West Creek Falls – 4.7mi / 7.6km
This shorter hike is deceptively difficult due to the steep trail, but the waterfall more than makes up for the effort required.
Take a right on the trail just past the historic cabins at McGraw Ranch. The trail leaves Cow Creek as it begins climbing up the meadows and into the forest. You leave the national park for the national forest as the trail gets very steep. It arrives at a saddle only to steeply drop down into the valley with filtered views along the way. A log bridge takes you across West Creek where you’ll follow the splashing creek upstream.
Stay left through the junctions as you cruise through parked out forests and enter back into the national park just before the falls. Keep an eye out in the stream for native cutthroat trout. The waterfall appears as the canyon narrows. The first section falls as an elegant curtain into a pool. After exiting the pool, the water races down as an exciting second fall.
Trailhead: From Hwy 34 in Estes Park, head north on MacGregor Ave, then Devils Gulch Road. After 3.4mi/5.5km, veer left onto McGraw Ranch Rd to the trailhead and park in the marked parking alongside the road.
Elevation Gain: 1,500ft / 450m – Elevation Loss: 1,500ft / 450m