Hiking with small kids….
One of those sounds like a great thing to do in Colorado and one sounds like a death sentence? Right?
Just a few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of going out to Colorado to not only see my beautiful sister tie the knot but also to spend some time hitting up sights I haven’t yet explored on my many trips to the home of the Rocky Mountain Range.
Seven Falls was one of those sights. During a family trip several years ago, we attempted to check out Seven Falls but the park was closed due to flash flooding type of weather. It had just down poured and the park was soaking wet; we were going to try it anyway because we were anxious to do some sight seeing but alas, we were denied.
This time around there was no flash flooding, monsoon type of weather to forbade us from entering the park so we set out one morning after breakfast (actually it was after a morning run (which was after breakfast) with my sis, her soon-to-be-that-very-day hubby, and friends and family for a pre-wedding run on the Santa Fe Trail).
Seven Falls is located in Colorado Springs, in the southern area of town. It’s also very close to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo so you should check that out as well. We did get to take in the zoo this time too and we were very impressed. I’ll fill you in on the ins and outs of the Zoo later.
A multitude of road signs and that ever blessed Map App on the iPhone led us straight to Seven Falls. However, when we got there, the 12 year old park guide (jk, he just looked 12; I’m sure he was every bit of 16.) redirected us down the road “about one mile” to the actual parking for the Falls, which has recently been relocated to the Broadmoor Hotel.
Large and frequent signage directed folks from the entrance to the Falls park to the actual parking lot where shuttle buses picked up attraction goers and drove back up the hill and through the curvy streets, to the park. I would venture to say that it’s a little further than one mile from the parking at the hotel to the actual entrance to the Falls. If you think you’ll just walk, you may want to think again. Especially if you have plans to do some serious hiking.
Once you enter, a tram (shown above) will drive you from the entrance to the actual base of the waterfall, as it’s a good maybe 3/4 mile hike up hill. For those not in good shape, handicapped, or just simply don’t like to get your exercise, feel free to tram it up. I’ll warn you that you will probably not take in the beauty of the entrance like we did though.
Our kids are now 2 and 4. Olivia, the 4 year old, is quite independent and did great walking on her own through our adventures in Colorado, with the exception of a few times when she needed a piggyback ride to rest her weary, little feet, to which I, of course, obliged. Easton is the “baby”. He does good walking for a bit but his short, stocky legs don’t bring him along very fast so we were thankful we picked up an Ergobaby at REI before coming out to the Falls.
The shuttle driver was kind enough to give us a little background info of Seven Falls and of the Broadmoor Hotel, which is where we parked our car and the conglomerate that currently owns Seven Falls. The name so became because the waterfall itself actually has seven distinct “falls” from top to bottom. There are 224 stairs to get to the top. Of course you can stay at the base of the fall and simply take in the beauty but to get your money’s worth and to relish the full experience, you should climb the 224 stairs all the way to the top.
The stairs really aren’t bad; a little nerve-racking trying to get your 2 and 4 year old up safely but not bad. Someone with a fear of heights (ahem, my hubby) might have a little trouble with the stairs but 224 goes by pretty quickly really.
Once you’ve reached the summit, you are rewarded with the options of several different hikes through the forest. But because this was the time that our kids started getting cranky and tired, we only got to walk through a very short portion of the forest hikes. What we did see was beautiful and peaceful. The trails are marked with signs so no worries about finding your way.
Had we been at the Falls sans wee ones, we easily would have been able to spend at least a good half day roaming the trails and soaking in the pine forest beauty. However, we did have the littles and they do have littles-size attention spans so we were only able to take in about an hour and a half of Falls filled fun.
There is a restaurant about halfway from the entrance to the base of the Falls. It has a great view so when you get hungry after the day’s hike, be sure to stop in there for some lunch or dinner. To check out more detailed information about Seven Falls such as prices and hours click here.