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Horsetooth Falls Out and Back

Intermediate
 4.0 (20) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This short route is the perfect way to spend time in the park and leads to a scenic waterfall.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.7

KM

Out and Back

5,894' 1,796 m

High

5,727' 1,746 m

Low

378' 115 m

Up

379' 116 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly This short route has a big pay off, and families will love this route!

Overview

Visitors who are seeking a quick outing in Lory State Park won't be disappointed with this great out and back. The route provides hikers with all of the highlights of the park including solitude, great views, and a variety of terrain without being too long or strenuous.

Need to Know

The best time of year to see the falls in their full glory is the spring, but this can make a pleasant outing any time of year.

Description

To begin, access the route from the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Trailhead, located at the southern end of the park. There is a large parking area with plenty of room, so it's unlikely that you'll be pressed to find a parking space. Picnic tables and a restroom are available.

Begin your journey by looking for signage for the Horsetooth Rock Trail. This trail can be found at the northeastern side of the parking lot, and will head northeast. You'll only be on this trail for a short while before the Horsetooth Falls Trail branches off to the east at a switchback. Take this trail to work your way out to the falls.

Along the Horsetooth Falls Trail, you'll enjoy a gentle downward slope, making the route to the falls easy and fast. The mile-long trail will wind through the high prairie at first, but will eventually make its way along a creek drainage. Enjoy the lush grasses through this section!

Near the approach to the Horsetooth Falls Spur, you'll descend into the Spring Creek Canyon, which is a novelty for hikers of all ages. The canyon walls rise on both sides of the trail, providing interesting geologic features and pleasant shade in the summer months. Soon enough, take the spur trail that heads west to the waterfall to complete the outward bound trip.

Especially in the spring, the delicate falls are a lovely sight! Though the water doesn't thunder over the precipice, the gentle sound of the falls are a soothing treat. Even if the creek that feeds the fall is but a trickle, the pool at the bottom is still scenic.

Once you've enjoyed your time at the falls, you can head back the way you came. Visitors looking for a longer adventure can take the Spring Creek Trail to create a longer loop.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers fill the meadows surrounding these trails seasonally. Keep an eye out for deer in the area.

Contacts

Land Manager: Larimer County, Colorado

Shared By:

Mikhaila Redovian

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 20 votes

#1889

Overall
  4.0 from 20 votes
5 Star
30%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
10%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#291

in Colorado

#1,889

Overall
10 Views Last Month
3,639 Since Oct 7, 2016
Intermediate

10%
0%
80%
5%
5%
0%

Photos

Heading up to the Horsetooth Falls
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO
Coming down from the valley viewpoint.
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO
Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO.
Feb 23, 2019 near Bellvue, CO
Top of a dry Horsetooth Falls.
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO
Horsetooth Falls – well-maintained trail.
Oct 9, 2016 near Laporte, CO
Approaching the Horsetooth Falls
Mar 18, 2019 near Bellvue, CO

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Check-Ins

Sep 6, 2021
Kayla Knoll
Waterfall wasn't there
Jun 5, 2021
Daniel Ward
Great lush mountain hike! 3.1mi
May 25, 2021
Tim Lux
Feb 3, 2021
Private User
Oct 12, 2020
Greg Collette
Jun 6, 2020
Denney Burkholder
Sep 9, 2019
Kelsey Geee
Sep 1, 2019
Austin Forte
1.5mi — 0h 30m