Hike the Weminuche Wilderness to Fourmile Falls

Colorado Fourmile Trailhead

Added by Brandon Silver

  • Two massive waterfalls
  • Easy hike 4-mile hike (8 roundtrip), big reward
  • Beautiful vistas of the wilderness peaks
  • Wild Raspberries
  • Perfect meadows for dispersed camping

Located in Southern Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness, Fourmile Falls is a beautiful day hike perfect for hikers and photographers. The highlights of the trail are the two massive, thundering waterfalls. The falls make this hike ideal in early to mid summer, when the falls are full of icy snowmelt. Also on this trail, you’ll be rewarded with some gorgeous views of Weminuche’s wild landscape. The jagged peaks of the notoriously vast San Juan Range will stand high above you, daring you to wander too far.

From Pagosa Springs, follow “Fourmile Road” - also known as Forest Road 645 – North out of town. The road will quickly turn to dirt, but is very well maintained and should be accessible for all 2WD vehicles. Follow this winding dirt road for twelve miles, past high country ranch homes, through wild forests, and finally up into Colorado’s largest wilderness area, the Weminuche Wilderness. The road will end at the trailhead.

From here it is almost exactly four miles to the further of the two falls. The first is located at around 3.8 miles. Enjoy a fairly easy stroll through the aspen and pine, and take in the beautiful vistas this trail offers. The further down the trail you get, the more the landscape will open it’s arms to you, welcoming you like a long lost relative.

You’ll hear the first set of falls before you see them. Round a corner to witness the river of water recklessly falling from a cliff high above. This is not Four Mile Falls, but a tributary that is almost as high. You can make your way to the bottom of this waterfall, though there is no established trail. If the season is right you’ll find some wild raspberries growing along the creek on the approach to the base of the falls.

If you continue down the trail, you’ll shortly arrive at the roaring second set of falls. These are Four Mile Falls, and seem to make the first waterfall look pretty pathetic. Later in the year, when the water subsides a little, you can get extremely close to the falls and feel them shake the ground beneath you as they impact the bedrock formation. When the falls are in full force, however, I wouldn’t recommend getting too close. They can be fatally powerful. Photographers should bring rain protection for cameras, as the mist from both falls will affect everything close enough. Expect to get soaked.

If you aren’t quite satisfied with the length of this trail, you can follow a branching trail just before the second waterfall up to Four Mile Lake. This trail ascends 400 feet over the course of a mile, climbing above the falls to a popular destination for fishermen. It offers more breathtaking vistas and makes the round trip a solid ten-mile hike. Backpackers will find the lake to be a pleasant place to pitch a tent (prohibited within 100 yards of the water), though you may be in the company of several other groups. You may find better campsites and more solitude in the meadows on the approach to the falls. The meadows come highly recommended for camping photographers, as the sunset lights up the beautiful mountain ridges to the Northeast.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Lunch
  • Tent
  • Rainfly for anything going near the falls
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

8 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

loved it

One of my first hikes in Colorado. I decided to pick a random trailhead and hike with a friend. You cross a couple of creeks, a couple of slight inclines, but pretty easy hike. You do have to climb some to get a good view of the falls or if your like me sit as close as you can to it. This is the time to enjoy the view and recharge your batteries:) The drive alone is breathtaking.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Four Mile Fun

This is an excellent all day hike! There are some challenging up hills. The scenery just gets better and better the farther in you go. The first falls are spectacular, however don't stop there because just another 1/4-1/2 mile there are some beautiful pools and cascading falls to enjoy. I recommend at least 3 liters of water for this hike and remember 4 miles in four miles out! Enjoy

6 months ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Shanahan Ridge Trail

Colorado / Shanahan Ridge Trailhead

Starting on the edge of a neighborhood in South Boulder, this 3.8 mile loop begins its 869 foot elevation gain by meandering through a pine forest.

Hike the Arapaho Traverse

Colorado / Fourth of July Trailhead

Begin at the Fourth of July Trailhead.  Day parking is free and overnight parking is $5.  Fourth of July is a popular trailhead and to ensure parking, you should arrive early in the morning (6am-ish..

Ian Glass
14 Saves

Poudre Canyon Run

Colorado / Dadd Gulch Trailhead Parking

Stretching 126 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Cache La Poudre (pronounced: Poo-ter) river provides host to an entire treasure trove of outdoor recreational activities.

Jason Leach
3 Saves