Mesa-Cortina Trail to South Willow Creek Falls

MODERATE 205 reviews
#4 of 29 trails in

Mesa-Cortina Trail to South Willow Creek Falls is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silverthorne, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,338 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

blowdown

snow

This trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness where it winds through aspen groves and crosses open meadows where you have great views of the Williams Fork Range, Dillon Reservoir and the entire Blue River Valley. The meadows offer great opportunities for viewing wildflowers during mid-July. Eventually the trail climbs up a gorge between Buffalo Mountain and Red Peak. South Willow Falls is a cascade that tumbles over the rocks of South Willow Creek.

hiking
1 month ago

Great mellow hike. We hung out by the falls for about an hour. Suuper chill.

1 month ago

I would rate this Moderate Plus. Several tricky spots for younger kids and older folks.

hiking
2 months ago

The first mile was OK but after that it is just cut down dead trees and not very pretty. We turned around after two miles in...kind of a disappointing hike. Maybe further in it gets better but not from what we could see.

2 months ago

wow!!!

2 months ago

It was a beautiful day for a great hike through the aspens and the lodgepole pine forest. We did not make it to the falls because they were working on building a new bridge. It was not a challenging hike but was a well marked path. To get to this trail head you take Royal Buffalo up to a Y in the road and stay right. You will be on a gravel road. At the top you take a right and it will take you to the trailhead at the end.

2 months ago

Great challenging trail with an awesome payoff at the end with the falls. Climbed some rocks near the falls to get a beautiful view from the top. Finished in about 4 hours with stopping, but didn’t see any wildlife.

hiking
3 months ago

very good HIKE for those fit and ready to scramble at the top. 9.4 total miles. 5 hours total hiking time.

3 months ago

It rained to start out, we got lost multiple times and didnt make it to the waterfall... Still had a really great time on this trail!! Smooth and not too challenging in terms of elevation. Would definitely do again, especially on a trail run.

3 months ago

Excellent stomp

hiking
3 months ago

Definitely worth hiking all the way to the falls

3 months ago

Amazing hike! Nice views, ascent, waterfall, and a mountain goat!

3 months ago

Trail closed due to fire. Directions didn't get us to TH and Google Maps tried to take us onto private road when we put the TH name in. However, we were able to navigate there using the pin location from this site. Don't turn right on Adams - go straight through light onto Buffalo Mountain Rd.

3 months ago

Amazing hike! Great views. Nice ascent. Saw a mountain goat

4 months ago

Easy trail. Went with my 12 year old son. No snow, great hike! Son left hiking sticks on trail for other hikers. See photos :-) he said leave walking sticks for return hikers when done

4 months ago

very nice trail follow the hand carved signs no snow now

4 months ago

Good trail but map my walk showed it was a 9.5 mile hike to the falls. Steep for the last mile.

4 months ago

What a fun hike! Waterfall is beautiful and very little snow.

hiking
4 months ago

The hike is finally dry with almost nonexistent snow on the trails. I love this hike! I started on the Willow Brook side which makes the hike a little shorter, I believe. It can be kind of confusing because of all the off-chutes but just follow the hand carved “Willow Falls” signs (on the main trail markers). There is a lot of vertical but it’s still pretty kid friendly. Depending on the time of year, the falls are at different intensity but always beautiful! This isn’t the type of hike where you have scenic views around every bend, but the forest is cool and mossy as is the river you stay near almost the entire time. WORTH it.

PS: As with any hike, don’t do this after dark. REALLY don’t. I underestimated my timing a few weeks ago doing a shorter loop and felt like something was stalking me! Turns out, there are mated mountain lions that live right in that area. Be cautious!! There are also lots of moose in the area. Just be alert and you’ll be safe!

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike. Parked at the Willow Brook trailhead. Streams were in full force. Trail was well maintained and marked. Trail has a semi-steep beginning and ending with a beautiful moderate hike in between. Willow Creek Falls are tremendous. Well worth the effort.

4 months ago

One of our faves. If you’re headed for the waterfall, starting at willowbrook trailhead is helpful. Trail was mostly dry today with only a few tiny wet spots. You no longer need snow shoes, micro spike, ice axe etc. Good to go.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful views!

hiking
11 months ago

It is one of the most beautiful, scenic hikes I’ve taken ( it would only improve if there were some above-tree line hiking. It didn’t hurt that the Aspen where in full golden-glory with just enough of a breeze to “flutter” the leaves. Simply stunning. This is not a hike you conquer; it is one you savor, like a slow-cooked stew, a well aged Scotch, or a crisp evening around a campfire or burn pit with good friends or loved ones.

The moderate hike rating is accurate if for no other reason than it is nearly 9 miles round trip. And even though I hiked the trail on a Saturday it was not very congested (not at all like RMNP). I recommend this hike, take your time, you will not be sorry.

11 months ago

My wife and I age 30 in good shape hiked this trail at a moderate pace to a boulder at the very top of the waterfall for a picnic lunch. We stopped in an open field to the left about 2 miles in that had a lake and a gorgeous view of mountain peaks. In all we stopped for a total of about 2 hours. We left at 9am and were back to the car at 3:50. Beware of horse poop and when you get to the middle of the waterfall, go through the woods to the right off the path to get to an upper path that takes you to the highest point of the waterfall on a bald boulder for a complete overlook. It doesn’t seem a lot of people know about that. We found it by chance. Absolutely worth everything. It was breathtaking!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

great hike! Aspen groves, rubber crossing, water fall at the end. no complaints.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amazing and very light traffic(went on a Monday afternoon). The last mile to the waterfall was a challenge, steep and rocky but great payoff. Awesome views all around. You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

This trail was incredibly fun and exciting with some beautiful views of the mountains and valleys in the surrounding area. Also, the waterfall is a great reward for making it to the top, as it's huge and awe-inspiring.

I highly recommend this hike, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

started at Willowbrook Trailhead. Cuts 1.4 miles each way. Falls are great.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Getting to the waterfall was awesome. Some parts were rocky and did a short scramble to the falls. Good moderate rated hike.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Long hike but the elevation gain is very gradual. Parts of the trail are rocky. Parts go through wild flower meadows.The waterfalls and the views are spectacular!

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Started off at the Meadow Lakes trailhead and ended up at Mesa Cortina. Someone had written an arrow on the directional sign towards the falls so we took this relatively easy trek to a lovely waterfall where we shared our snack with chipmunks and relaxed with beautiful views.

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