West Creek Falls

MODERATE 62 reviews
#37 of 191 trails in

West Creek Falls is a 4.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and snowshoeing and is best used from April until November.

4.3 miles
1,394 feet
Out & Back







wild flowers


no dogs

4 months ago

Went on Saturday morning, Sept 22, 2018. Arrived at lot around 8AM. There were about 3 cars there already. When leaving, the lot was full with people driving around looking for a place to park. I counted 16 cars total in the full lot. So there is NOT much parking at all.

I did not complete the hike since I only planned on a 2 hour hike total. Wife was waiting in car. I made it almost to the creek at the 1.3 mile point before heading back. I was alone and didn't want to risk falling. The trail was really challenging because of the loose rock on the steep slopes. I tread very carefully to keep from falling. I still managed to fall on the way back and had another near fall. Nothing broken, no harm done. My plastic water bottle in my hiking belt took the brunt of the fall. Without the water bottle, I would have hit my hip on the trail. That's another good reason to carry water!

I did not see any other hikers on this trail. There were lots of people going to Bridal Veil Falls. If I had it to do over again I would go to Bridal Veil Falls instead of this one.

Be sure to use a hiking pole and watch for loose rocks.

FYI I am a 70 year old male using my wife's account.

5 months ago

Beautiful scenery, be ready for kinda steep hiking. I’m from Houston, Texas and had to take some breathers going up hill but that was only for part of the hike. The rest was a price of cake and enjoyable. Just take your time. :)

5 months ago

Excellent alternative to Bridal Veil Falls. Trail really got chewed up after Sept 2013 floods, but very passable (the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars). Highly suggest hiking sticks.

West Creek and the Falls were very lively. A lot of cutthroat trout in many of the pools.

We saw only 4 couples the entire time. This is a great close-in trail for those seeking great views, a workout and few people.

5 months ago

Great views, awesome with the leaves changing colors. I guess the difficulty would be based on how in shape you are, grade is steep and rocky, but it's not that bad.

6 months ago

they don't allow dogs so if you plan on bringing your first baby don't go here

6 months ago

Awesome hiking but not for the faint of heart. Be well acclimated before heading out on this beautiful hike.

6 months ago

8/5/18 - Lovely hike through the forest, up and down on the trail. Trail is well marked. Very nice babbling creek along about 1/2 of the trek; wild flowers are pretty much on/off along the entire trail. The waterfall is quiet nice. Great hike to do if you dont have a lot of time only 2.5 mile out/one way. Definitely will do this hike again.

7 months ago

Uphill is only 650 gain over 0.7 miles. and back down and then yes up and down again to get back. Wasn't bad at all and well worth the effort. Parking is VERY limited so get there early.

7 months ago

This trail was weirdly quiet as the trail head parking was full on Saturday. The steepness is not that bad as it looks because of the relatively low elevation. The worst part is probably you have to do the ridiculous climb again when you're so close to finish.

9 months ago

No snow on the trail. Be aware of the ticks.

Great, but tough hike. I would agree with others that the the beginning of the trail up the mountain is challenging.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Beautiful hike, though I agree with a few of the other posts, the first section is quite tough. After getting through the steep up and downhill section though, maybe a mile and a half, the hike is fairly easy and the falls at the end are amazing. My friend and I were able to scramble up the rocks on the side and ate lunch on a nice flat rock at the top, looking out over the falls. Additionally, we had no trouble with parking though we didn't arrive until noon on Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I really enjoyed this trail but it was much more challenging than I expected! I would mark the difficulty as hard! You go up 1400 and then down 1400 on the other side before you reach the river. We only saw a handful of people on the trail, which appears to be much less traveled than others in RMNP. Limited parking but it was easy to get a spot at 8am.

Monday, August 14, 2017

First .7 mile was a doozy, but so worth it. Beautiful trail and views. The waterfalls were amazing. Loved that there weren't a lot of people on the trail too. Very pleasant hike.

Monday, August 14, 2017

exhausting. you go up hill 1400 feet in less than a mile... twice because it's an out and back trail. you will need to take frequent breaks on each uphill portion. the falls are beautiful. the saving grace is the trail cools off considerably on the downhill. not very many people and did not need to pay for parking/park entrance. lovely area but it was much more difficult than I was anticipating.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

one of my favorite hikes

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Great trail. Initial climb is tough and since it's an out-and-back the final climb is tougher, maybe a bit harder than the first. The meadows are gorgeous. The falls are amazing. In 3+ hours on the trail we saw 2 other hikers so we essentially had it to ourselves.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

We ranked this toward the top of our favorite Colorado hikes simply because we were able to hike to a waterfall in RMNP on a weekend in July completely alone! We saw maybe 4 other hiking pairs in the 6 hours we spent out there (small kids, plus we spent well over an hour playing at the icy cold waterfall), and had the waterfall all to ourselves. If you hike in CO at all, you know that doesn't happen! Word of warning: trailhead parking only has 12-14 spots, so come early on a weekend. You'll hike straight up then straight down, but you've done all the work of the hike in the first 60% on the way out - the section after the creek crossing is all flat through lovely wildflower meadows. (Clearly it's a bummer to do all the work in the last 60% of the way back, but you get your car and a/c after that, so you know, it balances out.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Very pretty from start to finish! I will warn, the 4.4 miles is a LONG 4.4 miles. A great trail if you enjoy peace and quiet, only one other couple was on at the same time as us. Went at right about 12.

