Columbine Falls

There are many waterfalls up on the upper stretches of Columbine Creek.  This 120’ high cascade is a sweet hidden Gem.


My favorite way to find “new” waterfalls is by walking downstream.  That way I discover them from the upstream side.  It is very impressive to first see them from the top…!!!  They look way higher from above than they do from below. I first went to Cow Lake and approached everyone of these many waterfalls on Columbine Creek from above.  Nice.

The photos below appear in the same order that I discovered them... and as they are on the map below.


a three tiered 30 foot cataract…

Columbine30' lo



then a 50’ high waterfall with two tiers... I call…

Upper Columbine Cascades

two 25’ live trees and a dead one are hanging over the falls...  so here’s another shot of just the 30’ high lower tier.

Columbine2tier60' lo   Columbine2tier60'lower40' lo


next is this bouncy 30 footer…

Columbin50' lo


and a’nuther

Columbine50' lo


then… the big one…

120’ high- feast your eyes on the splendid multi-tiered Columbine Cascade…!!!


beta facts:

name- Columbine Cascades or Columbine Falls

height- 120’ high multi-tiered hanging falls

elevation- 9300’

GPS coordinates- ±36°38.398’N 105°31.400’W

flow- perennial

season- late spring is best but summer and fall are fine

accommodations- none

ownership- Carson National Forest

access- 3¼-mile hike with the last half mile being a steep dangerous bushwhack-a-rooster…!!!

nearest town- Questa is 7½ miles northwest and Red River is 8½ miles to the northeast

fun fact- hard to get to and wonderful…!!!


essay bro:

The entire Columbine Creek watershed is splendid and beautiful… one of my favorites.  More time there will uncover more waterfalls there.  Go feel it and love it like I do.  The Columbine Cascades are awesome.  Feel free to print your own copy of my map below.

Columbine Cascades is a fine New Mexico Treasure.


See also: Columbine Lake Photos Below this map as well as Courney Falls and Little Columbine Falls 

Enhanced USGS 7.5’ topo map

Columbine copy

_______________one mile______________                  

note- the small round, blue dot on the creeks above shows whitewater-cascades



Columbine Lake See the map above

Columbine Lake is an old lake that has filled in considerably.  However it is in a beautiful setting a thousand feet below Columbine Mountain.  I am not a Wildlife Biologist… but could beavers be planted here?  It is fed with a strong flowing perennial spring and their favorite trees (aspens) are all around… could beavers resurrect Columbine Lake’s original beauty? …or is 10,900’ elevation too high for them...???  


Beavers live at 10,500’ in Lagunitas Lakes… farther north than here…


Also… Look at the extreme right-hand edge of my map up above… those abandon beaver dams are amazingly huge… the biggest I have ever seen.  Beavers could again thrive where they once thrived.  The old dams are up to eight feet high.

Columbine Lake lowrez                 Columbine Lake lorez

Columbine Lake is at the headwaters of the Lake Fork of Columbine Creek.  It is within the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area.


Back to New Mexico Waterfalls

Back to Hobbies

Back to


Send questions and comments to