This five-mile roundtrip hike from the Seven Lakes Trailhead at Big Creek Lakes Campground in the Routt National Forest leads to a hidden waterfall in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. Located just ten miles south of the Wyoming border, the easy trail provides views of lakes, beaver ponds and—if you’re lucky—lots of wildlife. Moose linger at the water’s edge and the wetlands draw a variety of birds to the area. Red Elephant Mountain is in view to the southwest. Off the trail, Big Creek Falls pours over slabs and swirls in a plunge pool before emptying its waters into Big Creek Lakes.
- This is a fee area so bring some cash or a checkbook.
- It’s a long drive to Big Creek Lakes Campground from Colorado’s metro areas so consider reserving a campsite and make a weekend of it.
- Moose can be very aggressive and they are common in this area. Bring a camera, but keep your distance from these beautiful, wild beasts.
- Wilderness areas have special rules, so as you venture into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness be sure to adhere to them.
—Susan Joy Paul