Waterfall at the end made the hall worth it. The peak is actually about 1/3 of the way to the end of the trail, not really much to see as it's not as high as the surrounding areas. Once you head down the other side there is very beautiful greenery and a winding path down the mountain. Once you hit the stream at the bottom you are half way there. Keep going. Relatively nice and straight walk compared to the pretty steep climb both up and down. Signs are a little misleading, you take Cow Creek trail just till you reach North Boundary Trail. You follow that all the way past the bridge in the stream and a little ways down you'll see a sign for the West Creek Falls Trail. You'd already be walking along side the river at that point so you won't get lost.

Overall I loved the hike due to the difficulty, my mother and sister spent a bit more time resting on the way up. Took us an average of 3.30 minutes.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I'm a bit confused on the coordinates that are provided for this hike. The location provided took me to cow creek trail head. After you follow that in for about a mile you have the option to continue straight to bridal veil falls NOT west creek falls. I didn't head that way because I wanted a longer hike so we went left to Gem lake which was another 4 miles in. Overall it was still a fun experience. Unless west creek falls is past bridal veil falls, or they are referred to as the same name the directions for this hike lead me to a different tail head. There wasn't a single marker for west creek falls so if someone knows where I went wrong please let me know

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beautiful hike! We were the only ones on the trail. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get to the falls where we climbed to the top and had lunch. The uphills were moderate to difficult, but highly recommend this hike!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beautiful waterfall, rushing creek from snowmelt, forests, meadows, wildflowers, and a steep ridge to cross to get your heart pumping -- doesn't get much better than this for a 5 1/2 mile round trip hike (includes parking lot to trail head) . And there were very few others on this trail.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

I would rate this as "hard". If you think the 1st 3/4 mile is rough, coming back going up the back side of the mountain is worse. Difficult both ways. The falls is beautiful and worth the trip. Best part about this hike, only ran into 1 other couple. It looks like this trail barely gets used.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Loved the West Creek trail. It was a more challenging “moderate” trail than we expected. Hard for some in our group. It’s also a hard trail to find as the trail head is not marked and the directions link wants to take you past the trail head. The marked trail head is with Crow Creek Trail and North Boundary Trail. Take the North Boundary Trail just past (north west) the McGraw Ranch cabins. There is a vehicle path just left of a fire hydrant. Head up the vehicle path and within about 20 yards a single foot path begins. As other’s have stated, the first accent is step, but relatively gradual before heading back down the ridge to West Creek. The trail is well defined, but there are many fallen trees over the path. At the creek, there is a nice log foot bridge before heading up parallel to the creek to the falls.

The West Creek was flowing hard and full, as expected with the recent runoff and precipitation. The entire trek was wrapped in lush green foliage with occasional mountain flowers. The fall did not disappoint. It was accessible and able to get right up to the falls. The pools were inviting and if the day was warmer we might have gone in.

The other nice characteristic about this trail is how few people seem to be aware of it. It does appear to be a hidden falls trail. The road parking is limited and it was full at 9:00 am (this is Memorial Day Weekend). However, we only ran into one couple during our 5 hour trip. Since it was hard to find, I asked a Park Service person at McGraw Ranch road for some help and he had never heard of the West Creek Trail. He said he had heard of another falls, but regarded it as a hunting trail.

Overall, I loved the hike, trail and falls. It was rigorous and rewarding. The fact that it is hardly known and used was a bonus.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Very hard up and over the mountain then walk along the creek to the beautiful falls. Beware many ticks on our group...

Monday, April 24, 2017

A great hike with cool views of the river as you get closer to the falls. As mentioned in previous comments, parking is very limited and would suggest getting there earlier rather than later.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Generally less water in the fall, but more colors and allows access to areas you couldn't during high water. Fun hike.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Great hike with a steep climb to start and then down the other side which is steep coming back. Then pretty flat along the river. Like somebody else said the first sign for the falls is 1.6 miles in. Look
for the trout in the creek pools. Best part - didn't see another person.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Got here by 11 (late I know) but there is only parking for about 16 cars and it was all full. Bummer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

For being so close to Estes Park, this is a real gem.

The first part (.75 miles) of the hike is a relatively steep climb with little tree cover, so it can feel like a rough start. After that, it's downhill and relatively flat to the falls.

The falls are beautiful -- perhaps not as spectacular as other parts of RMNP, but definitely beautiful. We only saw 3 other people on the trail on a Saturday in August We had the falls to ourselves for a little picnic.

Hiking with kids:

We did this carrying a 10 month old and with a 12 year old who doesn't particularly like hiking. The climbs at the beginning and end challenged me (carrying a 20 lb baby on my back) and out 12 year old (who is not in great shape) but it was doable. Going earlier in the day would have made the initial climb easier given the sun. If you do go with kids, keep an eye on them towards the falls -- there are some narrow parts along the stream, and some non-intuitive trail twists that might be harder for a kid. There isn't any scrambling unless you want to scramble around the falls.

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