Stewart Falls, Utah

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The lower drop of Stewart Falls in May 2013

When I visited Utah in May 2013, I was initially under the impression (I believe) that you couldn’t visit the falls since it was near the Sundance Resort. But after a bit more research, I found that there were definitely ways that you could visit Stewart Falls. Along the way, I stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, which is one of the taller waterfalls you’ll find in Utah.

The Stewart Falls Trail starts at the Aspen Grove Parking area/trail head. There are a number of trails that start here, and there may be a fee to park here (though I don’t remember that very clearly). The Stewart Falls Trail is about 1.7 miles one-way from the parking area to the falls, and along the way, there is really beautiful scenery! In early May, it wasn’t particularly hot (most of the time), and there was even some flurries up at higher elevations. I don’t remember the trail being particularly difficult, mostly moderate because of the distance hiked.

Once you reach the Stewart Falls, you’ll be able to photograph the lower plunge easily, but there is another drop above that is difficult to photograph simultaneously. So the falls are actually about 200′ tall, but it won’t appear that way in most photographs. It’s still definitely a scenic waterfall!

Directions:

  1. The Aspen Grove parking area is off of UT-92, and you can arrive at it from two different directions. I started near Provo/Orem and headed east on US-189. This was because I knew I would pass Bridal Veil Falls on my way there (or back).
  2. If you’re on US-189 headed east, you’d turn left on UT-92 and head north toward Sundance.
  3. Past Sundance is the Alpine Grove Trail Head and parking area. Park here, and then follow the Stewart Falls Trail.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: 200′
Length of Hike: 3.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Stewart Falls?

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Tropic Ditch Falls, Utah

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Tropic Ditch Falls in May 2015

Tropic Ditch Falls is a fascinating waterfall. It is not a natural waterfall, at least not in the sense that it wasn’t flowing 100+ years ago. From the National Park Service website: “Mormon farmers diverted water from the East Fork of the Sevier River near Tropic Reservoir to irrigate fields around Tropic City.” (More info here.) In the process, the diversion led to water flowing through uneven terrain, and a waterfall was inadvertently created.

If this is a man-made waterfall, why should you go and visit? Because it’s got some of the most stunningly beautiful colors in the rocks around the waterfall that I have ever seen. (Red Dirt Falls on the island of Kauai is another.) It’s in Bryce Canyon National Park, which is an amazing place to visit. While this is not in the main park thoroughfare, it’s still relatively easy to get to. The hike is short but full of color. I figured even if I didn’t see a waterfall, the views were still worth it. And then when I saw the falls, it just confirmed that.

Directions:

  1. To get to the main thoroughfare of Bryce Canyon National Park, at the junction of UT-12 and UT-63, you would head south on UT-63. Instead of that, head east (southeast) on UT-12 toward Tropic.
  2. Drive about 3.5 miles on UT-12 to the Mossy Cave Trailhead. If headed southeast, it will be on your right. If I remember correctly, there was more than enough parking there.
  3. Follow the trail. I think there were signs to the waterfall, though I could be wrong. It’s pretty easy, though, just follow the water. I believe I turned right at one point. All in all, it’s about 0.4 miles one-way.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Tropic Ditch Falls?

Mill Creek Falls, Utah

I decided to visit Moab, Utah to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. In the process, I looked to see if there were any waterfalls in the vicinity. It just happens there’s a waterfall right outside of Moab on Mill Creek. I wasn’t feeling particularly great earlier in the day today (the elevation wreaks havoc on my sinuses), but I felt better later in the evening, and set off to find Mill Creek Falls.

The drive to the trail head is pretty easy, and the hike to the falls isn’t wildly complicated either. You will have to cross Mill Creek three or four times to get to the falls. I’m someone who doesn’t like to get particularly wet, but the water was warm and very clean. I had no problem wading through the creek. (The first time you’ll likely enter the water may not be necessary, but it’s easier than trying to stay on the slippery rocks above.) And while you have to cross the creek a few times, you’re rewarded with very little elevation gain, if any.

Once you get to the falls, you’re rewarded with the 10-15′ Mill Creek Falls. There might be another waterfall up above, but I didn’t have the boundless energy to explore even further. I was content with finding a beautiful little waterfall without much effort.

