Boulder Falls

Boulder, Colorado, USA

About Boulder Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/4-mile round-trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2020-07-27
Date last visited: 2020-07-27

Waterfall Latitude: 40.0058
Waterfall Longitude: -105.40641

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Boulder Falls was a pretty convenient waterfall within Boulder Canyon just west of the charming college town of Boulder.

We found that accessing this waterfall was pretty straightforward as we merely had to walk about a quarter-mile round-trip to reach the waterfall’s plunge pool.

Boulder_Falls_028_07272020 - Boulder Falls with scenic cliffs around it as well as lots of people keeping cool in its waters on a hot Summer day
Boulder Falls with scenic cliffs around it as well as lots of people keeping cool in its waters on a hot Summer day

The waterfall itself was said to be about 70ft high on one of the feeding branches of Boulder Creek.

While the falls’ size was impressive, I found the surrounding cliffs that closed in at the waterfall to be very photogenic.

At the same time, the majority of the other visitors here simply enjoyed playing within the cold water at the waterfall’s base as well as further downstream.

On-and-Off Accessibility To Boulder Falls

Ever since I first became aware of Boulder Falls back in the 2017 time frame, I noticed that its access would go long stretches of being closed.

Boulder_Falls_012_07272020 - Julie and Tahia on the improved trail leading barely 100 yards from the bridge over this branch of Boulder Creek to Boulder Falls
Julie and Tahia on the improved trail leading barely 100 yards from the bridge over this branch of Boulder Creek to Boulder Falls

In fact, I avoided visiting this waterfall back then despite visiting Colorado Springs and Denver on that trip as a result of this waterfall’s closure at the time.

According to the signs here, the waterfall would typically be open only between May 1st and November 1st as well as between sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.

However, one of the big reasons for its extended closure was trail work that was being done to widen and stabiilze the footpath to handle its heavy visitation.

Even after the trail’s re-opening in 2018, there were still other episodes of access closures, which became apparent to me once we saw the amount of road construction and delays that would occur on Boulder Canyon Road (State Highway 119).

Boulder_Falls_087_07272020 - Looking towards the confluence of the branch responsible for Boulder Falls and the main branch of Boulder Creek itself. Note that this was one of the wider sections of Boulder Canyon, which gives you an idea of why road maintenance and closures seem to be a recurring theme in the canyon's narrower spots
Looking towards the confluence of the branch responsible for Boulder Falls and the main branch of Boulder Creek itself. Note that this was one of the wider sections of Boulder Canyon, which gives you an idea of why road maintenance and closures seem to be a recurring theme in the canyon’s narrower spots

Indeed, Boulder Canyon was narrow and flanked by steep cliffs so it was clear that this place was prone to rock slides and avalanches given its rugged terrain.

Therefore, it’s wise to check the trail status on the City of Boulder page before seeking out this waterfall.

Authorities

Boulder Falls resides in Boulder Canyon just west of the city of Boulder in Boulder County, Colorado. It is administered by the City of Boulder. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Boulder_Falls_002_07272020 - Julie and Tahia walking from the parking area towards the signpost and trailhead for Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_003_07272020 - Julie and Tahia checking out a sign board at the trailhead for Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_005_07272020 - Looking back at the parking area for Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_007_07272020 - Looking upstream at the branch of Boulder Creek responsible for Boulder Falls as seen from the road bridge on the state highway 119
Boulder_Falls_010_07272020 - Tahia and Julie on the improved trail leading to Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_020_07272020 - Our first glimpse at Boulder Falls from the improved trail leading closer to its base
Boulder_Falls_077_07272020 - The final approach leading to Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_025_07272020 - Frontal view of Boulder Falls when we first arrived
Boulder_Falls_052_07272020 - Contextual view of Boulder Falls and the people enjoying the waters at its base
Boulder_Falls_056_07272020 - Looking downstream from Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_067_07272020 - Long exposure look at Boulder Falls when the sun momentarily hid behind some afternoon clouds
Boulder_Falls_080_07272020 - Returning to the state highway 119 as we were concluding our brief visit to Boulder Falls
Boulder_Falls_082_07272020 - Context of the Boulder Falls Trailhead and the bridge over the side creek responsible for the waterfall
Boulder_Falls_085_07272020 - An interesting hole-in-the-rock display that I just noticed near the sign board when we were about to leave Boulder Falls

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The Boulder Falls parking area and trailhead was merely 9 miles west of downtown Boulder along Boulder Canyon Drive, which became Boulder Canyon Road.

Although this modest distance might make this seem like a very short visit, we had to endure roughly a half-hour delay due to road construction to even get into Boulder Canyon.

Boulder_Falls_001_07272020 - Looking back at the parking situation by the Boulder Falls Trailhead
Looking back at the parking situation by the Boulder Falls Trailhead

Nevertheless, without this complication, driving to the falls was pretty straightforward.

Perhaps the only tricky part was trying to cross the Boulder Canyon Road safely since we had parked on the south side of the road.

That was because traffic moved pretty fast on the road, and there were lots of curves, which made for blind spots (i.e. less reaction time for drivers gunning it on this road).

For context, Boulder was 33 miles (a half-hour drive) northwest of Denver, about 37 miles (about an hour drive without delays) southeast of Estes Park, 66 miles (over an hour drive) south of Fort Collins, 85 miles (about 2.5 hours drive with tolls required) southeast of Grand Lake, 97 miles (over 1.5 hours drive) north of Colorado Springs, and 102 miles (over 1.5 hours drive) south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Distant sweep of the Boulder Falls from further downstream on the trail leading closer to it


360 degree sweep from the viewing area of Boulder Falls before following along its stream towards the end of the video


Downstream to upstream sweep of the Boulder Falls from closer to its base


Downstream to upstream sweep of Boulder Falls from further downstream along its banks

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: boulder, colorado, boulder canyon, boulder county



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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