Rocky Mountain National Park boasts dozens of waterfalls and Bridal Veil Falls, on the northeast side of the park, is one of the few that’s accessible without paying the admission fee to the park. From Estes Park, take Wonderview Avenue north and turn right onto MacGregor Avenue, then go three and a half miles and bear left onto McGraw Ranch Road. The Cow Creek Trailhead is on the left side of the road at a little over two miles, and roadside parking is limited. Hike Cow Creek Trail for three miles, bearing right at the third trail junction. The last bit of trail is steep and rocky, but this stunning fall is worth the hike!
- Due to limited parking, consider a weekday hike to the falls from this trailhead.
- West Creek Falls is also accessed from the Cow Creek Trailhead, and you’ll pass the turnoff to North Boundary Trail at about a tenth of a mile into your hike to Bridal Veil Falls. If you have the time and energy, adding this hike to your day will increase the mileage by a little over four miles roundtrip.
- Alternatively, make a whole day of it by starting your hike at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, located along MacGregor Avenue. The out-and-back hike to Bridal Veil Falls is almost thirteen miles roundtrip and takes you past Gem Lake.
—Susan Joy Paul