Fish Creek Falls is an easy hike, close to downtown Steamboat Springs
Fish Creek Falls is that easy gem of a short hike to do with your kids or elders, as long as you can avoid the crowds. It's located five miles east of downtown Steamboat Springs in the Routt National Forest and the parking lot typically fills and overflows on weekends, so get there early, before 10a.m. if you can. It's only a quarter of a mile down a sloping trail along Fish Creek Canyon to a bridge with a view of the 283-foot-tall falls. There is an upper trail that is wheelchair-accessible trail with a beautiful viewpoint as well.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Winter Hiking at Fish Creek Falls
I love this view from the bridge of the lower falls of Fish Creek Falls because you can see the local ice climbers in the distance, having fun on the frozen water. At this point you've walked half a mile from the parking to arrive to the falls and the trail head is on your right at the far end of the bridge, if you're looking to run, snowshoe or hike the 5 miles out to Long Lake. It's a workout and in snowy conditions it can take awhile, but it's a beautiful way to get out and play. Do know it's an out and back hike, not a loop and if you feel like making it a shorter trek, a great place to stop is the bridge that crosses Fish Creek Falls two miles into the uphill climb. If you decide to do the shorter option, I'd encourage you go another 10 minutes from that second bridge to get a view of the Upper Falls and then retrace your steps back to the parking lot (the mileage to the view at Upper Falls is 2.5, making it a total of 5 miles if you turn around and head back from there).
To get to the trailhead of this hike, it's about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown Steamboat (and under 5 miles). Be sure to pay the $5 day use fee to support the park, you're officially in the Routt National Forest. Pack some layers since much of the hike may be in the shade depending on what time of day you're out there and load up on water and snacks (especially if you're not used to the altitude), you'll be over 9,000 ft. Enjoy!