There’s nothing better than a beautiful waterfall or lake, especially one that appears in the middle of the mountains! I’m someone who loves to hike to a destination, I want something to look forward to and a waterfall or lake will always do the trick. We have some incredible ones in Colorado but here are my favorite hikes featuring waterfalls & lakes within a couple of hours from Denver!
10. Lost Lake Trail
4.4 Miles / 807 ft. Elevation Gain
This hike is beautiful from start to finish with incredible views, waterfalls along the way & then a beautiful alpine lake at the end. It’s certainly not easy (neither is parking) but it’s worth the trip, plus you can stop in Nederland for lunch on your way home!
9. Ouzel Falls
6.2 Miles / 935 ft. Elevation Gain
The trail to Ouzel Falls is the gift that keeps on giving! You get two waterfalls along the way before getting to Ouzel. It’s beautiful and last time we saw two Moose right as we were driving in.
7.5 Miles / 1,741 ft. Elevation Gain
Well, this one kicked my butt. Looking back it was totally worth it for the multiple lakes and views, but it’s difficult not just in the elevation gain but also finding the trail. Make sure you’ve got the AllTrails Map ready to go and bring lunch to enjoy at one of the lakes!
7. Elk Falls
13.2 Miles / 1,900 ft. Elevation Gain
Elk Falls isn’t quite as difficult as the mileage suggests, but it’s definitely challenging. That being said, Staunton State Park is one of my favorites around and the views along the hike are about as beautiful as the falls itself. (Also, it’s much bigger in the spring, I hiked it at the end of summer during a severe drought)
6 Miles / 994 ft. Elevation Gain
This hike really lives up to its name! The lake is impossibly blue, especially when you hike around it and the colors really start to pop. There are lakes along the way, then you can even hike up to Little Blue Lake if you’re looking for a challenge.
2.6 Miles / 574 ft. Elevation Gain
This may be cheating slightly since you never go right up to the lake, but you get the view of Lake Dillon for most of the way so I’m including it as a favorite. It’s right near Frisco, has beautiful wildflowers & last time I was on the trail I saw two Moose!
6.6 Miles 1,781 ft. Elevation Gain
Silver Plume, CO
The lake itself isn’t the most spectacular, but it makes for a nice place to stop for lunch on a hike with some of the most incredible views. This one has some killer steep parts, so get ready for a great booty workout.
3.4 Miles / 990 ft. Elevation Gain
Estes Park, CO
Gem Lake is one of my all-time favorites in one of my favorite towns. You get some of the most amazing views of Estes Park then you arrive at a stunning lake. There are a few steep parts but it’s well worth it!
2. Sky Pond
9.2 Miles / 1837 ft Elevation Gain
There’s not much that’s as beautiful as the views along this hike. From Alberta Falls to the Loch, Lake of Glass then finally to Sky Pond this hike is incredible. It’s pretty approachable right up until the waterfall you need to climb up to get to Lake of Glass.
1. Lake Isabel
7.0 Miles / 902 ft. Elevation Gain
This is my absolute favorite hike! You get three lakes, all incredibly beautiful but Lake Isabel is probably my favorite spot across the state. I don’t know what it is but the first time I saw it I fell in love. This hike also isn’t too difficult with the only steep part right at the end. Enjoy!