Colorado is magical to see in the winter. The mountainous state transforms into a winter wonderland every year. Experience the season’s beauty by chasing frozen falls throughout the state. Here are our top picks for some of the most stunning waterfalls to see frozen over this winter in the Centennial State.

1. Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake. Photo Credit: Zach Dischner (Flickr).
Hanging Lake. Photo Credit: Zach Dischner (Flickr).

Frozen beauty awaits at Hanging Lake. This popular natural wonder is located in White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs. The trail to the lake includes a steep and rocky 1.5-mile ascent, but don’t let that discourage you from going all the way to top. The views are like something out of a winter fairytale. Prepared to be amazed!

Please note, permits are required for hiking to Hanging Lake. Permits can be purchased for $10 at the Hanging Lake Rest Area from November through April 30. To get there, take exit 125 off I-70. For more information, click here.

2. Silver Cascade Falls

Silver Cascade Falls see somewhere around 100 climbers a week during the winter season. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock, The Gazette
Silver Cascade Falls see somewhere around 100 climbers a week during the winter season. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock, The Gazette

Answer the call for winter adventure at Silver Cascade Falls. While the 0.6-mile out-and-back trail is hardly much of a hike for seasoned adventurers, this is an ideal winter destination for ice climbers. The axe digging usually kicks off sometime around mid-November, dependent on the weather. As far as difficulty goes, the falls are not too challenging for scaling. The routes are rated a 2 out of 5 (5 being the most difficult), with slope angles at 70-degrees or lower.

3. Rifle Falls

Rifle Falls winter jakesmome (Flickr)
Photo Credit: jakesmome (Flickr)

Take the scenic loop at Rifle Falls for breathtaking views of the rushing waters frozen to heights at nearly 80-feet tall. It’s the perfect winter trail to take to feed your wanderlust. There are also several limestone caves that may be explored nearby, all depending on trail conditions.

4. Horsetooth Falls

Horsetooth Falls Photo Credit: Josh Kellogg (Flickr).
Horsetooth Falls Photo Credit: Josh Kellogg (Flickr).

Horsetooth Falls is a sight to see come winter. Jagged sheets of stark-white ice dangle beautifully over the canyon walls. Hike the 2.9-mile loop for spectacular scenery that’s sure to rattle your soul. The falls are located near Fort Collins, offering a quick and relaxing escape into nature.

Please note, Horsetooth Falls Loop Trail may be temporarily closed for bird restoration.  

5. Seven Falls

Seven Falls. Photo Credit: Kim Seng (Flickr).

Soak up the magic of the winter season at Seven Falls. Those willing to scale the stairs will be rewarded with jaw-dropping beauty. While the snowy season may be questionable for climbing all 224 steps, the 181-foot waterfall serves up a wonderland of frost-covered scenery. A secluded restaurant even sits at the base of the falls for hungry winter adventurers.

Please note, Seven Falls Park and Restaurant 1858 will be closed for winter maintenance until Thursday, February 27.

Bonus

Rifle Ice Caves

Ice Caves at Rifle Mountain Park. Photo Credit: Bryce Bradford (Flickr).
Ice Caves at Rifle Mountain Park. Photo Credit: Bryce Bradford (Flickr).

The Rifle Ice Caves are a winter jewel tucked away just 30 minutes outside of Rifle. This place is beautiful year-round, but particularly in the winter season when all the water from the canyon walls freezes over into giant turquoise icicles.

Editor’s Note: Be prepared for winter trail conditions. Bring extra layers for staying warm and hiking poles and shoes with extra traction (ice cleats, micro-spikes, mini- crampons) for navigating across the icy terrain. Check the weather forecast before you go and always Leave No Trace. Admission fees may apply. 

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