After leaving the wonderful Pagosa Springs area on our anniversary in May 2017, we headed to Canon City to explore the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. We marveled at the amazing Treasure Falls just a few minutes out of Pagosa. Then we were able to enjoy some breathtaking views at Wolf Creek Pass. Both were amazing and we were glad we were able to see them on our way out of the Pagosa Springs area.
Getting to Treasure Falls didn’t take very long as it is only 15 miles east of Pagosa Springs on Highway 160. Since we were in a hurry to get to Canon City, it was nice that the waterfall is visible from the parking area. However, it requires a short uphill hike to get near the base. The waterfall cascades 105 feet into Falls Creek, which connects with the San Juan River. FYI, the San Juan begins at the top of Wolf Creek Pass and then flows west all the way to the Gulf of California.
For the adventurous type, there is a trail that leads you even better views. It is a well-maintained set of dirt switchbacks up the side of a densely-forested hill. We heard that the views at the top are exceptional. It’s about 1/4 of a mile trek to the falls, with an elevation gain of over 300 ft. However, it does take about 30-45 minutes round trip, and we didn’t have enough time.
FYI, if you are planning to take the trail to Treasure Falls, be aware that it is steep and can become quite muddy with the spring snowmelt and rains. During the winter months, the waterfall often freezes over into an aqua stream of ice. Also be aware that if the parking lot is not plowed or snowed in, Treasure Falls can be accessed by snowshoeing or hiking in with traction devices or microspikes. It would all depend on the amount of snowfall. Not surprisingly, ice can compound with the snow to make the trail very difficult.
I love waterfalls, and this one was pretty darn cool. I have attached a short video for you to view if you also like waterfalls. Here is a link with more info on this amazing waterfall.
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Treasure Falls, CO
- Hot Cocoa: After the trip, drive up the Wolf Creek ski area and get hot chocolate at the lodge.
- Wear Good Footwear: The hike up to treasure falls can be slick in places, and muddy in the spring. Be sure to have durable and gripping boots or shoes. Looking for good boots? Check out our hiking boot reviews.
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and day hiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Alley House Grill in Pagosa Springs
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Tobias Haase for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike.
Wolf Creek Pass
We left Treasure Falls and made our way up to Wolf Creek Pass. The views were amazing and seemed to go on forever. The summit of the Wolf Creek Pass reaches the Continental Divide at above 10,000 feet, which explains the spectacular views. We stopped at the top, took some pictures, and read the displays on the monument.
For those of you who are not aware Wolf Creek Pass is a high mountain pass on the Continental Divide, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. It is the route through which U.S. Highway 160 passes from the San Luis Valley into southwest Colorado on its way to New Mexico and Arizona. We were there in May, and as you can see, there was still a lot of snow.
I found it very interesting that we were technically straddling the spine of the Western Hemisphere. It was also amazing to learn that snow/water that falls here goes so many places. The water on the west side goes to the Pacific Ocean, south to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Atlantic Ocean, north to the Hudson Bay, and up to the Arctic. So interesting. If you are in the area, you need to stop and take in the phenomenal views, even if only for a short time. You will be glad you stopped.
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