Above: Due to a dry winter, the water ran low during my visit to Rainbow Falls in March 2012.
Rainbow Falls is a beautiful waterfall located on the west side of
In the historic settlement days, a wagon trail neared it as it traveled west toward Woodland Park, and
as the region's population grew in the 20th Century, that route became U.S. Highway 24.
Over time, to accomodate the growing
use of the automobile, an unsightly exit ramp and bridge were built beside the waterfall.
For years, this area has been marred with graffiti, vandalism
and environmental hazards, but things are changing for the better.
In 2010, the 4.9 acres surrounding the waterfall were purchased by El Paso County.
(The waterfall sits outside of Manitou Springs city limits.)
The long-term plan is to restore this area into a park, perhaps
similar to a place like Helen Hunt Falls
in North Cheyenne Canyon.
If you love waterfalls and live in the Pikes Peak region, this is a neat place to visit.
Directions: If you have Google maps or a GPS system, search for Serpentine Drive in Manitou Springs.
Park at the dirt lot at the hairpin turn and walk 0.1 miles along Fountain Creek to the waterfall.
If you're in the center of Manitou Springs, travel west on Manitou Avenue.
At the fork where you're forced to choose U.S. Highway 24 west or east, choose east.
That will take you to the hairpin turn on Serpentive Drive.
Photos and commentary by Steve Garufi.