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Waterfall hikes in Pagosa Springs: Treasure Falls

Treasure Falls from parking lot
Treasure Falls from parking lot
Deb Stanley

Treasure Falls is a great treat near Pagosa Springs because you can see it from the highway. Driving down Wolf Creek Pass toward Pagosa Springs, on the south side of the pass, there’s a pullout on the left side of the road with a parking area and a view of the falls.

Treasure Falls
Deb Stanley

Sign tell visitors Treasure Falls is created by Falls Creek and it’s 105-feet high. You can see the top half of the drop from the parking lot viewing point and that’s where many people take their photos. However, I highly recommend the short hike to the falls.

The trail starts on the north end of the parking lot. While there is a trail by the signs, the best trail was at the other end of the parking lot in 2014. In the early 2000s, there were bathrooms at this end of the parking lot, but they were gone in 2014.

Treasure Falls Trail #563 is a nice wide, dirt path where two people can walk side-by-side comfortably. This is a pleasant walk because you’re in the forest, in the shade. Because the trail is a bit steep, there are lots of benches along the way. If you’re tired or out of breath, stop and sit. Watch the other visitors go by and enjoy sitting in the woods.

About 0.15 miles from the parking lot, you’ll come to a trail split for the “overlook.” This is not an overlook of the falls, it’s an overlook of the valley. For now, I suggest going to the falls.

The trail continues climbing up, passing more benches and two signs that talk about life in the forest.

At 0.35 miles, you’ll come to another trail split. The left trail goes to Misty Deck, the trail to the right goes to a bridge with a view of the falls. I suggest going left first.

Misty Deck is appropriately named. It’s a deck in the spray of the water. If you can get to the deck and stand on it, you’ll get a great view of the falls and you’ll liked get misted or soaked! During high-runoff season, I’ve stood near the deck, but not on it, to get amazing pictures of the cascading falls.

When you’re done taking pictures at Misty Deck, head back down the hill to the last trail split and go the other direction. It’s just a few steps to a bridge below the falls and another great view of this incredible waterfall. Here you’ll see the entire drop and some of the cascades below Treasure Falls.

Walk down the stairs on the other side of the bridge and out a short, dirt path to see the 1985 blowout. In 1985, heavy rains and warm temperatures created pressure on this canyon. According to a sign here, the soil collapsed and tons of debris flowed down the canyon, scouring it to bedrock in places. The sign says the debris hit 30 mph as it flowed downhill, crossing Highway 160 below.

Quite honestly, it’s hard to see the canyon now because so much vegetation has regrown here in the last 25+ years. After reading the sign and imaging the blowout, return to the bridge and enjoy Treasure Falls again. When you’re done, return back to the parking lot.

Check out some of my favorite waterfall hikes here and in this list of 200+ hikes across the state. Don't miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.

Details: The hike from the parking lot to the Misty Deck, the bridge and the blowout viewpoint is nearly a mile with 220 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: Coming from the north, the Treasure falls pullout is on the left side of Highway 160 at the bottom of Wolf Creek Pass, on the Pagosa Springs side. Where the switchbacks/curves end. From Pagosa Springs, the turnoff is on the right side of the road, about 15 miles from town.

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