Waterfall viewing in the late Spring and early Summer is delightful. The thunderous roar of the water as it falls back to the ground amazes even the coolest teenager. Ouray is home to three great year round falls that should not be missed, but, the springtime runoff proves exceptionally awe inspiring.
Of course, just two blocks from our hotel is our namesake, the Box Canyon Falls. It drains melting snows from great wildflower basins like Yankee Boy Basin or Imogene Basin into Canyon Creek and then merges into the Uncompaghre River right in Ouray. Just before it enters town, it drops a couple of hundred feet in a tall and narrow gorge. This area is also home to numerous birds, including the Black Swift, which makes its home on the steep canyon walls. It is a wonderful place to stop for a picnic.
Cascade Falls, on the other side of Ouray, is a very dramatic and scenic feature of town. These falls are wide open and fall from the cliffs on the east side of town. This waterfall is visible from nearly every spot in town. It is a steep walk upward from the parking area to the bottom of the falls but there is a great hiking trail that heads up the hillside known as Lower Cascade Falls Trail that winds around the hillside.
Bear Creek Falls is just outside of town, 2-3 miles south of Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway. A brand new viewing stand has been finished and provides a wonderful location to stand above the falls and watch the water drop a couple hundred feet below. Look for beautiful rainbows in the mist.
Seasonal waterfalls abound in the area too. Just look around the cliff walls as you drive into Ouray and you will see numerous falls along Red Mountain Pass and even along the red cliffs on the way to Ridgway.
In July, venture into any high mountain basin in search of your favorite Jeep Trail or patch of wildflowers and you will find wonderful falls all summer long that cascade over granite through wonderful forests.
You can also find delicate trickles of water that appear after an afternoon thunderstorm.
And, don’t forget your camera. Photography buffs and pros alike love Southwest Colorado for its incredible scenic beauty. You just can’t take an ugly photograph in Southwest Colorado!