Directions:

  1. As you’re driving along Main Street (US-191) in Moab, you can turn on many of the streets running perpendicular to arrive at the falls. Heading south on US-191, I turned left onto E 100 S.
  2. I drove along E 100 S until it ended, and then turned right onto N 400 E (also Fourth E St).
  3. I then drove until I got to E Mill Creek Drive, and turned left. (You do have to end up on this road.)
  4. Drive along E Mill Creek Drive. There will be a point where you have to turn right to continue on E Mill Creek Drive. (Otherwise, if you continue straight, you will be on Sand Flats Road.)
  5. After driving on E Mill Creek Drive for a short ways, turn left on Powerhouse Lane. Continue on Powerhouse Lane until you reach the parking area for the trail head.
  6. Follow the trail to the falls. It’s pretty hard to get lost.

*From what I’ve read, this waterfall used to be unknown to most tourists…now it’s rather busy. Make sure you respect the land and clean up anything you take in. It’s free to visit right now…let’s ensure it stays that way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate, there’s one spot that’s difficult, I found it easier to wade in the stream)
Height: 10-15′
Length of Hike: 2 miles round-trip

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Mill Creek Falls in June 2017

Where in the World is Mill Creek Falls?

Upper Emerald Pool Falls, Utah

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Upper Emerald Pool Falls in May 2015

A bit over two years ago, I had the chance to visit Zion National Park, and it’s an amazingly beautiful national park. I’d highly recommend a visit. There are a number of waterfalls in the park, though none of them are particularly voluminous.

The Emerald Pools are more likely visited for the pools below the falls, but I was more interested in the falls themselves. The first waterfall you’ll come across is Lower Emerald Pool Falls. This one had some water flowing, and it had rained early in the day, so it was probably a good time to visit. The hike to the lower pools is about 0.6 miles one-way, and is fairly easy.

The hike to the upper falls is about 1.5 miles one-way, and is a bit steeper. I didn’t find it to be terribly difficult, but I would suggest bringing some water and food along so that you’re not worn out hiking there and back. As you can see from the picture, there wasn’t a significant amount of water flowing over the falls. It is a tall waterfall, though. I did find the colors of the rock around the falls to be really stunning. You can see a lot of minerals leaching out of the rock, which causes some of the black coloring.

Directions:

  1. This is a unique one, as you really don’t have to do much except arrive in the city of Springdale, unless you are really determined to drive into the park. Springdale is the city directly outside of Zion National Park, and there is shuttle service to the park. (I didn’t realize how CLOSE Springdale is…somebody suggested I stay there, and I thought I was going to be far away. I was very wrong. You can see many features of the park from the city.)
  2. The Springdale shuttle system will take you to the pedestrian entrance to the park (from March to October). From there, you pay the entrance fee to enter the park. It’s $12 per person or $25 per vehicle. Pay the vehicle price if you plan on driving through the park, as I did when I wanted to head to Bryce Canyon NP.)
  3. Hop on the Zion shuttles (which are on the opposite side of the visitor’s center from the Springdale shuttle).  I honestly enjoyed not having to drive the narrow roads!
  4. Hop off at the stop for Zion Lodge. The automated announcements on the bus will make it very clear this is where to exit for the Emerald Pools.
  5. Follow the signs toward the trail head, which is across the road from the lodge. From there, it’s a relatively simple hike to the Lower Emerald Pool Falls. It’s a more moderate hike to the upper falls.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: ~100′
Distance of Hike: 1.5 miles one-way

Where in the World is Upper Emerald Pool Falls?

Bridal Veil Falls, Utah

Bridal Veil Falls in early May 2013

I was looking at some of my previous posts about waterfalls near Salt Lake City, and realized that Bridal Veil Falls seems to be one of the more unique waterfalls in the region, beside the fact that it’s one of the tallest. Most of the other waterfalls I visited in the region required uphill hikes.

Bridal Veil Falls, on the other hand, is one of the few roadside waterfalls near Salt Lake City. Coupled with the fact that it’s 607′ tall, it’s one of the busiest waterfalls you could visit in the area. And yet I’m not sure it was my favorite. I found it to be a beautiful waterfall, and yet it’s not as intimate as some of the other waterfalls in the region. If I remember a correctly, there were ways to get closer to the falls, though I decided against that. (It may not even be allowed…I can’t remember.) There is a paved trail to the base of the falls with some fish in the pond there.

Directions:

  1. The falls is found directly off of US-189. The easiest way to get to US-189 is to probably take exit 272 on I-15.
  2. After exiting, head east on UT-52.  Drive until UT-52 merges with US-189.
  3. Head north along US-189 until you get to the exit for Bridal Veil Falls. It’s only accessible heading north. There is no exit heading south, so you will have to find another exit and loop around.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.1 mile round trip to base of falls (paved)
Height: 607′

Where in the World is Bridal Veil Falls?

