Piedra Falls

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 8264 - 8363 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Piedra Falls
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic waterfall

Piedra Falls is located in the San Juan National Forest north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. At the end of a pleasant half mile long trail hikers are rewarded with views of a scenic waterfall cascading down volcanic cliffs into the creek below.

From Pagosa Springs turn off of Highway 160 heading north on County Road 600, the Piedra Road. After a few miles the road transitions from pavement to a nice wide hard packed gravel road as it enters the San Juan National Forest and becomes FR #631. At the 17.7 mile point from US 160 veer right following the sign to Piedra Falls.

After veering right continue straight through a 4-way intersection staying on FR #636 and follow that for 1.8 miles to where you turn right onto FR #637. There are signs for Piedra Falls at each of these intersections, except the first 4-way one, so route finding is pretty easy. You can also enter Piedra Falls trailhead in your driving app for turn by turn directions.

Provided that you don't head up to Piedra Falls too early in the year, before all the snow has melted off of the roads, you will find they are well suited for 2wd passenger vehicles with highway clearance.

From the trailhead follow the wide path on the left to get started. There are lots of paths on the right that fishermen take to access the creek.

After a short distance the route will pass a sign with an arrow pointing you on your way.

The trail is semi primitive, with one or two improvements like this bridge, and so well traveled that it is easy to follow.

The trees along the trail are a colorful mix of ponderosa pines, spruce and aspen with a few western cottonwoods lining the creek.

After a very pleasant stroll through the woods the trail arrives at the falls. On a busy day you might need to wait a few minutes to get pictures without a bunch of strangers in them. Waterfalls can be so peaceful that you can't hardly blame anyone for wanting to linger.

At the very bottom is a pool that is nice for wading once the summer temperatures have warmed up a bit and the turbulent spring runoff has passed.

There is a deeper pool tucked away behind the rocks that is a lot harder to reach. It's probably not a good idea to try to swim in it but it sure is nice to look at. It's just hard enough to get to that most people never see it.

The Piedra Falls trail is well suited for families with children of all ages where assistance is provided as needed. We saw a few kids with their swimming suits on that were eagerly headed up the trail to play in the water. We didn't notice any picnic tables around the trailhead but there is plenty of parking where you can have a tailgate lunch without feeling you are in anyone's way. Piedra Falls is one of those hikes that is good for the soul. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.