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Seven Falls, Colorado Springs: Drying up due to Climate Change?

Historically these waterfalls don’t disappoint, but 2020 changed that

I didn’t think I would travel during 2020, the Year of the Pandemic, but I did. So I told my husband we needed a road trip. And off we went to Colorado. 

Colorado suffered one of its worst wildfire years ever in 2020 due to climate change making the environment much hotter than usual. First, we saw the Cameron Peak fire north of Denver. The air was thick with smoke in the entire Denver basin everywhere we drove. There were a few other major wildfires burning out-of-control adding to the feeling of doom.

We stayed in a suburb of Denver for a few days as our base camp. We explored Boulder a bit, then stopped at Dog Park in Aurora. Unfortunately, the visibility of the spewing dark gray smoke from 3 major wildfires overwhelmed the sky. It was visible for miles. It’s sad to see because it’s National Parkland burning to nothing. It was very hard for firefighters to combat, burning for a few months.

On our return home, we made an impromptu visit to Seven Falls in Colorado Springs. That is one of the conveniences of visiting this place; it’s right off Highway 25 on your way South towards New Mexico. After experiencing the bad air quality in Denver, we thought it would be a welcome relief to see the waterfalls in their natural beauty.

We had driven through Colorado Springs before but never paid attention to this particular site. However, we had time, and it was dog-friendly since we had our 60-lb Siberian Husky with us.

You can’t just drive up in your car to Seven Falls. You have to park in their designated lot in the city and use their free shuttle buses to go up to the falls. We were allowed to bring our dog on the bus, and while she was a bit nervous, she settled down behind our legs. 

At the entrance to the park, we bought tickets for $16 per person. It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk up to the main falls area, but there is also a little tram you can pay $2 per person for the ride to the top.

At 1,400 feet up, the falls sit within a boxed canyon. The highest fall drops 181 feet, creating a beautiful cascade of water. There are seven falls in total.

The names of each fall are:

  • Bridal Veil – Name-based on its visual representation.
  • Ramona – Named after Helen Hunt Jackson’s Book.
  • Hill – Named for the previous owner.
  • Hull – Named for the owner during the 1800s.
  • Feather – Name-based on its visual representation.
  • Weimer – Named for the 2nd owner of the falls
  • Shorty – This fall has the shortest drop out of all seven.

But there was one big problem. It was September, and there was hardly any water trickling down the rocky mountain slope. Another unfortunate effect of climate change, it seems.

History of Seven Falls

Leaving my dog with my husband, I decided to go up the 224-staircase to the lookout points. I thought there might be more water up top. I could see the streams were instead dry. There were a lot of tourists from all around the world. Many were still wearing masks due to Covid-19 protocols, but many were not. I wore mine even though huffing and puffing my way up, hanging onto the metal handrail. I have osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, so I could hear my knee joints clicking away. 

Once at the top, I followed the hiking trail inward, curious to see where it would go. A couple of young guys had their dog with them, and I asked how they got their dog to go up against such narrow, steep stairs. They said they parked on the other side and came in through the backway. They also expressed their dog would not go down the stairs.

Meanwhile, I took some beautiful photos you can see below

I stayed up top for at least 45 minutes, enjoying the scenery until I made my way back to the stairs. I waited until the line of tourists thinned a bit to make my way down without feeling pushed or rushed by others. The view was stunning.

Once I reached the bottom, I felt good. I told my husband it was his turn and I would watch the dog, but he declined and took my word for it that it was a beautiful view up top.

For a few hours of adventurous fun, it was sure worth it to break up an otherwise long boring drive. I’d recommend it for the whole family—but go when you know the falls are running with water. 

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