsites. We picked one with some young aspen trees and stream access behind it. It wasn't very far off the trail, but it didn't matter, since no hikers came through after we arrived.

Minor note for those staying overnight: this location must be on a major cross-country airline route. Once the sun went down, we heard airliners going by every few minutes. This definitely took away from feeling you were out in the wilderness. We also heard lots of happy bird noises and a mouse who found some granola in one of the kid's packs.

In the morning we had breakfast, broke down camp, and hiked out in 1.5 hours. It was a pleasant walk out, with a different perspective.

The road in is fine for SUVs and probably most cars. It is only really bumpy after you leave the mountain park (0.9 miles to the trailhead). We passed a road grader smoothing out the road in the mountain park and then hit the somewhat rutted road to the trailhead. I wouldn't hesitate to drive it unless I had a car with low clearance.

Hiked in late April. Trail is open, easy to navigate until you reach the sign that warns you about rock slides and flash floods. After that you're basically on your own. We made it all the way up to the falls which has amazing views, but there's a ton of lose rock and no sure fire way to move around. Hike it with serious caution!

Very beautiful this time of year! Lake is thawed and hardly any snow

I really enjoyed this hike. The trail was well maintained and easy to follow. My favorite view was when we came out of the trees and into a meadow area. Beautiful!

Great trail, beautiful scenery. Friendly people. You can primitive camp near the trailhead in BLM land for free!!!

what a lovely hike! hidden flowers along the way, hummingbirds, a creek, and the falls were amazing!

The falls were beautiful this time of year. First mile is a little tough but the second half is worth the climb!

hiking
9 days ago

Really easy hike with good views. Last stretch to the falls is not really a trail, mostly loose rock. Would not recommend for small children or if you're not sure footed. Not a lot of traffic.

Done in May with no snow. Great moderate trail with lots of tree coverage so you're not in the sun for most of it. The start is the toughest part because of the initial incline and lack of shade but after 15-20 minutes it's very easy and doable. Great spots to picnic by the falls.

hiking
12 days ago

Love this hike, but I’ll write a second review to note that the trail that continues past the sawmill gets very difficult to follow! Soon we hope to go mark it better for ours and everyone’s sakes, wouldn’t want anyone getting lost out there. It’s worth the extra mile to the top of the ridge, the path is marked by rock piles (inuksuk) and trail tape VERY SPARSELY! Please be safe and enjoy the beautiful views!

camping
12 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike! Moderate rating on the maintained trail is accurate, though the trail continuing past the sawmill is harder by far and I would urge anyone going further than the sawmill to bring your own trail markers! The trail is sparsely marked after about a half mile. The extra mile is worth it though! Beautiful view of pikes peak.

Beautiful trail with amazing views!! When I went in mid May there was very little traffic. The trail was very well maintained and the people on the trail were very respectful of nature (we didn’t see any dog poo or trash which is rare for a nice trail in CO). It starts out with a decent incline then after about a mile (if even) it flattens out. I would highly recommend!

If you hate nature, beautiful views, well maintained trails, a bit of a challenge, and friendly people along the way - and would rather post hole all day, soaking the insides of those new boots, this trail won’t be for you.

If however you enjoy all these things, less the snow to the knees, this is a perfect spring hike, enjoy!

hiking
14 days ago

still lots of snow on the trail... if you don't mind cold wet feet and post holing to your hip, it is stunningly beautiful right now. wildflowers peaking out of snow and lots of snow melt runoff making the creek roar. made it to creek crossing, but too much snow and creek running too high to safely make it across. met a wonderful young couple along the way, thanks Sofia and Kevin (Cooper & Barrett too

Still impassable with snow up to your hips. Only made it s few yards before turning back. Definitely need to wait until June for the snow to melt more.

Was an amazing time. Amazing hiking with some amazing scenery.

hiking
26 days ago

Beautiful trail, I went up to the lakes yesterday 4/28. After venable falls the trail is snowed out most of the way. I used alltrails offline maps & the sound of venable creek to navigate up to the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

On April 18, 2018, the trail was in excellent shape. No snow or mud. Creek crossings were easy, except one place about a mile and a half in from the trailhead where a large tree has fallen across the south side.
The Alltrails map depicts the trail ending just beyond the sawmill. But actually the trail continues north up the hill another mile or so to the top of the ridge where you can enjoy some breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and the Arkansas Valley. It makes the total round trip almost eight miles (about four hours), but it's worth the extra effort and time.

