Utah’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Upper Kanarra Fallss cascade
 over rock ledge
Upper Kanarra Falls

Did you know that Utah has more than 100 waterfalls? It may not be the first thing you think of in a place world-renowned for its rock formation-filled national parks, but there are myriads of great cascade-filled hikes just waiting for you to chase those falls. So scroll down to read about more than 16 of the best waterfall hikes in Utah. You don’t want to miss a single one.

What to wear on a Waterfall hike

Lower Calf Creek Falls

I just love the feeling of the cooling mist on my face after hiking to a waterfall. Still, while you may be warm or even hot while on your hike, the area around a waterfall may be significantly cooler because of the water and Utah’s low humidity. It’s a good idea to bring layers such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt or a waterproof jacket when hiking to Utah’s waterfalls.

No one likes to get a blister out on the trail, so waterproof hiking shoes can make or break your experience. If you are hiking trails like Kanarra Falls, when walking through is unavoidable, a good neoprene hiking sock with either a sandal in warmer weather or shoes in cooler weather will keep your feet from getting too cold. As always, when out on the trail, you always want to pack your ten essentials.

Kanarra Falls

The Best Waterfall Hikes in Utah

Now on to the good stuff! Please remember as you are exploring the outdoors to Leave No Trace so these places can remain pristine and enjoyable for you and everyone. Not familiar with the seven principles of Leave No Trace, you can learn more about Leave No Trace here.

Bell Canyon Lower Falls

Craggy cliffs glow during golden hour above Lower Bell Canyon Falls.

This trail has more than just the falls: a beautiful tree-lined reservoir comes into view after less than a mile of hiking with valley views. After you pass the reservoir and go through a meadow, you cross the creek and enter the pine-filled craggy granite canyon. The final quarter-mile climbs steeply before you are rewarded with a cool respite under the falls opposite another beautiful view of the Oqquirh Mountains and the Salt Lake Valley.

Trailhead: Granite Trailhead

Distance: 5.1 miles roundtrip with 1,492 ft. elevation gain

Other Trail Information: Bathrooms at the trailhead. No dogs because of the watershed.

Best Seasons: Year-round, but spring has the largest flows.

Donut Falls

Donut Falls

This is arguably one of the most popular trails in the area for a good reason. This family-friendly gem pays off with a scenic river and beautiful cascades after a relatively easy hike. Caution and experience are advised if you choose to navigate up the slippery rocks to enter and view the falls coming through the “donut hole” hole in the small cave-like dome.

Trailhead: Mill D North off Hwy 190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip with 498 ft. elevation gain

Other Trail Information: Bathrooms at the trailhead. Dogs are not permitted.

Upper Farmington Canyon Falls

Upper Farmington Canyon Falls in Spring.

Hiking Upper Farmington Canyon is a whole adventure! It is also locally known as the Car Graveyard hike because of the 6+ car wrecks that can be found hidden in the trees along the trail. They toppled from the road high above. Some of the wrecks are probably from the early 1900s. Also on this trail is a small cave and two creek crossings with smaller cascades! Make sure you follow the social paths after the creek crossing so you don’t miss any wrecks. All that in the 1 1/2 miles before you even reach the falls! You’ll hear the falls near the trail’s end before you see them. Going to the base of the falls requires negotiating a steep hillside with the aid of a rope. Proceed at your own risk.

Trailhead: First hairpin turn on Farmington Canyon Road

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip (winter distance) with 948 ft. elevation gain

Other Trail Information: No bathrooms. Dogs Permitted

Best Season: Year-round. Add 2 miles in winter because the gate is closed.

Lisa Falls

These unique falls cascade part way and then take a sharp turn on the Cliff.

Lisa falls is accessible to just about anyone. At a mere .3 miles for the road, you can bring a picnic and make an afternoon out of it. What makes these falls so fascinating is the sharp turn the water takes part way down and then how the water divides and cascades down the rock. One side of the fall gushes, while the other side just slides down the rock. It’s just mesmerizing to watch.

Trailhead: Opposite the Little Cottonwood Creek Trailhead up between mileposts 6 and 7 in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Park on the left side of the road.

Distance: .3 miles round trip with 121 ft elevation gain

Other Trail Information: No swimming or wading or dogs (watershed). No bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Best viewed in spring while runoff is flowing but open until Mid November. Never hike this in winter because of avalanche danger.

