Seven Falls

South Cheyenne Canon / Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

About Seven Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside (using shuttles); 1.6 miles round trip (to base of falls without shuttle); about 4.6 miles total to hike all trails and lookouts
Suggested Time: about 30 minutes by shuttles and elevators; about 2.5 hours to do all trails

Date first visited: 2017-03-23
Date last visited: 2017-03-23

Waterfall Latitude: 38.78141
Waterfall Longitude: -104.88005

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Seven Falls was perhaps the signature waterfall attraction of the Colorado Springs area.

Like its name suggested, it was where South Cheyenne Creek fell a total of 181ft over a series of seven drops in succession at the head of the granite box canyon.

Seven_Falls_CO_144_03232017 - Seven Falls from the Eagle's Nest Lookout
Seven Falls from the Eagle’s Nest Lookout

Each of the drops had names (from top to bottom) of Ramona Falls, Feather Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Shorty Falls, Hull Falls, Weimer Falls, and Hill Falls.

Indeed, when it came to this waterfall there seemed to be no shortage of superlatives used to describe this natural attraction.

Ownership of Seven Falls

Seven Falls had been owned by various families and entities over its history since it was opened to tourists in 1885.

Seven_Falls_CO_038_03232017 - The Restaurant 1858 and South Cheyenne Creek near the foot of Seven Falls - an example of infrastructure built up by various owners at one point or another
The Restaurant 1858 and South Cheyenne Creek near the foot of Seven Falls – an example of infrastructure built up by various owners at one point or another

The first documented private ownership of the falls was by naturalist and owner James Hull who bought the area in 1882 for fear of losing it to logging.

I’m sure the saying “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado” used to describe this falls and South Cheyenne Canyon was one of the marketing and promotion efforts.

Speaking of private ownership, this also meant that I had to pay $10 to make my visit in March (it was $14 in peak season as of 2017) so it wasn’t cheap.

In any case, with each different owner, different aspects of the amenities, transport, and trails were constructed to make the Seven Falls even more accessible.

Seven_Falls_CO_151_03232017 - Looking back at the Seven Falls shop and elevator at the Eagle's Nest Lookout
Looking back at the Seven Falls shop and elevator at the Eagle’s Nest Lookout

The trail to Inspiration Point as well as the stairs to the top of the falls was said to have been built by the first owner James Hull.

Al Hill, the third owner, and his family had built the viewing platform and a funicular to the Eagle’s Nest lookout.

By the way, that lookout was where the photo you see at the top of this page was taken.

It wouldn’t be until 2002 when the falls would be floodlit.

Broadmoor_015_03232017 - The Broadmoor Hotel was the current owner of the Seven Falls during my visit in March 2017
The Broadmoor Hotel was the current owner of the Seven Falls during my visit in March 2017

Finally, during my visit, the falls was owned and operator by The Broadmoor (a fancy hotel in the heart of the well-off area of Coloado Springs).

They bought the Seven Falls on the cheap after the area had been severely damaged by flooding in late 2013.

During their ownership, they cleaned up the canyon floor, relieved vehicle congestion by making the area shuttle or foot-traffic only, and built the 1858 Restaurant near the base of the Seven Falls.

Complimentary shuttle and parking was now closer to the Broadmoor Hotel, which was about 1.8 miles from the gate at the foot of South Cheyenne Canyon.

Experiencing Seven Falls

Seven_Falls_CO_019_03232017 - The paved pedestrian and shuttle-only road within South Cheyenne Canyon - part of the 'Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado'
The paved pedestrian and shuttle-only road within South Cheyenne Canyon – part of the ‘Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado’

As for the overall experience, I’ll describe the way I did it, which took in all the main points of interest in and around the Seven Falls area.

To summarize what I did, I was dropped off by Julie at the gate, then I basically hiked from the gate to the base of Seven Falls.

Then, I climbed the stairs and hiked further to Midnight Falls before hiking to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point.

Next, I backtracked to the base of Seven Falls before ascending up to Eagle’s Nest Lookout.

Seven_Falls_CO_100_03232017 - Midnight Falls, which was well upstream of Seven Falls
Midnight Falls, which was well upstream of Seven Falls

After Eagle’s Nest Lookout, I then took the shuttle back to the gate.

Finally, I then switched to a different shuttle that took me all the way back to the Seven Falls Parking Lot near the Golden Bees Restaurant at the Broadmoor complex.

The entire excursion took me under 2.5 hours, but it could easily take shorter or longer.

That depends on whether you want to bring the family along or you want to partake in the additional trails above the waterfalls.

