Skip to content

Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

Distance1.18 mi
Elevation Gain135 ft
My Time29 Min
Closest TownSteamboat Springs
Food NearbyOld Town Pub

Hiking Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

Fish Creek Falls and Overlook are two short treks that should be available to all skill levels. The lower walk takes you down to the waterfalls base while the overlook is a paved path that leads to a top level view of the falls. Late spring and early summer is a great time to visit as the water will be flowing the highest.

Getting Started at Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

Fish Creek Falls is located in Steamboat Springs and managed by the Forest Service. After paying the day fee, the park can be accessed at the top of the road. There is a decent sized parking lot that has access to the lower picnic area or the upper overlook of the 280 foot waterfall. As of June 2023 there are closures due to an avalanche that caused damage. Please, check with officials on any current closures.

Fish Creek Falls Lower Views

The hike down to the lower Fish Creek Fall view is pretty special. The trail starts through a heavily wooded area that is a mix of lower bushes and tall aspens and assorted other trees. The narrow section of trail doesn’t last too long and is quickly replaced with a wider path that follows the path of the creek as you get deeper into the canyon and closer to the falls.

The pathway to lower Fish Creek Falls.
The pathway to lower Fish Creek Falls.

The path itself is hard packed dirt and well traveled. There is a grade of up to 15% in sections near the creek so it does get a little steep. The trail is wide enough that it isn’t too much of a challenge until the return trip where the elevation will be a challenge for some.

The good news is it is only two-tenths of a mile from the parking lot to the bridge at the bottom of the trail. On my visit, the water was too high so the bridge was closed and the best view of the falls was from the trail in front of the bridge. Fish Creek Falls is magnificent from here. The water explodes down into the base of the canyon and then the water rages down the creek bed.

This is definitely the more challenging of the two options to view the falls and might not be right for everyone. The Overlook is a much easier path and those with mobility problems may enjoy that more.

Fish Creek Falls from the base.
Fish Creek Falls from the base.

Fish Creek Falls Overlook

For those looking for a bit easier time, the Overlook may be the best option. The Fish Creek Falls Overlook trail is a paved path with very minimal change in elevation. Almost immediately down the path there are some views of the falls tucked into the mountain side. The Overlook path also has some informational graphics that give the history of the falls and surrounding lands.

Fish Creek Falls from the path to the Overlook.
Fish Creek Falls from the path to the Overlook.

From the parking lot to the observation area is a short third of a mile. From there, the falls in all their splendor are visible and it really shows how large the cascading water is. The observation area is fairly large with room for people to view the falls and also places to sit and relax.

Both views are enjoyable and I was really impressed with how close I could get on the lower section. But also really appreciated how big the falls looked from the top side. Either way the Fish Creek Falls views are really enjoyable.

Fish Creek Falls from the Overlook.
Fish Creek Falls from the Overlook.

Video of Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

I have put this time-lapse video together of the Fish Creek Falls and Overlook hikes so other hikers can get a feel of what the hike is like. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get the latest outdoor content.

Distance and Elevation

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby. Plus, it gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.18 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 135 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,2540 feet. I was also moving for a total of 29 minutes.

I am a Pro member of Alltrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.


This one is pretty easy and it designed for most skill levels. However, the trail to the lower falls has a bit of a consistent slope to it. The upper trail to the overlook is paved and easy to manage. The lower trail doesn’t have a railing at all so parents will want to make sure their kids don’t get to close to the edge. Overall this is an easy hike and if the lower section looks too challenging, the upper overlook trail is very easy and good for all skill levels.


The terrain at Fish Creek Falls is really easy to manage. The upper portion to the overlook is paved and really easy. Plus,the lower section is a very hard packed dirt that is about as close to paved as you can get. There is some exposure to sun so you will want to make sure that you have sun protection for the hike. Otherwise this is pretty simple and any good walking shoe with traction will be ok.

Access to Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

Fish Creek Falls and Overlook are located at 34165 Fish Creek Falls Road in Steamboat Springs. A $5 entry fee for the park is required or an annual parks pass can be used. There is parking for about 30 cars and the falls are first come first serve. Restroom facilities and picnic areas are available at the park.

Wrapping up Fish Creek Falls and Overlook

Fish Creek Falls was a really enjoyable spot to visit. The Falls and Overlook are both just a short walk from the parking lot. The falls themselves are spectacular. 280 feet of drop and surrounded by a tree covered cliff make for one of the more impressive waterfalls in Colorado.

There really isn’t much of a “hike” to the Fish Creek Falls but more of a leisurely walk good for the whole family. Although, the real draw is the amazing power of the water and the beauty of the area.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at Or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

2 thoughts on “Fish Creek Falls and Overlook”

  1. Fish Creek Falls is a beautiful place. We were there in August of 2022. It is an easy hike from the parking lot.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: