Socially distancing. It sure has been a treat, am I right (que sarcastic eye roll)? While it hasn’t been the brightest of experiences we all know that it is important but extremely hard to do, especially in cold weather when you are forced to stay indoors for weeks at a time. Well the weather is finally warming up and with that in mind we have put together a list of the 10 top waterfalls hikes in Utah to help get you outdoors, active and seeing some of the natural beauty that the state of Utah has to offer.
Now when it comes to natural beauty elements and landmarks in the great State of Utah it’s a safe bet to say that waterfalls aren’t usually what comes to mind. Monumental arches, unreal mountains and paradisiacal meadows are on the top of the list. However, we are making the claim that waterfalls should be on the forefront of your mind when it comes to natural wonders in Utah.
On our list we have waterfalls found throughout the state and for poeple at all stages of hiking abilities so no matter where you are or how ambitious there is a waterfall on the list for you! So without further ado, check out our list of the top 10 waterfalls in Utah:
Location: Pleasant Grove
Distance: 1.2 miles
Favoritism alert. I grew up in Pleasant Grove only five minutes from the trailhead so I am a bit biased and had to put this one first. However, all bias aside it is an easy hike with a phenomenal payoff at the end. The trail is well kept and runs next to a stream for the majority of the hike. It is a fairly easy hike, even with kids, so don’t let the fear of a lack of hiking ability or the thought of lugging your children all the way to the waterfall keep you from taking in this beautiful spectacle of nature!
Directions:Click this Link From Highway 89 in Pleasant Grove, drive east on 200 South/E Battle Creek Drive for approximately 2.5 miles to the large, gravel parking lot at the end of the road.
Distance: 3.9 miles
My wife grew up in Alpine so favoritism alert round two. Horsetail Falls is a short but steep hike that will get your blood flowing as you take in the beautiful scenes of Dry Creek Canyon. In the early portion of the hike, you will be able to see Lone Peak to the left and Pfeifferhorn straight ahead. When you make it to the waterfall you will have a spectacular view of the valley below. This is a popular hike and parking can fill up quickly, especially on Saturday mornings, so make sure to arrive at the trailhead early.
Directions:Click this Link Take exit 284 for the Timpanogos Highway and head east toward American Fork Canyon. Turn left on the Alpine Highway (5300 W). Follow the highway straight through the roundabout and into Alpine. Turn right onto 200 N. Then turn left onto 200 E. Follow this road and it will turn into Grove Drive. At the T intersection, head right. There is a sign for the rodeo grounds and for Horsetail Falls, head left at this sign up the hill to the trailhead.
Distance: 3.4 miles
Stewart falls is one of the most popular and most photographed waterfalls in Utah. With two tiers of falls dropping water over 200 feet, it is a scene of nature you have to experience. It is located on the east side of Mount Timpanogos and boasts breathtaking views as you make your way to the falls!
As a heads up, when you near the falls there is a descent from the ridge down to the base of the falls that is quite steep. At this point you may want to carry any young children (but it’s only a short distance so don’t let this deter you!) but this doesn’t take away from it being a phenomenal family hike.
*Please note that in order to hike you will need to pay a $6 fee at the ranger booth (unless you have a National Parks Pass, then it’s free).
Directions:Click this Link Take I-15 to the Orem 800 North off ramp (Exit 272) and then turn east onto 800 North. Follow it for 3.7 miles to the mouth of Provo Canyon and as the road splits, take the left curve to go up the canyon. Stay on this road (US 189) for 7 miles. You will go through a short tunnel. Take the left a quarter of a mile after the tunnel. The road is UT 92, and you will follow this narrow road past the Sundance Ski Resort and past Aspen Grove, You will come to a ranger fee station at 4.6 miles from the turn off from US 189. There is a parking lot on the left just past the ranger fee station, park here.
Bridal Veil Falls
Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Super Easy
Bridal Veil Falls is likely the easiest to view and most iconic waterfall in Utah County. If you have driven up Provo Canyon you have more than likely seen Bridal Veil Falls even if you didn’t realize it as it is clearly visible on the eastern side of the canyon. Not only is it a breathtaking waterfall, but it is incredibly easy to get to. Simply park and walk just over a half of a mile on a paved trail to the base of the fall. If you want to get more up close and personal with the fall there is a short trail that will take you right up next to it!