Gloria Falls

The many tiers of Gloria Falls really gush in spring.

Gloria Falls is a family-friendly hike also located in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Another local favorite, you won’t have the trail to yourself, but it’s a favorite for a good reason, and you don’t want to miss it. You’ll first descend a short walk down to the river and cross a bridge over the roaring Little Cottonwood Creek. Then you’ll climb for about a mile, where you’ll see signs right before the trail appears to dead end at the creek. Just past the sign for White Pine Lake, you’ll see a sign for Red Pine Lake. Follow that trail over the bridge and immediately take a left following the social trail to the falls.

Trailhead: Park in the White Pine Trailhead 5.3 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon

Distance: 2.8 miles round trip with 584 ft. elevation gain

Other Trail Information: No swimming or wading or dogs (watershed). Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Spring through Fall. The Falls become buried by snow in the winter.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

Would you take a dip in the swimming hole below Lower Calf Creek Falls?

Many consider Lower Calf Creek Falls the Jewel of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. To reach this swimming hole oasis under the 126 ft falls, you hike 3 miles (one way) following the creek under the towering sandstone walls. There are interpretive signs along the route drawing your attention to the area’s flora, fauna, and history. Keep an eye out for the Pictographs! You know you’re getting close when the trail begins to surround you with greenery. The trail is sandy much of the way, so don’t forget to bring your swimsuit. You’ll want to enjoy a cool dip after this warm hike.

Trailhead: Park in the lot near the Calf Creek Campground off UT-12, 11 miles south of Boulder and 15 miles east of Escalante ($5 fee). Go early. The lot fills up quickly.

Distance: 6.7 miles with 866 ft elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: Dogs on leash permitted. Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Year-round. But it can be cold in winter.

Upper Calf Creek Falls

The green oasis at Upper Calf Creek Falls.

If solitude is more your jam and you’re an experienced hiker, you might prefer Upper Calf Creek Falls. Although the hike is shorter, the trail descends quickly down for a mile before reaching the falls. Follow the cairns. After enjoying the 86 ft tall falls (watch out for poison ivy), ascend the side trail up to the smaller cascade and deeper pools above the main falls.

Trailhead: Head north from pull off the side road on your left just after milepost 81. Follow the road to the parking area.

Distance: 2.1 miles with 695 ft elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: Dogs on leash permitted.

Best Season: Year-round. But it can be cold and icy in winter.

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls in Winter.

This trail is accessible to most because of the distance. This hidden grotto really is a treat, so don’t miss it.

Trailhead: Mill B (right by the Lake Blanche Trailhead)

Distance: .3 miles roundtrip with 49 ft elevation gain (I highly recommend continuing another mile to the overlook of Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Salt Lake Valley below.)

Other Trail Information: Bathrooms at Lake Blanche Trailhead nearby. No Dogs.

Best Seasons: Year-round.

Adam’s Canyon Waterfall

Enjoying the cooling mist of Adam’s Canyon Falls.

Located in Kaysville, just off Highway 89, you start this hike in full sun before you enter the canyon and follow the stream all the way to the falls. Despite climbing steeply at times, this trail is a local favorite. If you prefer solitude on the trail, make sure to hike this one early. These 40-foot falls are reliably beautiful year-round. If you want to know more about hiking this one in the winter, check out my post about the 8 Best Frozen Waterfalls in Northern Utah post. This is a great one for those who like to hike with their dogs.

Trailhead: Adams Canyon Trailhead (Looks like a big park and ride lot)

Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip with 1,358 ft. elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: No bathrooms at the trailhead. Dogs permitted.

Best Seasons: Year-round.

Little Deer Creek Falls

Climbing up the side of Little Deer Creek Falls.

Located adjacent to Cataract Gorge, Little Deer Creek Falls stands over 100 feet tall! The Cataract Gorge is full of swimming holes (bring your swimsuit) that make for a perfect summer retreat in the high Uintas mountains. This really is one of the most beautiful places in the Uintas. While not unknown, it is much quieter than many other places off Highway 150. If you have high clearance 4×4, you can drive right up to this area. Otherwise, it requires a 7-mile roundtrip hike adjacent to the Jeep road. It is well worth the effort for this gorgeous spot. Bonus: If you love camping, there are many great dispersed camping spots in this area. To access the falls, take FR 137 and then FR 027 until you arrive. You can’t miss it.

