About Helen Hunt Falls
Helen Hunt Falls was our introduction to the waterfalls in the Colorado Springs area, and it was quite easy to visit. It was essentially a modestly-sized two-segment cascade on North Cheyenne Creek dropping about 36ft that was easily seen from the parking lot along the main road in North Cheyenne Canyon Park (also spelled North Cheyenne Cañon Park; see directions below). There was a visitor center building there, but I’d imagine that it was open seasonally as it wasn’t open during our visit in late March 2017. Given how easy this visit was, our daughter had quite a bit of fun playing near the water at the base of the falls as well as interacting with some locals visiting with their dogs.
While it was easy to think of the name of this falls in terms of the actress Helen Hunt (who acted in the sitcom Mad About You as well as movies like Twister, As Good As It Gets, What Women Want, Castaway, Pay It Forward, etc.), when doing research prior to and after visiting this falls, I learned that the waterfall was named after writer Helen Hunt Jackson who lived in and was buried in Colorado Springs later in her life in the 19th century. In addition to writing works inspired by the scenery of the Colorado Springs area, she was an advocate for Native American rights, which was quite revolutionary at the time given the history of Native Americans during an era when land was being seized from the various tribes throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, her most notable work titled Ramona was said to be about the mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California, and she often published anonymously to get her voice heard while minimizing the anticipated backlash from speaking out.
During our visit, North Cheyenne Creek seemed to have fairly average to less-than-average flow, which was surprising to us considering it was early Spring. Even though most of California had been getting much higher than average rainfall in the Winter, apparently this part of the Rocky Mountains didn’t get as much of that precipitation that we were getting hit with. Thus, I’d imagine had the area not gotten any more precipitation the falls could go dry in the Summer once the snow pack had been depleted.
Our visit only took us less than 30 minutes, which encompassed lingering around the base of the falls and hiking up to the bridge above the falls. Julie talked me out of doing the Silver Cascades Trail further beyond the top of Helen Hunt Falls as we were short on time (though I did see an attractive cascade a short distance further upstream). According to the signs, that trail was said to be about 1/3-mile in each direction with about 275ft of elevation gain (which can hit you if you’re not already acclimated to the elevation of Colorado Springs at about 6,000ft and the dry climate).
While there were many ways to drive to Helen Hunt Falls from various spots in the Colorado Springs area, we’ll just describe the way we did it from the I-25 exit at Tejon Street (exit 140) a few miles south of downtown Colorado Springs. Once we got off the freeway and reached the next traffic light at the off-ramp, we then turned right and followed Tejon Street for about 0.4 miles to its junction with West Cheyenne Blvd, where we kept right and followed this street for about 2.4 miles to its intersection with North Cheyenne Canyon Road (right across from the North Cheyenne Canyon Visitor Center). We then turned right to go onto North Cheyenne Canyon Road and followed this narrower road for about 2.6 miles to the obvious parking lot in front of the visitor center, where the waterfall could clearly be seen already. Overall, this drive took us about 20-25 minutes to get from the Rockrimmon Blvd ramps along the I-25 (near the Hyatt House where we stayed) to this part of North Cheyenne Canyon Park.
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