Bridal Veil Falls Park also has picnic tables with barbecue grills, plenty of parking (in a couple of parking lots), as well as grassy picnic spots. A perfect little oasis during times of social distancing!
Directions:Click this Link Take I-15 and take the Orem 800 North off ramp, (Exit 272) and then turn left, (east) onto 800 North. Follow it for 3.7 miles to the mouth of Provo Canyon and as the road splits, take the left curve to go up the canyon. Stay on this road (US 189) for 3.7 miles. You’ll see a sign for Bridal Veil Falls and you’ll turn right off of US 189. After you turn off the highway, you’ll see a parking lot off to the right.
Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon
Distance: 3.0 miles
Donut Falls is one of the most interesting waterfalls in Utah. Donut Falls unique name doesn’t come from a fantastic donut shop found being found at the base of the falls (that would be great if it did) but rather due to the unique fact that the falls plunges through a hole in the rock into a small cave.
To get to the falls you will enjoy a beautiful hike through the forest, past meadows, all while next to the stream that comes down from the waterfall. In order to actually see the donut hole you will need to traverse some rocks to get into the small cave.
Directions:Click this Link Drive 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Mill D Trailhead. Take a right towards the Jordan Pines picnic area. You’ll pass private summer homes on your way to the trailhead parking lot. Follow the signs to Donut Falls.
Bells Canyon Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in the Salt Lake area. The hike up to the first waterfall runs up past Bell Canyon, it’s scenic reservoir and provides plenty of awe-inspiring views of the Salt Lake Valley.
Directions:Click this Link The canyon is located on the east side of the valley, above Sandy, just off of Wasatch Blvd. The trailhead is located at about 10245 South on Wasatch Blvd. It is clearly signed. The trail runs east up the mountain, initially following a dirt road.
Distance: 4.8 miles
Kanarraville Falls, properly known as Kanarra Creek Trail, is an amazing hike that at times will put you ankle deep in water as you go up a slot canyon before taking in the beauty of the falls. The trail leading up to the slot canyon is lush and green. This hike isn’t as family friendly as many on our list so unless you are planning on getting a nice workout and carrying your kids most of the way, get a babysitter!
You will need to do some planning before going on this hike as they only allow 150 hiker to go per day and you need to purchase a ticket to get one of the slots! Go to the Kanarra Falls website to buy a ticket!
This is a two-for-one hike: waterfalls and hot springs! THere are three scenic waterfalls along the trail and some incredible hot springs. The lower waterfall comes down next to the main hot spring soaking pool. The second waterfall is more popular for taking pictures as it is a multi-tiered waterfall. There is a third waterfall further up the stream for those who are still wanting more after the first two falls.
I will issue a warning about the hot springs. Although it is against the law to soak nude in the pools there are some individuals who still choose to do so. Be warned that it is not uncommon to see a few people soaking in the buff on your way up the trail.
Note: Users have reported that the trail to this waterfall has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park’s website for up to date information.
Drive on highway 6 East from Spanish Fork for about 11 miles to the signed Diamond Fork turnoff. Follow the Diamond Fork road about 10 miles to the signed trailhead.
Calf Creek Falls – Emerald Pools
Location: Zion National Park
Distance: 5.5 miles
Calf Creek Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls in the emerald pools area of Zions National Park. Calf Creek Falls gets its name as it was used as a natural pen for calves back in the 1800’s. There is more than just the waterfall that lures hikers. On the way to the falls you will pass prehistoric rock art, beaver ponds and the trail eventually leads to the unreal emerald pools.
Adams Canyon Waterfall has a steeper trail compared to most on this list but is probably the most popular hiking trail in Layton. The trail leads to a small pond beneath the gorgeous 40-foot waterfall. Be prepared to get a bit wet as you near the waterfall!
The trailhead is located just off of HWY 89 in Layton Utah. From Salt Lake City travel on I-15 North to HWY 89. Travel on HWY 89 north to Layton. Turn right on East 1200 North, then immediately turn right on Eastside Road. Near the end of Eastside Road you will see a dirt parking area.