As I've mentioned before, Colorado Springs is saturated with tourist traps. Though it's located next door to plenty of wonderful natural elements, most tourists merely follow the giant freeway billboards. One tourist trap you should avoid is Seven Falls. Due to a natural drought in the region, this seven-stepped waterfall is actually fueled by pump-driven recirculated water for the dryer months of the year. In addition, some reviewers online state that the attraction operators place fake wildlife in the immediate surroundings to entertain tourists. Right away, this didn't sound like fun to me.
Instead, I chose to spend my time at Helen Hunt Falls. This waterfall, named after famed author Helen Hunt Jackson, is accessible via a right turn just prior to the road that leads to Seven Falls. The road to Helen Hunt Falls leads you through a series of switchbacks up the mountain, upon which you stumble across the quaint visitors center for the falls. From here, you can take a hike that leads to the top of the falls, and then above the falls to a ridge overlooking a tall rock face. This overlook offers a beautiful view of the region, from the pine-saturated foothills to the plains off in the distance.
I was lucky enough to have done my research ahead of time, and managed to avoid yet another tourist trap. But most people only go by what's shown in advertisements, and because of this, don't even know that Helen Hunt Falls exists. Though this is a shame, it also means that you probably wont find a crowd at the falls, which results in a much less stressful experience. And if you're a photographer, it'll be much easier to take tourist-free shots as well. If you're in the region, and you're looking for a good way to connect to nature and go on a few hikes, I highly recommend checking out Helen Hunt Falls and its surrounding region.
View more photos of Helen Hunt Falls on my Colorado Flickr set.