Cascade Falls an easy attraction to visit while you’re in Ouray, Colorado. But, you could easily miss it, since it’s just a few blocks uphill from downtown. Don’t forget to take the short drive, or walk, up to see this dramatic, tall waterfall.
As I was wandering around downtown Ouray, I noticed this sign:
If I hadn’t been on foot, I probably would have missed it. I didn’t know anything about Cascade Falls, but I decided to check it out. Then I noticed that it’s a rather steep climb up 8th Avenue to the falls, so I walked back to my motel, got the car, and drove up.
From the parking area, it’s just a short walk up to the falls — but it continues to be a steep climb. Ouray is built on a slant, and anything east of US 550 is uphill from downtown.
The trail takes you past some smaller falls on Cascade Creek…
…until you reach the base of the big falls. This drop measures about 160 feet high. It’s the final drop in a series of seven.
The base of the falls is a very pretty place, with plenty of color in the rocks.
Cascade Falls is located on the Ouray Perimeter Trail — a loop that encircles the town. From here, you can go north or south on the loop. Heading north will take you around to Ouray’s most famous attraction, the hot springs and swimming pools. Hiking south will take you towards the Amphitheater campground area, where you can catch several other trails — including one that accesses Cascade Creek, further upstream.
The Bottom Line
Cascade Falls provides a nice picnic spot, or just a nice place to relax for a while. It’s just a short walk or drive up the hill from downtown Ouray, so don’t overlook it.
Ouray, Colorado is located along US Highway 550, north of Silverton and south of Ridgway. In town, look for 8th Avenue, and take it east (uphill). Cascade Falls Park is located at the end of the road.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive over Red Mountain Pass on the Million Dollar Highway, between Ouray and Silverton: