On our first day of camping in Estes Park, my parents offered to watch G for the day so Mark and I could get out in the mountains. It would have been a perfect day for a long trad climb on Lumpy Ridge, but a few problems presented. One was that we didn’t have a plan before 11a, and you need to be hiking around 7a to finish a route before the afternoon storms in Estes. But even if we decided to chance it, my shoulder was still sore, and I had hurt my foot this week as well.
So, rather than climb, we decided to hike up to another Rocky Mountain waterfall. This time, I brought my snazzy new neutral density filter, and we set out to get some great waterfall shots.
The trail to Bridal Veil Falls is 3 miles long, and starts at a very small parking area off of Devi’s Gulch Road on the northeast side of the national park. We were lucky to be there during the week, I’m sure this parking area fills up fast on the weekends.
The first half of the trail is nice and flat, and runs through the valley just north of Lumpy Ridge. In fact, the Gem Lake trail intersects with this one in the middle of the valley.
A long this part of the trail, we enjoyed the sun, admired the wildflowers, and were astounded by the flocks of butterflies covering the trail. We weren’t the only ones. We often came upon pairs of hikers just stopped in their tracks in the middle of the trail, gaping open mouthed at the butterflies swarming around them.
In the second half, the trail starts heading up hill, as it follows Cow Creek towards Mummy Mountain. There are a few steeper sections, and one little scramble that confused many people. You pass a few other smaller waterfalls on your way up, and even some serious looking cascades.
But the trail ends at the base of Bridal Veil Falls. You can’t miss it. Mark and I were amazingly lucky, and had the falls entirely to ourselves for nearly an hour that afternoon.
It took us about four hours (round trip) to do this little hike, and it was a great way to spend a quiet afternoon in the mountains.