Waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park
Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park
I have visited many waterfalls around the country, including some pretty spectacular waterfalls in Hawaii, but my favorite waterfalls are in Colorado. My two favorite Colorado waterfalls are in Rocky Mountain National Park-Alberta Falls and Calypso Cascade.
Alberta Falls is a very popular waterfall, accessible from the Glacier Gorge trailhead/parking lot off Bear Lake Rd. It takes about 25-30 minutes of fairly easy hiking to reach the falls. The trail is in excellent condition, and is a great place for the entire family. If you don't remember to bring along your camera, you will feel like kicking yourself, because this trail has some great scenery. Alberta Falls is a great place to stop for photos, sit on the rocks and have a snack. If you wish to continue hiking along this trail, it goes on up to Mills Lake (which I recommend to anyone with the energy). I would also caution parents with small children to keep a close eye on them, because there are some steep drop-offs in places (avoid letting children play too far off-trail). At the same time, the trail itself is wide enough for even the skittish visitor from the flat lands.
Calypso Cascade is also in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it is quite a bit south of Estes Park off CO Hwy 72 (RMNP Wild Basin Entrance). The trail to Calypso Cascade continues on up to Ouzel Falls, if you have sufficient energy.This trail is "intermediate" because it's rocky and a little steeper, but the scenery is well worth it! There's a lot of velvety green moss, wildflowers, rocks, and old logs, near the Calypso Cascades. You can take some good close-up photos from the bridges next to the cascades. It takes about an hour to get up to the Calypso Cascades. After the Cascades, the trail goes up past burned out areas still recovering from forest fires from 1978, and then becomes steeper as you get nearer Ouzel Falls. The Calypso Cascade is spectacular during the peak run-off, with lots of mist and noise. I suggest this hike for anyone visiting after Memorial Day, because it might have some spots of slushy snow and mud on the trail even into June.