Seven_Falls_CO_114_03232017 - The scenery around the hike to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point, which also revealed a distant waterfall that was not part of the Seven Falls (I'm guessing it could be St Mary's Falls according to my interpretation of the maps)
The scenery around the hike to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point, which also revealed a distant waterfall that was not part of the Seven Falls (I’m guessing it could be St Mary’s Falls according to my interpretation of the maps)

Just to give you an idea of the time commitment and physical fitness involved, I did this excursion solo while my wife Julie and daughter Tahia spent their time at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Seven Falls Trail Description – the “Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado”

From the gate and ticket office at the foot of South Cheyenne Canyon, I walked about a mile along a paved road nestled between impressive cliff formations.

Each of these formations have names like “Pillars of Hercules”, “Washingtons Profile”, “The Three Amigos”, and “The Three Bears”, etc.

At the turnaround point of the paved road was a gift shop, stairs and elevator leading up to Eagle’s Nest, and the Restaurant 1858.

Seven_Falls_CO_031_03232017 - Some infrastructure at the foot of the Seven Falls was the Restaurant 1858
Some infrastructure at the foot of the Seven Falls was the Restaurant 1858

Just on the other side of the restaurant was the viewing area at the base of Seven Falls as well as the start of the stairs climbing alongside the falls itself.

Given all the scenery that was packed within this one-mile stretch, I suspected that this was probably how “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado” came to be associated with the Seven Falls.

Seven Falls Trail Description – ascending alongside the seven waterfalls

Next, I walked up the stairs alongside the Seven Falls, where the stairs were wide enough to let people squeeze past each other side-by-side though one person could easily hold onto both handrails.

Along the way were signs describing the name of a particular section of the Seven Falls as well as the type or shape of the waterfall in question.

Seven_Falls_CO_034_03232017 - Looking up at the context of the base of Seven Falls and the steps ascending alongside of it
Looking up at the context of the base of Seven Falls and the steps ascending alongside of it

There was a break area (to catch your breath, especially with the high altitude) at the half-way point of the 224 steps.

At this break area, I was right up against “Shorty Falls”.

I was also able to look up at the 2nd and 3rd drops of the Seven Falls.

Moreover, I got a butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing view down towards the base of the Seven Falls.

Seven_Falls_CO_058_03232017 - Looking up at more intermediate waterfalls belonging to the Seven Falls around the half-way point of the ascent
Looking up at more intermediate waterfalls belonging to the Seven Falls around the half-way point of the ascent

Shortly after passing a sign encouraging me that I was more than half-way finished, I then reached a flattened part of the walk.

The path then went right in front of Ramona Falls (the uppermost one), which also had an attractive corkscrew or hole carved out besides its plunge pool.

After going up the last set of steps past Ramona Falls, the man-made structures became more sparse as the path now followed a more conventional dirt trail.

Seven Falls Trail Description – from the top of Seven Falls to Midnight Falls

After passing by a shelter with some interpretive signs concerning the wildlife in the area, I then crossed a bridge over South Cheyenne Creek.

Seven_Falls_CO_140_03232017 - Contextual of looking over the Ramona Falls (the uppermost of the Seven Falls) and the steep steps to get up to this point
Contextual of looking over the Ramona Falls (the uppermost of the Seven Falls) and the steep steps to get up to this point

Beyond the bridge, I then reached a signposted junction.

The path on the right went to Midnight Falls, which was said to be 20 minutes round trip.

The path on the left went to Inspiration Point, which was said to be 40 minutes round trip.

I first went right, which followed a gradually uphill path alongside South Cheyenne Creek.

Seven_Falls_CO_094_03232017 - Approaching the lookout by Midnight Falls at the end of one of the spur trails above the Seven Falls
Approaching the lookout by Midnight Falls at the end of one of the spur trails above the Seven Falls

The trail itself was pretty quiet and featured some interesting rock formations as well as a little detour going around private property.

There were also some side trails to the left along the way though I didn’t follow them so I can’t say where they went.

As the sign had indicated, I managed to get to Midnight Falls, which was a pretty miniscule 15-20ft waterfall besides a small alcove.

Seven Falls Trail Description – hiking to Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point

Back at the signposted junction, I then took the other trail to Inspiration Point.

Seven_Falls_CO_116_03232017 - A shelter that I passed by on the way to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point
A shelter that I passed by on the way to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point

Right off the bat, the trail ascended alongside the mountain’s slope before making a switchback and ascending towards a shelter with a sign saying something to the effect that I’m under surveillance.

Along the upper stretch of this switchback, I noticed to my left in the distance was some other seemingly large waterfall.

However, I wasn’t sure which waterfall it was, and from looking at the maps, I’ve speculated that it could it be St Mary’s Falls.

Beyond the shelter, the trail then ascended one more switchback before arriving at a lookout with a signpost saying “Covered Wagon”, which was apparently some rock formation across the canyon.

