Waterfall Hikes – Silverthorne


Best Waterfall-Viewing Hikes in Silverthorne

Summer is in full swing throughout Summit County. Hiking in Silverthorne is a great way to have some fun on your vacation, enjoying the spectacular scenery. With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, why not get away into the great outdoors, experiencing social distancing through the beauty of nature? Summit County Mountain Retreats is here to help you discover the best trails to view waterfalls in the Silverthorne area.


1. Mesa-Cortina Trail to South Willow Creek Falls is an 8.7 mile (4.35 miles to the falls) heavily trafficked out and back trail. It is rated as a moderately difficult trail. This trail is mostly shaded with some meadows along the way, which are great for viewing wildlife. At just over 4 miles, you will encounter a moderate climb to the spectacular South Willow Creek Falls. Be prepared to linger in the beauty of the scenery.

To access the trail, from downtown Silverthorne, travel south on Wildernest Road, follow Wildernest Road to the right onto Buffalo Mountain Drive. After 0.8 miles, turn right onto Lakeview Drive and then left onto Aspen Drive. Continue 0.2 miles and there will be a pull thru parking lot on the right-hand side of the road. The lot is fairly small, so get there early.


2.Lower Cataract Loop Trail is a 2.3 mile loop featuring beautiful wildflowers and a waterfall. It is an easy hike, with a mixture of open areas, a deep pine forest, and aspen groves. It is great for viewing the lake and waterfall, the mountains, and wildlife.

To access this trail, head north of Silverthorne on Highway 9 for about 16.5 miles, turn left onto Heeney Road, just before crossing the Blue River. Stay on Heeney River for about 5.5 miles, there turn left onto Forest Road 1725. Follow 1725 for about 3 miles. Pass Surprise Trailhead on your left to the parking lot for Lower Cataract Loop Trail. The last half mile on 1725 is gravel, but it is easily handled by any two wheel drive car.


3. The Willow Creek Falls via South Willow Creek is a 6.3 mile out and back trail. It is rated as moderately difficult. The trail is fairly narrow, so to be courteous to keep social distance between hikers. On the hike, you will cross bridges, see wildflowers and wildlife, and of course a waterfall.

The Willowbrook Trailhead can be accessed by driving north of Silverthorne about 1.5 miles. Turn Left onto Willowbrook Road. About 1 mile onto Willowbrook Road is the parking lot for Willowbrook Trailhead, on the left. There is parking for 15-20 cars.


4. The Gore Range Trail to Meadow Creek Trail Loop is a challenging 12.5 mile loop with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain throughout the trail. Because of the difficulty of this hike, you will not see many other people on the trail, making it perfect for social distance and fully absorbing the grandeur of the scenery. Be sure to take along plenty of water and be ready for a workout.

Buffalo Mountain Trailhead begins this hike at the top of Wildernest. Then it connects to the Gore Range Trail and Willow Creek Falls. It continues back to the valley between Buffalo Mountain, Red Peak, and Eccles Pass. The trail crosses Eccles Pass then connects to Meadow Creek Trail. Finally, it connects to Lily Pad Trail #50, passes Lily Pad Lake, and ends back at Buffalo Mountain Trailhead. There are some places you may get your feet wet, so bring some extra socks.

This trailhead is at the west end of Ryan Gulch Road. Follow Wildernest Road south of Silverthorne. Turn left onto Ryan Gulch Road, follow the curvy road for about 3.5 miles to the trailhead on the right. You can see the parking lot from the trailhead just down the road on the left.


Summit County Mountain Retreats

Summit County Mountain Retreats has beautiful rentals for your entire group. Whether it’s a vacation for your family or friends, we have all your needs covered. After your day spent hiking the scenic trails near Silverthorne,, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the views, utilize a Jacuzzi, or cook some dinner in your kitchen after an exhilarating day in the mountains. Book your luxury vacation rental in Silverthorne now.

Patio view from our 14 Road A rental in Silverthorne.

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