Hike to South Willow Falls

Added by Jennifer Broome

Distance: 5 miles roundtrip. Hidden gem in Silverthorne, COWater crossings, fields of wildflowers, and a waterfall. Fairly easy hike. Plenty to see along the trail. Family friendly, great for kids.

Start at the Willowbrook Trailhead. You’ll hit a “Y” in the trail pretty quickly - go left and you’ll soon be at the first log bridge. There are quite a few water crossings on the trail, but they are easy to maneuver.

After hiking in the Willow Creek Open Space for a bit, you’ll enter Eagle’s Nest Wilderness and cross two more bridges as you head deeper into the forest. After a couple of gentle inclines, the trail flats out as you head into a meadow. It's wildflower wonderland in the meadow, with an incredible view of Buffalo Mountain.

After the meadow there is a gradual incline that passes a boulder field, a giant rock, and a small pond surrounded by ferns, that looks just like a fairy pond.

It’s only about 15 minutes from the pond to the falls. You can hike up the side of the falls for a close up view, or enjoy some time relaxing on the rocks below the falls. South Willow Falls is a tiered cascade tucked away in a thick pine forest. The upper falls plunge into a shallow pool and the lower part of the falls drops through a granite chute. It’s a great spot for lunch with a view.

Getting there: The Willowbook Trailhead is in the Wildernest subdivision of Silverthorne. The subdivision is north of I-70 and west of Highway 9.

If you want additional mileage, you can start from the Mesa Cortina Trailhead (8.7 miles roundtrip).

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


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Overall rating: 

Gorgeous hike through forest

We hiked in Oct 2020 during a dry season. Beautiful path through thick forest. Water areas were relaxing and Aspin trees in glorious fall color.

Best hike I've been on

I love this hike. The ending made every step worth it and it was quite pretty long the way. Pack some snacks and take an some time to enjoy the end view.

Beautiful but can be a little scary in the spring and winter

Absolutely loved this hike! One of my top favs. However, I went in late May which was warm enough and seemed fine until I got closer to Buffalo Mountain where snow covered most of the trail. I wasn’t expecting this, so my shoes weren’t the best for the slippery ice. It’s a pretty steep drop at times next to the trail and when that’s covered with three feet of weeks old icy snow, it can be a little scary. Bring a walking stick and some good shoes and you’ll absolutely be in heaven!

Great hike to the Falls

We are retired from Iowa and come out to Colorado every summer to beat the heat. This was a great hike and we enjoyed every step. Great scenery, creeks running by the first 0.7 mi of the trail. easy to follow trail which was at times wide enough to run a jeep on them. Did this in early September so falls were not roaring but were still beautiful. Last quarter mile up to them was a little difficult for us old folks but worth the effort. Would agree this was longer than 5 miles round trip- I would say at least 6. Highly recommend this hike.

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Beautiful little stroll

Pretty hike through some nice forest and great views of Red Buffalo! Not an epic waterfall but a very pleasant hike. I think it was more like 6-7 miles RT but still a very easy, family friendly hike

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