Courtney Falls

25’ high Courtney Falls is up Flag Creek. 

This inspiring, beautiful place is hard to find in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area.


beta facts:

name- Courtney Falls

height- 25’

elevation- 9170’

GPS coordinates-  3639.085’N 10531.748’W

flow- perennial

season- summer… earlier is better

accommodations- nearby Columbine Campground

ownership- Carson National Forest

access- 2 mile hike with the last mile being bushwhack

nearest town- Questa is 7 miles northwest and Red River is 8 miles to the northeast

fun fact- this is a sweet place


essay bro:

Columbine watershed is splendid… one of my favorites… time will uncover more waterfalls here.  Courtney Falls is a -mile mild bushwhack west up Flag Creek from where trail 71 crosses it, just below Placer Fork.  Flag Creek is sometimes dry here but always flows at the falls. 


Courtney found this waterfall for me.  It’s sculpted in clean smooth granitic bedrock, which leads me to believe that more falls are upstream from here… and likely higher.  Get up there soon.  Shoot a buncha photos and share ‘em with me… ‘cause that Canyon is really steep… and I’m tired.


Feel free to print your own copy of my map below. 


See also: Columbine Lake Photos Below this map and Columbine Falls

Enhanced National Geographic 7.5’ topo map however some of the unlabeled falls shown below have not been field verified

_______________one mile______________                   note- the small round, blue dot on the creeks above shows whitewater-cascades that are not falls



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 a few of their favorite trees (aspens) are 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 is at the headwaters of the Lake Fork of Columbine Creek.  It is within the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area.


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