Berthoud Falls Cascades: Read This Before Visiting

If you’re ever driving along Hwy 40 in Colorado, be sure to take a couple of minutes to check out Berthoud Falls Cascades. It’s an incredibly accessible cascading waterfall that is hard to pass up if you know where to look.

Below, I’ll break down everything you need to know when visiting Berthoud Falls Cascades, including how to catch one of the most magnificent views it has to offer.

What is Berthoud Falls Cascades?

Berthoud Falls Cascades is a small and very easily reachable cascading waterfall situated right alongside the winding Hwy 40. Due to its compact size and close proximity to the highway, it presents an ideal opportunity for a brief stopover while exploring the surrounding region.

Berthoud Falls Cascades

How to get to Berthoud Falls Cascades

You’ll find the cascades when traveling on Hwy 40, just west of the town of Empire, Colorado.

You need to be careful when visiting Berthoud Falls Cascades because the turn off is located right on a hair point turn as seen below.

So try to slow down and put your blinker on as you are approaching the turn so that the cars behind you will be on notice. On busy weekends, this little curve could be a little treacherous. Check out the image below to see just how tight of a turn this is!

There’s not an official parking lot but it’s more of an extended turnout area with a ~50 foot pathway that leads to a bridge which the cascades run underneath.

When we visited, there were no other vehicles so we parked pretty close to the falls but when we were leaving there were a number of vehicles so the space can get a little bit tight at times. Try to park in a way that allows space for others.

Visiting Berthoud Falls Cascades

Berthoud Falls Cascades is a popular spot because the cascades are located only a few steps away from where you can park so you don’t have to do any kind of hiking to get to them.

They aren’t the biggest falls or the largest cascades you’ve probably ever seen but they are beautiful and if you visit in early summer when there is a lot of snow melt, the water will be flowing at a good rate.

Berthoud Falls Cascades

You can spend time exploring this area and simply meander around the creek. Exercise caution when approaching certain edges as the drop-off can be quite significant.

For those who are active minded, you can take the trail located on the right side of the creek.

Berthoud Falls Cascades

Get ready for a pretty steep scramble at times, like the ones you’d find near some waterfalls in Hawaii.

I highly suggest checking out this little trail because if you hike/scramble up just a bit, you’ll be treated to an awesome view of Hoop Creek with mountains in the background. It’s definitely worth it!

Berthoud Falls Cascades

It looked like the trail continued on but I’m not sure how long it goes on for. The creek intersects Highway 40 just a little bit upstream so I can’t imagine the trail being very long.

Oh, and make sure not to miss the incredible views along the road too! I couldn’t get enough of those stunning snow-capped mountains. They truly take your breath away!

Berthoud Falls Cascades turn off
Berthoud Falls Cascades turn off view
Berthoud Falls Cascades turn off view

As you can probably tell, this road is perfect for a summer drive with pleasant mountain temperatures and beautiful snowy peaks. However, Highway 70 is also an incredible route to take during the autumn season.

Highway 70 colorado

I noticed several expansive slopes covered with vibrant green quaking aspens, which undoubtedly transform into a dazzling golden-yellow spectacle in the fall. It’s no wonder this highway attracts a lot of attention when leaf peepers emerge to witness this captivating display.

Related: Peak to Peak Scenic Byway Guide: List of Sites to See & Tips

Highway 70

Where to eat when you’re in the neighborhood

If you’re working up an appetite and in the area, then my recommendation would be to check out Dairy King in nearby Empire, Colorado. And no, that is not a typo. The name of the joint is called “Dairy King,” and it’s a bit of a hidden gem.

They are known for their great burgers, extra salty fries, and wide range of shakes and malts. They also are dog friendly which is great for those of you road tripping with your furry friends.

Dairy King

We split one of their half pound burgers and then tried one of their specialty shakes which was an amazing peanut butter and marshmallow brownie concoction. And like I mentioned, if you like your fries extra salty, you’ll really love this place.

Beyond the food, the amazing weather, and snow-capped mountain views, the dining experience was made extra special because the staff was very friendly. So I couldn’t recommend this place enough!

Dairy King

Final word

Highway 40 meanders through the stunning Front Range mountains of Colorado, offering a picturesque route away from Interstate 70.

This scenic road is a popular choice for travelers heading to various destinations, including the renowned Hot Springs near Granby, ski resorts, and those seeking a breathtaking drive, particularly during the vibrant fall foliage season.

I wholeheartedly encourage making a brief stop at the Berthoud Falls Cascades. The cascades are conveniently accessible, and if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to scramble up and marvel at the awe-inspiring views they offer.

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