Agnes Vaille Falls - Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado Visitor Guide
  • Agnes_Vaille_Falls_2018_07_12


Published with permission from the guide book: Mellow Mountain Trails Hiking Guide to Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley

by Nathan Ward.

  • Featuring 27 Fun Day Hikes in Buena Vista & Salida – beginner to expert..
  • Maps and Elevation Profiles for each ride, including altitude gain and loss.
  • Local Advice on riding areas and seasons, where to sleep, where to soak, where to find the best pizza, the best coffee and the best bars in Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado.

Agnes Vaille Falls is a popular trail for a short, pleasant hike to a beautiful waterfall. The history of Agnes Vaille is on an interpretative sign, located at the beginning of the hike. The views to the southwest are spectacular.

Agnes Vaille was a mountain climber in the 1920s and she attempted the first winter ascent of the east face of Long’s Peak in 1925. Vaille and her climbing partner summited after more than 24 hours of cold climbing, but on the descent Vaille fell 100 feet down a cliff. She didn’t die from the fall but succumbed to the cold and exhaustion while her partner went for help. Her friend, Jo Love named these beautiful falls for Vaille.

Location: Chalk Creek, West of Nathrop
Distance: 1 Mile – Out & Back
Hiking Time: 1 Hour
Best Months: May through October
Trail Type: Singletrack
Difficulty: Easy
Dog Friendly: Yes
Elevation in Feet: Low Point 8,816; High Point 9,170; Climbs/Descends 365
Land Status: San Isabel National Forest
Maps: Trails Illustrated #130.

CAUTION: At the top of the hike, don’t climb on the rocks or bushwack beneath the cliffs. Rockfall is very common here as are flash floods from the slopes above during heavy rain. Better to keep at a distance.


Agnes Vaille Falls Mileage Log

0.0 Trailhead – Sign the trailhead register. Elevation 8,816 ft. (N 38 42.83, W106 13.97)
0.1 Read about the railroad race.
0.3 Look for a sign about falling rocks, followed by an interpretive sign about the history of Mount Antero (14,289 ft.). Mt. Antero is known for its many gems. After a few yards, do not take the trail to the right. There are spectacular views to the southwest.
0.4 Sitting bench on the right. Listen to the creek – this drainage comes out of Cascade Canyon.
0.5 The creek is on your right and the trail begins to be very rocky. Here, you will need to climb over the rocks. Be careful! Wooden and rock steps lead up the trail to the falls. Stop here and look at the falls, straight ahead. Elevation 9,165 ft. (N38 42.83, W106 13.97).
There is a sign here warning you not to climb on the rocks. Please heed this warning – the rocks commonly slide. This is a good place to rest, have lunch and enjoy the falls. Return the same way.
1.0 Back at the trailhead.


We want you to have a safe and enjoyable trip into Colorado’s backcountry. Be prepared it could be a long walk out. Be sure to read this list of equipment you should bring on your ride along with tips to make your biking trip more enjoyable.


The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.


If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.


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