Visitors who are seeking a quick outing in Lory State Park won't be disappointed with this great out and back. The route provides runners with all of the highlights of the park including solitude, great views, and a variety of terrain without being too long or strenuous.
The best time of year to see the falls in their full glory is the spring, but this can make a pleasant outing any time of year.
This shorter route has a lot of pay off, as you'll get a glimpse of a scenic waterfall in addition to your workout. This trail is pretty popular on the weekends, so be prepared and come early.
To begin, access the route from the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Trailhead, located at the southern end of the park. There is a large parking area with plenty of room, so it's unlikely that you'll be pressed to find a parking space. Picnic tables and a restroom are available.
Begin your journey by looking for signage for the Horsetooth Rock Trail
. This trail can be found at the northeastern side of the parking lot, and will head northeast. You'll only be on this trail for a short while before the Horsetooth Falls Trail
branches off to the east at a switchback. Take this trail to work your way out to the falls.
Along the Horsetooth Falls Trail
, you'll enjoy a gentle downward slope, making the route to the falls easy and fast. The mile-long trail will wind through the high prairie at first, but will eventually make its way along a creek drainage. Enjoy the lush grasses through this section!
Near the approach to the Horsetooth Falls
Spur, you'll descend into the Spring Creek Canyon, which is a novelty for runners of all ages. The canyon walls rise on both sides of the trail, providing interesting geologic features and pleasant shade in the summer months. Soon enough, take the spur trail that heads west to the waterfall to complete the outward bound trip.
Especially in the spring, the delicate falls are a lovely sight! Though the water doesn't thunder over the precipice, the gentle sound of the falls are a soothing treat. Even if the creek that feeds the fall is but a trickle, the pool at the bottom is still scenic.
Once you've enjoyed your time at the falls, you can head back the way you came. Visitors looking for a longer adventure can take the Spring Creek Trail
to create a longer loop.
Wildflowers fill the meadows surrounding these trails seasonally. Keep an eye out for deer in the area.