The thunderous roar of falls, feeling the mist kiss your face, and the beauty of the rushing water cascading over rocks make hiking to a waterfall a rite of passage in summer in Colorado. They’re refreshing, mesmerizing and I’ll hike to one any chance I get.
One of my favorite waterfall hikes for families is at Snow Mountain Ranch (SMR), which is open for summer with lodge rooms, cabins and yurts. It’s a family camp experience at this YMCA of the Rockies property. While the dining hall is closed this summer, they’ve got you covered for food with grocery delivery, family pick-up meal options and to go features from on-site dining facilities and local restaurants. They have a special Rest + Renew package for 50% off lodging rates for healthcare workers and emergency first responders on 4-night stays through November 30th.
Snow Mountain Ranch is special to me. One of my cousins got married there during the fall. I learned to cross country ski here. It was one of my favorite hikes I did with my dear friend and stand-up comedian Heather Snow before she was diagnosed and then lost her battle with leukemia at age 37. I love to share this place for so many reasons, especially so others can make memories there too. I even shared it as one of my 3 Favorite Road Trip Destinations Less Than 2 Hours from Denver in a television segment for Fox 31 Denver last summer.
While I love exploring the Rowley Homestead, canoeing and horseback riding at Snow Mountain Ranch, hiking to the waterfall tops my list on a summer weekend stay. Waterfall Trail meanders through the forest. It’s a great family hike, forest bathing or if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll just to disconnect from your regular busy life and connect with the sights, sounds and smells of nature. The trailhead is at 8890′ and climbs 425 feet to 9315′ at the waterfall overlook. It’s 2.27 miles round trip.
The hike starts on a dirt road. The trail is easy to follow and well marked with waterfall signs to point you in the right direction.
As you hike deeper into the forest, you follow a stream. You’ll likely see lots of Queen Anne’s Lace and other wildflowers in the lush surrounding.
Once you get to the overlook, you have a great view of the water cascading over the moss covered rocks. Of course I had to get a closer look and so I could feel the spray on my face.
Not only did I get a closer look, but I also climbed up through the dirt and ferns for a few from the top of the falls. This waterfall hike will forever bring me tears of joy, remembering my friend Heather, known as Six Feet of Snow on social media, belly laughing so hard as I precariously climbed to the top.
If you’re looking for a getaway that’s affordable, fun, relaxing and where you can ditch crowds and city life for a weekend or a week, check out Snow Mountain Ranch. It’s one of my favorite places in Colorado so you just might see me there as I have staying in a yurt on my summer wish list. While you’re there, hike to God’s Mailbox. Take a prayer or note to leave it. That’s a hike with a view at Snow Mountain Ranch.
Author Jennifer Broome has stayed at Snow Mountain Ranch multiple times in summer, fall and winter. If you want to check out a winter adventure there, read blogs On the Trail at Snow Mountain Ranch and Skinning into the Backcountry.