Weeping Rock Falls, Utah

Weeping Rock Falls in May 2015Evee

With Weeping Rock Falls, there could be a discussion about whether to include this as a waterfall, but I’ve decided it’s more waterfall than some other waterfalls I’ve seen. The Weeping Rock is this landmark in Zion National Park that must have water emerging from it year-round, causing it to seem like it weeps. It’s an interesting stop along the shuttle path.

The falls aren’t particularly tall or wide or voluminous. There is enough water, though, that you can hear a stream below. It also leads to some beautifully lush green plants growing on the rock wall, adding even more color to the landscape. Now, if Weeping Rock Falls were all by its lonesome self, I wouldn’t even remotely stop to visit. But because it is a very easy stop along the scenic road, and because you can also get some spectacular view of the canyon from here, I would definitely recommend stopping, even if the falls themselves don’t seem wildly exciting.

Directions:

  1. This is a unique one, as you really don’t have to do much except arrive in the city of Springdale, unless you are really determined to drive into the park. Springdale is the city directly outside of Zion National Park, and there is shuttle service to the park. (I didn’t realize how close Springdale is…somebody suggested I stay there, and I thought I was going to be far away. I was very wrong. You can see many features of the park from the city.)
  2. The Springdale shuttle system will take you to the pedestrian entrance to the park (from March to October). From there, you pay the entrance fee to enter the park. It’s $12 per person or $25 per vehicle. Pay the vehicle price if you plan on driving through the park, as I did when I wanted to head to Bryce Canyon NP.)
  3. Hop on the Zion shuttles (which are on the opposite side of the visitor’s center from the Springdale shuttle).  I honestly enjoyed not having to drive the narrow roads!
  4. Hop off at the stop for the Weeping Rock. If you are headed further into the park, you want to stay on the east side of the road.
  5. There is a set of trails that start from that stop.  Shortly after starting, you will want to take the left fork that leads to the Weeping Rock.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.2 miles one-way
Height: 20′

Where in the World is Weeping Rock Falls?

Lower Emerald Pool Falls, Utah

One of the Lower Emerald Pool Falls in May 2015

Southern Utah can be dry, but it also has waterfalls. If you visit Zion National Park, you’ll find a number of waterfalls. Many of them are ephemeral and will only be visible after intense rains, but there are a few that will last for a longer period of time.

The trail that leads to the Emerald Pools hits two (or three?) different waterfalls. The first waterfall, the Lower Falls, is one waterfall, and yet two. The stream (or possibly two separate streams?) splits in two directions, and so there are two separate falls about 100′ apart from each other.

While it had rained the day before I arrived at Zion and was still very cloudy in the park on my first day there, the two portions weren’t flowing intensely. You can still see the falls in the pictures, but I have seen other photos with much more water. After a number of days without any rain, you will likely see everything reduced to a trickle.

The trail to the Lower Falls is relatively straight-forward. If you decide to visit the Upper Pool/Falls, it is a steeper hike, but I didn’t find it to be particularly difficult. Still, it’s better to be prepared with water and food before setting out and finding out that you’re really thirsty and hungry as you approach the Upper Falls!

Directions:

  1. This is a unique one, as you really don’t have to do much except arrive in the city of Springdale, unless you are really determined to drive into the park. Springdale is the city directly outside of Zion National Park, and there is shuttle service to the park. (I didn’t realize how CLOSE Springdale is…somebody suggested I stay there, and I thought I was going to be far away. I was very wrong. You can see many features of the park from the city.)
  2. The Springdale shuttle system will take you to the pedestrian entrance to the park (from March to October). From there, you pay the entrance fee to enter the park. It’s $12 per person or $25 per vehicle. Pay the vehicle price if you plan on driving through the park, as I did when I wanted to head to Bryce Canyon NP.)
  3. Hop on the Zion shuttles (which are on the opposite side of the visitor’s center from the Springdale shuttle).  I honestly enjoyed not having to drive the narrow roads!
  4. Hop off at the stop for Zion Lodge. The automated announcements on the bus will make it very clear this is where to exit for the Emerald Pools.
  5. Follow the signs toward the trail head, which is across the road from the lodge. From there, it’s a relatively simple hike to the Lower Emerald Pool Falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate, they are handicap accessible, though you will need some muscle if you’re going to take a wheelchair)
Height: 100′
Distance of Hike: 0.6 miles one-way

The other Lower Emerald Pool Falls (to the left of the first falls)

Where in the World is Lower Emerald Pool Falls?