Little Dolores Falls

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6596 - 6696 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: The Falls Campground
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic falls




The Little Dolores Falls are located in the Glade Park area near Grand Junction, Colorado. The site is a popular swimming hole during the summer months. Multiple pools are good for swimming and wading with one that is a little deeper that is used for cliff jumping. When the currents are swift, as during spring time and when thunderstorms are in the area, the water should be avoided. People have lost their lives at the falls while swimming and cliff jumping even when conditions may have been considered ideal.


To get to the Falls Campground find your way to the Miracle Rock Picnic Area. Continue past Miracle Rock for about 1.3 miles and turn right. Once you turn off of S 9 8/10 it is only a short distance to the trailhead.


From the parking area the route follows an old road toward the falls.


As the road nears the falls the trail branches off and becomes more primitive.


Upon approaching the falls there is a sign that warns of the perils that are ahead.


The Little Dolores River has carved out a gorge through the granite bedrock creating steep cliffs and a number of potholes. The rocks can become extremely slippery when wet.


To the left of the falls there are several wading pools that are generally safe to enter during the summer months once the snow has melted on Pinon Mesa and there are no thunderstorms in the area.


When there is a strong current the pools become dangerous as it is easy to get swept downstream into the potholes. Swimmers have been drowned when they were pinned against the rocks by the current.


The high water line can be seen on the sides of the rocks around the potholes. That doesn't mean that is all the higher the water gets because there are times during heavy runoff and flashfloods when all of this is underwater.


A primitive trail leads to the base of the falls where people can be seen on the cliffs above preparing to plunge into the only pool that has deep enough water. There is very little room for error in taking the plunge which must be made feet first into just the right spot without bouncing off the cliff on the way down.


It is a shame that a place that is so pretty can have such tragedy linked to it. Even though we had always forbidden our kids from coming here when they were school age we found out in later years that they had in fact gone anyway on several occasions.


When we took the photos for this post there were several families with small children but most of the people we saw were college age kids. It was very nice to see that no alcohol was being consumed. There's nothing wrong with the legal consumption of alcohol. This just isn't a wise place to do it. As far as the Little Dolores Falls goes it is very pretty and well worth a visit. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.