Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

Trip Report: North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado

Basic Information

Picture from Highway 149

Narrative

For anyone who has made the drive up to Windy Point to take in the mountain views above the beautiful Lake City, Colorado, I highly recommend continuing about 30 more miles up Highway 149 to see the stunning North Clear Creek Falls:

Visiting the Alferd Packer Massacre site, Windy Point, and then driving to North Clear Creek Falls makes for a great morning excursion for anyone visiting Lake City.  From Windy Point, Highway 149 drives through a beautiful area of high altitude mesas and large meadows:

Picture from Highway 149

Unfortunately much of the forest around Highway 149 on these mesas have been killed off by the pine bark beetle:

Picture from Highway 149

But, to show how life goes on in these mountains, much of the areas where the pine trees have been killed the quick growing aspen trees have grown to replace them:

Picture from Highway 149

The picture below shows how large some of the aspen groves are that have replaced the dead pine trees:

Picture from Highway 149

Eventually the seeds from these pine trees will grow taller than the surrounding aspens and deprive them of needed sunlight thus killing them.  This is the constant cycle of life between the aspen and pine trees in the Rocky Mountains and it is interesting to currently see it play out along Highway 149.

A marker I stopped to read along the way told about how these mesas were also once home to Ice Age hunters nearly 10,000 years ago:

Picture from Highway 149

Considering how scenic and full of life this area of Colorado is I can understand why some Neolithic age Ice Men would want to live here.  This next picture shows the large meadow that the river that forms North Clear Creek Falls flows through:

Picture from Highway 149

From Highway 149 a clearly marked turn off led to a parking lot where a short trail leads to this iconic view of North Clear Creek Falls:

Picture from Highway 149

Here is a panorama view that shows how the river here has over time cut this wide gorge into the valley beginning at the waterfall:

Picture from Highway 149

After spending about 30 minutes checking out the waterfall my family and I then headed back to Lake City to get lunch.  Plus there was a lot of clouds building in the sky that was signaling that bad weather was coming:

Picture from Highway 149

As we began to descend the portion of the highway that leads back down to Lake City we could see the 14,309 foot Uncompahgre Peak poking through the cloud cover ahead of us:

Picture from Highway 149

You can read more about Uncompahgre Peak at the below trip report:

As we descended further down the mountain we could soon see the beautiful Lake City below us:

Picture from Highway 149

Conclusion

Visiting North Clear Creek Falls is a great way to cap a morning itinerary of driving up Highway 149 to see the Alferd Packer Massacre Site and then Windy Point.  All three of these sites are either scenic or interesting check out during any visit to the Lake City area.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *