The early weeks of October are hands down some of the best for heading out enjoying Colorado’s trails. This is when our region’s dense aspen groves change colors from green to a brilliant gold and orange. October is also when the weather gets cooler and all the summer tourists have gone and the winter snowboard and skiing tourists have yet to come. In truth, this border month might be one of the only times when Coloradans get their beautiful state mostly to themselves. So why not take the opportunity to go out and explore? Check out these gorgeous hikes complete with waterfalls and just a short drive from your home in Fort Collins:
Colorado’s Best Fall Hikes with Waterfalls
- Forsythe Falls + Gross Reservoir outside of Boulder. This is a wonderful beginning hike that is about 2.2 miles roundtrip with easy grading and dog-friendly (although getting to the trailhead can get dirty and requires a reliable vehicle). Even during the fall and winter, you’ll find plenty of shade and often blooming wildflowers. Plus, after a mile in you’ll find the picturesque Forsythe Falls.
- Hanging Lake at Glenwood Springs. This is one of Colorado’s most famed hikes and waterfalls but it is a bit of a drive from the Cottages of Fort Collins and so we recommend planning it with a couple friends as an overnight camping adventure. One great place for more primitive tent camping is nearby Cedar Campground. Once you’ve set up camp and are ready to explore the Hanging Lake trails, you’ll find the trailhead near Dead Horse Creek. You’ll follow this over several footbridges and across some steep and rocky terrain until you get to the viewing boardwalk. Check out Instagram to get a peek of this place’s beauty.
- Elk Falls at Conifer. Cascading down an incredible 75 feet, Elk Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the area. The trail to view it, however, is the longest on our list at about 12 miles round-trip, which can generally take about 4 or 5 hours — so be sure to plan your trip accordingly! To get to Elk Falls, you’ll drive through Denver so you may want to consider stopping in the city for some urban sightseeing on your way there or home.
Be Safe & Have Fun
No matter which hike you choose, remember to be safe as well as have fun. Share your plans with someone else and bring a buddy on your hike. Know your limits and bring plenty of water (as well as some snacks).