Seven_Falls_CO_134_03232017 - On the way up to Inspiration Point, I noticed this attractive waterfall way in the distance, which I wasn't sure if this was St Mary's Falls
On the way up to Inspiration Point, I noticed this attractive waterfall way in the distance, which I wasn’t sure if this was St Mary’s Falls

Continuing further along the trail, it then gradually descended past what appeared to be some zipline structures before ending further below at an unsigned lookout.

This was the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point, which was said to be at an elevation of 7,200ft.

At the Inspiration Point, I was able to look across the South Cheyenne Canyon’s rim both to the north and west.

Meanwhile, looking to the east, I was able to get a partial look through the canyon opening towards parts of Colorado Springs.

Seven_Falls_CO_132_03232017 - Looking towards Colorado Springs from the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point
Looking towards Colorado Springs from the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point

Back near the ziplines, there was a plaque on a rock saying that Helen Hunt Jackson got her inspiration for the backdrop of her work Ramona from the scenery of the Seven Falls area.

This was why this place was called the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point.

Anyways, it didn’t look like the trail went any further to the east though I didn’t bother trying to explore further in that direction.

So this was my turnaround point.

Seven Falls Trail Description – the Eagle’s Nest Lookout and the return

Seven_Falls_CO_049_03232017 - Descending to the bottom of the Seven Falls en route to the Eagle's Nest Lookout
Descending to the bottom of the Seven Falls en route to the Eagle’s Nest Lookout

As I was running out of daylight, especially with an incoming snow storm that was threatening, I quickly descended back down to the top of the Seven Falls, and then carefully descended the 224 steps.

Next, I walked past the restaurant and to the stairs by the gift shop leading up to Eagle’s Nest.

In hindsight, I should have taken the elevator right up to the lookout instead of tiring myself taking the 181 steps up.

Not only was the elevator free, but it was within a tunnel next to the base of the stairs so I could have taken the elevator up and the stairs back down.

Seven_Falls_CO_153_03232017 - The tunnel leading to the elevator connecting with the Eagle's Nest Lookout
The tunnel leading to the elevator connecting with the Eagle’s Nest Lookout

Nonetheless, up at the Eagle’s Nest Viewing Platform, this was where I was able to get commanding views of the entirety of Seven Falls.

From up at this vantage point, I could appreciate the scale of the falls with the people and the 1858 Restaurant being dwarfed down below.

A sign up here also talked about each of the seven named drops comprising the Seven Falls, which I think pretty much repeated what the signs along the 224 steps alongside the Seven Falls had said.

After having my fill of the Eagle’s Nest, I then took the elevator back down and then took the $1 shuttle to the gate.

Seven_Falls_CO_150_03232017 - The full contextual look at the Seven Falls from the Eagle's Nest Lookout
The full contextual look at the Seven Falls from the Eagle’s Nest Lookout

From there, I waited for a different shuttle to take me back to the complimentary shuttle parking to end the overall excursion.

