Lower Calf Creek Falls
Few places on this planet can compare to the pristine beauty that defines Lower Calf Creek Falls. When you picture a desert oasis, this is the place that springs to mind. It is a majestic waterfall that will steal your breath away.
Clear water plunges approximately 126 feet from sandstone cliffs into a deep pool below. The pool nestled at the base of the falls becomes a perfect swimming hole for a hot summer day. Algae growing on sandstone cliffs, underneath the spray of the falls, add brilliant splashes of color to the entire cove.
Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the vicinity of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. It gained its name back in the late 1800s when Mormon pioneers used the area as a natural pen for calves they raised on the land.
Reaching Lower Calf Creek Falls is not complicated. The trail into the falls is approximately three miles long and it takes about 1 ½ hours of hiking one way to reach the falls. You can access the trailhead from the Calf Creek campground.
Hiking is moderately difficult. It is a mostly flat trail that follows along Calf Creek. There are a few sections of deep sand which will slow your pace as you journey to the falls.
If you grab a free trail guide at the trailhead register, you can seek out several fascinating sights as you traverse the trail leading to the lower falls. You can see a pair of granaries constructed ages ago. Another highlight is a charming panel of pictographs scrawled on the canyon walls by Fremont Indians more than 900 years ago. The entire creek is surrounded by lush foliage that stands in stark contrast to the desert landscape and it isn't unusual to spot a beaver pond or two along the way while following the creek.
Early morning is the best time to start out on this hike. This will help you avoid the bulk of the desert heat as you trek back and forth from Lower Calf Creek Falls. It is also the best time to get a picture of the waterfalls as rays of sunlight reflect off the water in spectacular fashion right after sunrise. No matter what time you choose to head out, bring along enough drinking water to last for a day. It gets hot quickly in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area, so dehydration and heat stroke are real dangers for hikers.
You will want to bring along a swimsuit to enjoy the fresh and cool water. Wear plenty of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun. Bring along healthy snacks like dried fruit or nuts to refuel your body and pack a first aid kit in case of emergencies. Keep a camera on hand as well to capture a scene worthy of a postcard.
Hikers are charged a day use fee of $5 per vehicle. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
Driving Directions:From Boulder, Utah travel southwest on Highway 12 to the sign leading to the Calf Creek Recreation Area. If you’re traveling from Escalante, Utah travel Northeast on highway 12 to the signage leading to the trailhead and Calf Creek Campground. Travel time is approx 11 to 14 miles from either city.
- Kanab BLM Field Office
- Phone: 435-644-1200/1201
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