Little hike, big rewards!! We randomly stumbled upon Treasure Falls on our way from back east from Mesa Verde National Park while driving along Route 160, which passes through the San Juan National Forest (where this is located).
Treasure Falls is about 15 miles north of Pagosa Springs where we soaked and enjoyed sulfur filled spa sesh and night’s stay after! (The spa is kid-friendly and equally enjoyable both day and night)
The next day we ventured about two hours further east to Mesa Verde National Park! There’s really a lot to see within this short drive through southern Colorado!
There’s a small parking lot you can see from the highway just feet from where the trail begins. If you head to the right of the barriers in front you can see where the falls end in the far distance!
The trail you will see over to the right is the primitive trail. The one to the left is marked, although when we came during spring break a few years back, it was still covered in snow!
The hike itself is a very short one. It’s only about 1/2 mile, however, it’s on a bit of an incline and when we visited late April the path was completely unclear and that wasn’t even on the primitive trail! There was tons of ice, slush, and snow. Be careful if you come during that time of year!
It’s a winding trail also, and I do not recommend venturing out near sunset. We visited during golden hour, which was lovely but made sure to be off the trail before dark!
There’s a very sturdy misting bridge mid falls and there you can snap your selfies and either choose to continue back down the way you came or cross over and descend down the primitive trail, which was not an option during our journey because it was so filled with waist-high snow we couldn’t even step onto it!
This is by far the shortest hike to the largest waterfall I’ve ever seen and I say it’s an absolute must-do! It’s definitely doable with small children. (I believe mine were 5&7 at the time!)
The only issue you may have here is the elevation, but that’s in general, for the area. The forest peaks at about 12,000 feet and I absolutely felt it.
*I’ve hiked much higher elevation but for some reason, I always feel it in Colorado. The Rockies were especially memorable as far as altitude sickness goes! Electrolyte boosters are a good idea!
We saw one couple backcountry camping, so it is available, free of fees, but I personally think there’s other spots around the forest which are better suited for that. There’s really no flat surface and because of the incline and depending on the ground conditions, you could end up with one sliding tent!
If you are in the area, you must stop by! It was such an incredible find! Very easy to drive by, but don’t!! Don’t let what I said about the snow deter you either, we think it added to the beauty of the entire experience!! Just use caution!