A Wintry Hike at Fish Creek Falls
I decided to mix it up this AM with an early morning hike at Fish Creek Falls. It had been a while since I had been to the falls, a staple must-do while in Steamboat, I’ve literally been there a hundred times and it’s always special due to the serene beauty. I enjoy seeing it at all times of year as it’s different every season: frozen in winter, raging spring run off, a trickle at the end of summer when it breaks into 20 smaller waterfalls.
It’s a quick 10-minute drive from most anywhere in town and a quick 20-minute out-and-back hike, enough to get the blood pumping. If you’re looking for more exercise, the trail does continue up a couple of miles via a steep climb to a second set of falls. This morning, I elected for the quick 20-minute hike.
It was a brisk 9 degrees when I parked at the parking lot. Light snow blanketed the trial. I got there early enough that no one was there, and it looked like only one person had been there before me based on the footprints.
The trail (more-so a 6-foot wide path) winds along the edge of the ravine with breathtaking views of the water sweeping at the bottom of canyon and the fresh snow on the evergreens.
After a short 5- to 7-minute hike, you descend on the river, and snow is beginning to accumulate on the rocks along the bank. By midwinter, they look like huge white mushrooms.
As you work your way to the bridge, the breathtaking falls come into view. I was surprised to see how much ice had already accumulated on the falls.
Fish Creek Falls was the same waterfall found on the old Coors beer can dating back to 1937. The waterfall on Coors cans was later replaced by Melton Falls (near Marble, Colo.) in 1978. Now go impress your friends with your new knowledge.
Byron Carney, outdoor enthusiast
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