We walked this on an afternoon in mid April just as the snow melt was accelerating. This is one of our favourite hikes we've done in a long time; the views throughout the trail are incredible, and the variation in plants and wildlife is amazing.

I'd call this a low-moderate trail. Yes, there is a steep and strenuous climb at the start, but it is not technical and has no scary drops. Beyond that it's just a beautiful walk in the woods that gets easier - and better - as it goes on. Even with endless bird watching and a 40 minute stop at the end, it took us under 4 hours total, so I'd encourage people who are fighting fit to look into the lake route (double this one) and make a full day of it. We were sad we couldn't go further.

Saw a Hairy Woodpecker, plenty of lovely little Mountain Chickadees, some Townsend Solitaires, the lovely Dark Eyed Junco and some very cute little critters running about the wood piles!

The waterfall is incredible - well worth getting to.

When I was a kid I helped build that cabin. Loved hanging out up there for a few days at a time during summer.

The trail was beautiful, it was challenging, but not overly difficult. Unfortunately, I think we went a little too early in the season. About 2miles in, it just got so muddy. We decided to turn back & try again in a few months.

Very easy path to follow. Hardly any snow until just the end of the trail getting to the falls— spiked aren’t necessary but were helpful on the way down. Used the “getting there” feature from this app and it was totally wrong. Found directions to the trailhead from a dif site. Gorgeous views of the surrounding ranges and great workout! Glad we found this gem.

hiking
2 months ago

Went 3/21/2018. There was still a little ice on the ground and some of the creek was frozen. Quit a lot of rock and roots in the trail make it easy to trip. It is very easy at time then other times you have knee high rocks to climb over, with a 20foot cliff on one side of you, so I feel averaging it out, moderate was a fair rating Trail seems well maintained and the road had no major issues for my jeep. Took the dog, he got tired halfway up like we did, but still worth getting to the sawmill, and then to top. At a modest pace with a few breaks on the way there and back we did it in about 3.5 hours. Would go again, but most likely just to hike halfway and camp.

Hiked in the middle of winter on a nice sunny day. Views followed by aspen groves and a few creek crossings made for a scenic hike with lots of packed snow closer to the falls. My 5 and 11 year enjoyed the hike but think about taking lunch or food in general if you have kids. It took my 5 year old about 4.5 hours.

Awesome trail. Hiked it today 3/4/18.

The road: no problem till the last 1/2 mike where it became muddy, snowy, bumpy. If you were really careful you MIGHT be able to get a regular passenger car all the way to the trail head. I would recommend a high clearance 4wd for the road conditions at this time, or you could just park on the side of the road before you get to the bad spot.

The trail: about 40% mud/ice/snow covered but manageable if you’re fairly sure-footed. Just wear boots/shoes with good traction and be mindful while on the ice. Snow is not deep at all- maybe an inch or two in a few spots.

The time: if you’re a quick hiker- you can make it to the old sawmill (steam engine) in about an hour and fifteen minutes, and back down in an hour or less even with the ice.

Traffic: I went on a Sunday late afternoon and didn’t see anyone for the entire hike. Amazing place , which is evening more amazing considering there was no one there and the drive is only about an hour from Colorado Springs

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful area and really nice hike, the creek was frozen in some areas.

Most of the trail had tree cover, sunscreen optional.

Recommend micro spikes or something similar due to the ice/snow on the trail.

Arrived at the trail-head on around 0900 and parking lot was empty.

A few primitive camping areas along the trail, mostly at the beginning and also near the steam engine. My recording shows the camping spots with pictures.

AllTrails does not have a way to communicate with other outdoor enthusiast, I can be reached on Facebook Messenger if you have any questions about this trail.

Awesome hike for an overnight trip. In August, I was able to just keep refilling my 1 liter nalgene along the trail, there is plenty of water. Trail is well marked and the views are stunning the entire way. The trail gets steep just before the lower basin and can gas your legs. There's a neat little abandoned cabin along the trail after breaking off the Rainbow Trail. I hear there is good fishing up there, but I had no luck.

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