Northern Colorado has so many great hiking trails to cover, and this weekend I chose to explore Horsetooth Falls in Horsetooth Mountain Park.

I've been getting familiar with Horsetooth Mountain Park over the past few weekends, mainly with Horsetooth Mountain (or Horsetooth Rock, which is what I actually grew up calling it). The Horseooth Falls trail starts out in the same parking lot as the Horsetooth Mountain trail, and there are 2 ways to get there, depending on how long of a hike you want to make it.

My dad and I went the "normal" but shorter route to the falls, and it was absolutely beautiful. We started out at about 6 a.m. and came across deer, bunnies, and a donkey honking in the distance (unfortunately I don't think this was a wild donkey). If you enjoy shaded hikes, gentle steps, and benches to rest while you take in beautiful pasture views, this first stretch is perfect for you. But as we got closer to the falls, the elevation picked up and we had to climb over a few steep rocks and stairs (but even those with "bad knees" would be able to handle them).

When you get closer to the falls, a fork leads you in 2 different directions - to the top and bottom of the falls. My dad and I chose to explore both, first exploring the bottom of the falls, which was something of a magical, mystical fairy land.

If you love birdwatching, you're really going to love this spot. Horsetooth Falls at 6 a.m. is full of hummingbirds and robins bating in and dancing around the trickle of water falling down the rocks and into a small pool at the bottom. The hummingbirds are also very friendly and curious - one flew right past my dad's head, and when we explored the top of the falls, I had one hover for a couple seconds right up next to my right ear - so close that I could feel its wings propelling air toward me!

The top of the falls is also pretty dry. I imagine water is more plentiful during the springtime.

Mollie Kendrick/TSM

A couple pools sat on top among smooth rocks, which were fun and easy to climb on. Cactus and trees thrive in between the rocks, as well as a random strip of clear Quartz spanning over 10 feet in between the feldspar.

While Horsetooth Falls is an incredibly beautiful hike that I'd definitely do again, it's a very short hike. If you love short hikes, this is perfect. If you enjoy more challenging hikes, however, this trail isn't going to impress you. I like something in-between, and my dad is the same way. So to make our return to the parking lot more challenging, we decided to continue along the Spring Creek trail, which connects to the Horsetooth Falls trail, and eventually turns into the Soderberg and Horsetooth Mountain trails, which took us back to the parking lot.

The Spring Creek trail has plenty of shade, but once you reach the Soderberg trail, that's when you'll be battling the sun. On a slightly muggy morning, it's not the most fun thing in the world.

Overall, I give this hike a 10 out of 10 for enjoyment and fun, 9 out of 10 for wildlife encounters, and a 3 out of 10 for challenge (it was a very easy hike).

Mollie Kendrick/TSM