August 13, 2012

Hike Review: Cow Creek Trail-head to Bridal Veil Falls

Cow Creek's Bridal Veil Falls
Cow Creek Trail-head
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park; Cow Creek Trail-head near Estes Park
Distance: 6.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Change: 7,900 feet at trail-head to 8,800 (900 foot elevation gain, most in the last quarter mile)
Time of year best to hike: Late Spring to early Fall
Recommended Maps: Rocky Mountain National Park 

Mini-swim hole on Cow Creek
Cow Creek

Summary: The trail starts at the historic McGraw ranch.  It would be very easy to spend some extra time exploring the ponds and ranch area that greets you at the trail-head.  The walk follows a small valley for a little over a mile and turns north into a wooded canyon still following Cow Creek.  We hiked in early August.  Not a lot of water flowing, but we managed to find at least one decent pool to enjoy.  There are rolling hills, and a slight uphill grade to this hike, but the huge majority of the elevation gain in is the last quarter mile scramble up rock steps and rock slabs to the base of the 70 foot waterfall.

Above Bridal Veil Falls

At the top of Bridal Veil Falls

The Top of the Veil

McGraw Ranch at Cow Creek Trail-head