Boulder Falls. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Richard Saxon

Guide to Boulder Falls


If you’re visiting Boulder for the first time or you’re a long-time resident who just wants to experience the natural beauty of a waterfall, Boulder Falls should be at the top of your list. No, seriously.

This 70-foot waterfall west of Boulder may be a relatively small waterfall, but it packs a big punch. Not only is it stunning, but Boulder Falls is close to town and can be the perfect pitstop on your way to a longer hike or mountain bike ride. Some people call it the “Yosemite of Boulder Canyon.”

The cascading waterfall is located just outside of town, which means it’s pretty easy to get to without much planning. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip.

How to get there

Head west on Boulder Canyon Drive out of Boulder for 11 miles — the drive should take you about 20 minutes. Boulder Falls is located on the north side of the canyon, and there’s a parking pull-out on the south side of the road. Be careful crossing the highway.

What to do

When you arrive, you can take a short 100-yard hike directly to the falls. You can’t dive into the water (no swimming allowed) but you can soak in the refreshing mist that splashes off the falls.

Snap a few photos, take a few deep meditating breaths and just enjoy the fact that this gem exists right outside of town.

Also remember that this is an incredibly popular trail, so it’s important that you take any and all COVID-19 precautions. Wear your mask at all times, stay at least six feet away from other parties and do not visit Boulder Falls if you feel sick.

Also remember to practice “Leave No Trace” principles — pick up your trash, pick up your dog poop and stay on the trail.

Rock cairns along Boulder Creek. Photo by Flickr user Dave Dugdale.

History of Boulder Falls

The city of Boulder owns and manages five acres around the falls. The land was donated to the city in 1914 by Charles Buckingham, who served as president and co-founder of Buckingham Brothers Bank. He wanted the site to be used for recreational purposes and wanted the city to save  “this beautiful spot from the encroachment of the great tungsten boom.”

The site was incredibly popular in the late 1800s — people came here for picnics.

Hiking around. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

What else you need to know

Always check on the status of the trail before you head out. You can see real-time updates on trail closures on this handy interactive map from the city of Boulder:

Also keep in mind that there’s active construction work going in Boulder Canyon right now, so you could experience delays on your way to and from Boulder Falls. You can check for construction impacts on the CDOT website for the project:

Looking for some other waterfall hikes? Check out our complete guide of stunning waterfall hikes near Boulder:

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