Trailhead: Park at the Junction of FR137 and FR 027 (there are pullouts)

Distance: 7.5 miles RT with 1,200 ft elevation gain (you climb up on the way out)

Other Trail Information: $6 or free with your America the Beautiful parks pass. Dogs Permitted. There are no Bathrooms at the trailhead but some at the turn-off to FR137.

Best Season: Starting July through September. Before that, the water is too high, and it’s dangerous.

Archangel Falls

Archangel Falls

The cascading crimson steps of North Creek are located below the legendary Subway in Zion National Park. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones if you’re able to secure a permit to hike this gorgeous canyon under the 500-foot tall walls. Read more about the Subway Hike here.

Trailhead: You’ll obtain directions to the trailhead from the permit office.

Distance: 9.1 miles with 1,305 ft. elevation gain for the entire Subway trail. This is a Hard hike.

Other Trail Information: $5 per person permit fee. No dogs. Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Spring and Fall. You will get wet, so plan accordingly for the conditions.

Heugh’s Canyon Falls

Heugh’s Canyon Waterfall sits in a Grotto hidden from the main trail.

If you live in the Salt Lake City area, this makes an excellent after-work hike. At only 3 miles, you’ll still find this trail to be a fun adventure as you hike through trees (wildflowers in the spring!), over a few bridges, and then scramble across a boulder field to reach the falls.

Trailhead: Park just off Wasatch Boulevard at the signed parking (you’ll need to walk through the neighborhood for a short bit to access the actual trailhead.)

Distance: 3.1 miles RT with 1,236 ft elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: Dogs Permitted. No Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Year-round. Spring is best for wildflowers and big flows. Bring spikes in winter.

Moss Ledge Waterfall

The upper two tiers of Moss Ledge Falls.

More of a scramble than a hike, you’ll be negotiating around loose rocks and boulders for much of the “trail.” Despite the short distance from the road, these falls have three separate tiers and feel very remote. You are more likely to find solitude on this hike compared to others in the canyon.

Trailhead: Pullout by mile marker 7 in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Distance: .8 miles RT with 559 ft elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: Dogs Permitted. No Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Summer and Fall. Do not hike in winter because of avalanche danger or in spring because high water flows make the trail dangerous.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls in late summer.

The trail to Horsetail Falls is consistently steep but manageable the whole way. You’ll have a few stream crossings along with forest, mountain, and valley views. Just like the falls in upper Farmington Canyon, you’ll have a rope to finish the final descent on the trails to the falls, but this one is a lot less sketchy, in my opinion.

Trailhead: Dry Canyon Trailhead in Alpine, Utah

Distance: 4.4 miles RT with 1,695 ft elevation gain.

Other Trail Information: Dogs Permitted. No Bathrooms at the trailhead.

Best Season: Year-round. Best Flows in Spring.

Battle Creek Falls

Lacy Battle Creek Falls

This moderate but short trail is popular with both families. You’ll know you’re almost there after the wide path crosses the footbridge. After you enjoy the falls from the base, make sure you take the trail to the top of the falls for the incredible view of the valley and Utah lake below.

Trailhead: Dead End of Battle Creek Drive in Alpine, Utah.

Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip with 606 ft. gain (for both top and bottom of falls)

Other Trail Information: Bathrooms are available in the nearby park; dogs are permitted.

Best Season: Year-round. Early spring is best for wildflowers and big flows. Bring spikes in winter.

Hiker near the base of the upper tier of Stewart Falls.

Another crowd-pleaser of a hike, this trail rolls through aspen groves and pines with views of majestic Mount Timpanogos and the Sundance Ski Resort before you round the bend to view the 200-foot, two-tiered cascade. After you enjoy the overlook, proceed down the switchbacks for an up-close view of these spectacular falls.

Trailhead: Aspen Grove Trailhead or Ride the lift at Sundance Ski resort and take their trail.

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip with 930 ft. elevation gain

Other Trail Information: $6 forest service fee (or free with your national parks pass),

Bathrooms at the trailhead. Dogs permitted.

Which hike is your favorite? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Looking for more hike ideas in Northern Utah? Check out Day Hikes in the Uintas Mountains