Hiking to West Creek Falls


While there are beautiful things to be seen in Colorado throughout the year, June is one of my favorite times here. As the snowmelt comes down from the mountains the waterfalls are running strong, the creeks and streams are roaring, the wildflowers are popping, and for a few weeks the world becomes a much more vibrant place. It's a time of year that goes by all too quickly, but most years I try and get out for a waterfall hike somewhere to take advantage.


This year I decided to make the hike in to a more secluded waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park that I hadn't been to before. While the trailhead and the falls are within the boundaries of the National Park, most of the hike actually falls outside them in the Roosevelt National Forest. The hike to West Creek Falls begins at the Cow Creek trailhead at McGraw Ranch. If you'd like to learn more of the details of the hike, you can find it on the Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails website. Since the easier to reach and also picturesque Bridal Veil Falls starts from this same trailhead, there aren't that many people that make the hike to West Creek Falls, I only saw a handful my entire hike.


Unlike the steady moderate uphill grade to Bridal Veil Falls, reaching West Creek Falls requires going up and over a steep ridgeline to the valley on the other side and then hiking up the creek to reach the falls. I haven't been hiking as much the last couple of years as I used to, and I definitely felt that while doing this one. The morning was beautiful though, and the wildflowers and views along the trail made for pleasant resting spots. Eventually I reached the creek on the other side, where just beyond the branch trail that extends to the falls splits off. From there it's an easier 3/4 mile to the falls.


After spending some time working the scene I decided that the composition with my Sigma 14-24 Art lens was the one I liked the most. Even with the sun passing in and out of the clouds that morning, the open shade was still bright enough that it was challenging to get a longer shutter speed. I ended up blending multiple exposures together to get the photograph you see above.


From there it was back up & over the steep ridge on legs that were starting to tire, and then back down to the car waiting at the trailhead. It was a nice morning to be out in the park, and fortunately I finished the hike before the heat of the day kicked in.


There's also a video of this adventure over on my YouTube channel if you'd like to experience this hike right along with me and share the photography experience in person. And don't forget to subscribe while you're there, I've got more great videos coming up. If you enjoy sharing in the experiences of adventures like these, I hope you'll sign up for my email newsletter if you haven't already. You can subscribe right here on this blog post, or click my newsletter signup link in the footer. New subscribers get a new customer discount coupon as a thank you for signing up. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook & Instagram too. Thanks for checking out what I do, and I hope you'll keep following along!