At just a quarter-mile long, the gravel trail to the base of Fish Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Yampa Valley. For those in wheelchairs or strollers, take a paved half-mile path from the trailhead to the falls overlook, easily accessible for the whole family. Either way, the iconic 280-foot waterfall is a must-see destination during your Steamboat visit.

The waterfall roars in the spring, when ski season snowmelt rushes from Storm Peak into the Yampa River, where water sports enthusiasts test their skills in kayaks, rafts and on standup paddleboards. In summer, the falls is popular with hikers and families. Even snow drifts don’t keep visitors away. The destination is open year-round, with snowshoers and ice climbers seeking out its frozen falls in winter.
Upper Falls
After stopping to cool off in the mist of the lower falls, prepared hikers can continue 2.5 miles to Fish Creek’s upper falls. The trail is strenuous and gains more than 1,600 feet in elevation through Fish Creek Canyon, so be sure to pack snacks and plenty of water. The 3-hour roundtrip hike features views of the Yampa Valley and culminates at the upper falls after a bridge crossing and some switchbacks.

Long Lake
Most hikers turn around here, but visitors can hike an additional 3.5 miles to Long Lake near the Continental Divide. The 12-mile roundtrip hike will take the whole day, so be sure to come prepared with lunch and extra water.

By the numbers

Falls overlook:
1 mile round trip.
No elevation gain.
About 30 minutes.

Lower falls:
0.5 miles round trip.
100-foot elevation gain.
About 25 minutes.
Upper falls:
5 miles round trip.
1,560-foot elevation gain.
About 3 hours.

Long Lake:
12 miles round trip.
2,440-foot elevation gain.
About 7 hours.
From U.S. Highway 40, head north on Third Street in downtown Steamboat Springs. Take a right on Fish Creek Falls Road and drive 4 miles to the parking lot and trailhead. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Open 6:00am to 10:00pm daily.