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Booth Creek Falls

posted Jul 8, 2018, 3:48 PM by Justin P   [ updated Jul 14, 2018, 2:52 PM ]

For the first week in July, we headed to Colorado to beat the heat and humidity.  We flew out of RDU Saturday morning, arriving in Denver before 9 local time.  After getting our rental car, we headed west on I-70 and made our first stop in the quaint mountain town of Idaho Springs.  Being a holiday week in the middle of summer, it took a bit to find a parking space.  Eventually, another car left and we took their spot.  A short paved trail led under the interstate and to Bridal Veil Falls.

The water level was low but the Charlie Tayler Water Wheel made for a nice scene.

The water wheel was built in 1893 by Charlie Tayler, who attributed his good health to the fact that he never kissed women or took baths.  The spring-fed waterfall tumbled into Clear Creek near some rapids and a few rafters paddled by.

After we stretched our legs and got some pictures, we continued on.  Our next stop was Booth Creek Falls near Vail in the Eagles Nest Wilderness of White River National Forest.  Again, the trailhead parking was nearly full but we got the last spot.  Booth Creek Trail (#2011) was pretty steep and we were still getting used to the altitude so the going was slow.  Lots of wildflowers were blooming along the trail, including some gorgeous Colorado blue columbine, with cool spurs on the back of the flowers.

Although the trail was mostly forested at this point, there were a few spots with great open views.

In about 2 miles, we made it to Booth Creek Falls.  The gorge at the falls was steep and narrow and I had to maneuver around for a picture.

It was way too steep to get down to the base.  Above the Falls, we went down to creek level.  I waded in the creek for a picture of some cascades above the falls.

The water was very cold and I couldn't stay long, even with just my feet in the water.  The view looking over the falls was pretty cool - there were some dry rocks in the middle of the creek to view safely.

We headed a little further on the trail, making it to over 10,000 feet, before turning back.  We had planned to go as far as Booth Creek Lake, but it was getting late and we were feeling the altitude, so we turned around.  Heading back, we went slow to stop and enjoy the wildflowers along the trail.

Prairie bluebells, red columbine, Indian paintbrush, and featherleaf fleabane were among the many flowers we spotted.

There were some nice cascades along the creek above the waterfall.

Pretty much the entire creek is cascades and drops, hence the steepness of the trail.  We spotted a yellow-bellied marmot near the waterfall on the way back.

They're really good climbers; he was able to scurry away on the steep cliffs.  The downhill hike on the way back was leisurely and we stopped to see the many wildflowers blooming amidst the aspen forest.

Barbey's larkspur have really pretty blue-purple flowers.

Thimbleberry produces an edible berry, similar to a raspberry.

Richardson's geranium is a species of white geranium.

Soon, we made it back to the parking area.  From here, we continued to Hotchkiss and stayed at the Hotchkiss Inn.  We were very tired when we arrived and passed right out.