Authorities

Seven Falls resides on private property in Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado. It is currently administered by The Broadmoor. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Seven_Falls_CO_001_03232017 - Looking back at the ticket office and entrance gate for the Seven Falls complex at the mouth of South Cheyenne Canyon
Seven_Falls_CO_003_03232017 - Looking up towards some interesting cliff formations during the mile-long walk between the entrance gate and the base of Seven Falls in what was known as 'the grandest mile of scenery in Colorado'
Seven_Falls_CO_005_03232017 - Walking along the paved shuttle-only road as I was about to experience 'The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado'
Seven_Falls_CO_006_03232017 - Context of some of the impressive formations towering above the paved shuttle road between the entrance and the base of Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_007_03232017 - Walking past some of the shuttles in the mile-long paved stretch between the entrance gate and the base of the Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_009_03232017 - The paved road between the entrance gate and the base of Seven Falls followed alongside South Cheyenne Creek
Seven_Falls_CO_014_03232017 - Looking ahead towards the Pillars of Hercules formation while walking the 'Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado'
Seven_Falls_CO_017_03232017 - Looking back at the cliffs towering above the paved shuttle road in South Cheyenne Canyon en route to the Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_018_03232017 - Looking at the context of the tall cliffs practically towering over the paved road in South Cheyenne Canyon en route to Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_023_03232017 - Looking back at some building with tall cliffs in the backdrop somewhere about 2/3- to 3/4-mile from the gate to South Cheyenne Canyon
Seven_Falls_CO_027_03232017 - This was the end of the paved road, which was right before the gift ship, Eagle's Nest stairs and elevator, and the Restaurant 1858
Seven_Falls_CO_032_03232017 - Approaching the box canyon right at the base of Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_046_03232017 - Looking up towards one of the waterfalls (Shorty Falls?) during the ascent to the top of the Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_051_03232017 - Looking down towards the bottom of Seven Falls from somewhere up along the stairs with Eagle's Nest Lookout near the top of this picture
Seven_Falls_CO_059_03232017 - Looking up at a couple of the upper tiers of the Seven Falls somewhere around the half-way point on the ascent
Seven_Falls_CO_060_03232017 - After catching my breath, it was time to continue climbing even higher to the top of Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_061_03232017 - Looking down at the context of the steps leading up alongside the Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_066_03232017 - Looking across Bridal Veil Falls, which was probably the most attractive of the seven falls in my humble opinion if I had to choose between the seven drops individually
Seven_Falls_CO_067_03232017 - Looking back down at most of the steps I had to climb to get up to the top of Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_070_03232017 - Looking down at the context of Bridal Veil Falls with the steps ascending alongside the Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_073_03232017 - Approaching the uppermost of the Seven Falls called Ramona Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_074_03232017 - Context of the walkway alongside the Seven Falls and the context of South Cheyenne Canyon as seen from the top of the climb
Seven_Falls_CO_078_03232017 - Looking down over Ramona Falls towards the footbridge and corkscrew formation
Seven_Falls_CO_085_03232017 - Once at the top of Seven Falls, the manmade stuff became more sparse and the trail was the more conventional dirt path
Seven_Falls_CO_087_03232017 - The trail junction splitting off towards Midnight Falls and Inspiration Point
Seven_Falls_CO_090_03232017 - The Midnight Falls Trail veered around this lot of private property
Seven_Falls_CO_095_03232017 - Direct look at Midnight Falls at the end of one of the spur trails above Seven Falls
Seven_Falls_CO_101_03232017 - Checking out some of the interesting rocks strewn alongside the Midnight Falls Trail
Seven_Falls_CO_103_03232017 - When I got onto the Inspiration Point Trail above the Seven Falls, it immediately started climbing
Seven_Falls_CO_105_03232017 - The Inspiration Point Trail continuing to climb after the first switchback
Seven_Falls_CO_110_03232017 - Looking in the distance towards a substantial waterfall that I believe might be the St Mary's Falls while en route to Inspiration Point
Seven_Falls_CO_118_03232017 - Continuing on the trail to the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point, which hugged this slope and started to flatten out a little past the shelter
Seven_Falls_CO_121_03232017 - Looking back towards the mountainous scenery from the trail to Inspiration Point with someone standing below for a sense of scale
Seven_Falls_CO_125_03232017 - Descending towards the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point, which was basically this outcrop
Seven_Falls_CO_127_03232017 - Looking out towards the mouth of South Cheyenne Canyon in the direction of Colorado Springs from the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point
Seven_Falls_CO_130_03232017 - Looking towards the rugged head of South Cheyenne Canyon from the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point
Seven_Falls_CO_131_03232017 - Looking across South Cheyenne Canyon from the Helen Hunt Jackson Inspiration Point
Seven_Falls_CO_148_03232017 - Broad contextual view of the Seven Falls from the Eagle's Nest Lookout. I had to wait until late in the afternoon to get this view because I would have looked right against the sun had I come earlier
Seven_Falls_CO_154_03232017 - Looking back at the elevator door leading up to Eagle's Nest within the Seven Falls complex

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


While there were many ways to drive to Seven Falls from various spots in the Colorado Springs area, we’ll just describe the way we would do it from the Rockrimmon Blvd ramps onto the I-25 (near the Hyatt House where we stayed).

So from the I-25 southbound at Rockrimmon Blvd, we then drove for about 7 miles on the I-25 to the exit 140 at Tejon Road.

But once we were off the freeway, we kept going straight at the first light (Tejon Blvd) then turned right onto Nevada Ave (Hwy 115).

After about a mile south on Nevada Ave, we then took the ramp on the right to Lake Ave.

After another 1.3 miles going west on Lake Ave, we would then turn right onto 1st Street.

The large lot for Seven Falls was a short distance on the right though we also saw people parking at the Golden Bee Restaurant right on the corner of Lake and 1st.

Overall, this drive would take 20 minutes.

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.

360 degree sweep taking in the bottom of seven falls and the surrounding cliffs


Long movie taking in the entire seven falls experience from its top all the way to its bottom


Video taking in pretty much all the ways you can view seven falls from the eagles nest lookout


Checking out the midnight falls before scrambling up towards the alcove and examining the view from there

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations



join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


Tagged with: colorado springs, south cheyenne canon, south cheyenne canyon, broadmoor, eagles nest, inspiration point, helen hunt jackson, midnight falls, waterfall, colorado, 1858 restaurant, grandest mile of scenery, pikes peak



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls
Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.