Helen Hunt Falls

North Cheyenne Canon Park / Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

About Helen Hunt Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-03-22
Date last visited: 2017-03-22

Waterfall Latitude: 38.78878
Waterfall Longitude: -104.90335

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Helen Hunt Falls was our introduction to the waterfalls in the Colorado Springs area, and it was quite easy to visit.

It was essentially a modestly-sized two-segment cascade on North Cheyenne Creek dropping about 36ft in total height.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_013_03222017 - Helen Hunt Falls
Helen Hunt Falls

The falls was easily seen from the parking lot along the main road in North Cheyenne Canyon Park (also spelled North Cheyenne Cañon Park; see directions below).

There was a visitor center building there, but I’d imagine that it was open seasonally as it wasn’t open during our late afternoon visit in late March 2017.

Given how easy this visit was, our daughter had quite a bit of fun here.

She played near the water at the base of the falls, and she interacted with some locals visiting with their dogs.

Experiencing Helen Hunt Falls

Helen_Hunt_Falls_035_03222017 - Tahia approaching the bridge above Helen Hunt Falls
Tahia approaching the bridge above Helen Hunt Falls

During our visit, North Cheyenne Creek seemed to have fairly average to less-than-average flow, which was surprising to us considering it was early Spring.

Even though most of California had been getting much higher than average rainfall in the Winter, apparently this part of the Rocky Mountains didn’t get as much of that precipitation.

Thus, I’d imagine that had the area not gotten any more precipitation, the falls could go dry in the Summer once the snow pack had been depleted.

Nevertheless, our visit only took us less than 30 minutes.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_022_03222017 - Looking across the Helen Hunt Falls
Looking across the Helen Hunt Falls

This encompassed lingering around the base of the Helen Hunt Falls and hiking up to the bridge above the falls.

Julie talked me out of doing the Silver Cascades Trail further beyond the top of Helen Hunt Falls as we were short on time.

That said, I did see an attractive cascade a short distance further upstream from where I turned around.

According to the signs, that trail’s length was said to be about 1/3-mile in each direction with about 275ft of elevation gain.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_041_03222017 - Looking over some of the cascades upstream of Helen Hunt Falls during my brief (but unfinished due to time constraints) pursuit of the Silver Cascades
Looking over some of the cascades upstream of Helen Hunt Falls during my brief (but unfinished due to time constraints) pursuit of the Silver Cascades

That elevation gain can hit you if you’re not already acclimated to the elevation of Colorado Springs at about 6,000ft as well as the dry climate.

Who was Helen Hunt?

While it was easy to think of the name of Helen Hunt Falls in terms of the actress Helen Hunt, I learned that the waterfall was named after writer Helen Hunt Jackson.

She lived in Colorado Springs later in her life in the 19th century, and she was eventually buried here.

In addition to writing works inspired by the scenery of the Colorado Springs area, she was also an advocate for Native American rights.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_005_03222017 - Context of Helen Hunt Falls and the infrastructure around it
Context of Helen Hunt Falls and the infrastructure around it

Her stance was quite revolutionary at the time given the history of Native Americans during an era when land was being seized from the various tribes throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

In fact, her most notable work titled Ramona was said to be about the mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California.

Given Hunt’s contrarian stance, she often published anonymously to get her voice heard while minimizing the anticipated backlash from speaking out.

Finally, in case you don’t know who the actress Helen Hunt was, she starred in the sitcom Mad About You.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_036_03222017 - Looking over the top of Helen Hunt Falls towards the visitor center
Looking over the top of Helen Hunt Falls towards the visitor center

She also starred in or had supporting roles in movies like Twister, As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Castaway, Pay It Forward, and many others.

Authorities

Helen Hunt Falls resides in the North Cheyenne Canyon Park near Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado. It is administered by the City of Colorado Springs. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Helen_Hunt_Falls_016_03222017 - Portrait view of the Helent Hunt Falls and the bridge above it
Helen_Hunt_Falls_020_03222017 - Profile view of the Helent Hunt Falls as we stood right by its base
Helen_Hunt_Falls_024_03222017 - Contextual view of the front of Helen Hunt Falls with bridge above it
Helen_Hunt_Falls_026_03222017 - Context of the short path leading to the bridge above Helen Hunt Falls with the waterfall tumbling beneath the infrastructure
Helen_Hunt_Falls_029_03222017 - Looking down over the top of Helen Hunt Falls before reaching the bridge
Helen_Hunt_Falls_037_03222017 - Looking upstream from the bridge above Helen Hunt Falls, where the Silver Cascades Trail continues to ascend further to the topleft
Helen_Hunt_Falls_039_03222017 - The Silver Cascade Trail went further upstream along North Cheyenne Creek before switchbacking to the left to ascend even higher up the canyon
Helen_Hunt_Falls_042_03222017 - Returning to the footbridge above Helen Hunt Falls after my brief stint on the Silver Cascade Trail
Helen_Hunt_Falls_043_03222017 - Julie and Tahia descending back towards the Helen Hunt Visitor Center, which wasn't open during our late afternoon/early evening visit

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While there were many ways to drive to Helen Hunt Falls from various spots in the Colorado Springs area, we’ll just describe the way we did it from around downtown Colorado Springs.

So from the I-25 exit at Tejon Street (exit 140) a few miles south of downtown Colorado Springs, we turned right at the next traffic light at the off-ramp.

We then followed Tejon Street for about 0.4 miles to its junction with West Cheyenne Blvd.

Next, we kept right and followed this street for about 2.4 miles to its intersection with North Cheyenne Canyon Road (right across from the North Cheyenne Canyon Visitor Center).

Helen_Hunt_Falls_001_03222017 - Sign at the Helen Hunt Falls
Sign at the Helen Hunt Falls

We then turned right to go onto North Cheyenne Canyon Road and followed this narrower road for about 2.6 miles to the obvious parking lot in front of the Helen Hunt visitor center, where the waterfall could clearly be seen already.

Overall, this drive took us about 20-25 minutes to get from the Rockrimmon Blvd ramps along the I-25 (near the Hyatt House where we stayed) to this part of North Cheyenne Canyon Park.

For further context, Colorado Springs was about 71 miles (or over an hour drive without traffic) south of Denver along the I-25, or about 97 miles (around 90 minutes drive) south of Boulder.

Checking out the front of the falls from all along the viewing area getting all the way up to the falls itself


Checking out the very top of the falls from the bridge then walking all the way down to the main viewing area while examining the falls from all sorts of different angles

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Tagged with: colorado springs, north cheyenne canon, north cheyenne canyon, rocky mountains, helen hunt jackson, waterfall, colorado, el paso county, pikes peak



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