The Maxwell Falls Lower Trail is a more challenging route to Maxwell Falls than the Upper Trail. Though both trails are accessible to a wide range of two-legged and four-legged hikers, the Lower Trail is longer and gains a few hundred feet more in elevation along the way than the Upper Trail. The parking areas are similarly primitive and are equally lacking in bathrooms and other amenities, but the Maxwell Falls Lower Trailhead has a little more room to park. Rather than a pull-off, it's a dirt lot set off from the road by a short dirt driveway. Trail signage will show that you've come to the right place. Be sure you bring any needed supplies, such as clean up bags and water.
This verdant forest trail is deeply shaded by pines that also fill the air with alluring scents. The shallow and musical Cub and Maxwell Creeks run along your path, filling the air with whispering ripples and splashes as water courses over the rocky creekbed. Let your dog enjoy all of these sensory delights, but note that Forest Service rules prohibit dogs from getting into the water. This preserves the health of the waterway for the wild animals that call the area home.
As you ascend and descend to different elevations along the trail, you'll kick up dust through dry stands of aspen and then sink into soft mud as you pass by moss-covered rocks. If you come in the winter, you'll be surrounded by snow, but keep in mind that winter weather makes the hike more difficult. If you visit in the fall, the aspens will splash the hills with gold, while you'll enjoy the relative cool of the shade even more in the hot summer months. Higher elevations take you through open alpine meadows where wildflowers bloom in the spring. Year-round, you can enjoy the shapes that years of erosion have carved into the rocks, from the elaborately chiseled cliffsides to the stepped stone underneath the waterfall.
Maxwell Falls is just a short distance from Denver and the perfect place for a day hike. You're sure to see lots of other lolling tongues and wagging tails on this pupular dog-friendly trail. If you haven't yet made it to the mountains with your dog, consider making this your first adventure together. You're sure to make memories you'll treasure.