Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail

MODERATE 405 reviews

Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Boulder, Utah that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
521 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

Calf Creek Falls is one of the most well known and unique features in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The trail follows Calf Creek to the 126' high falls. The hike is 6 miles round trip and takes average hikers 3-4 hours. Elevation change on the trail is minimal, but the trail is sandy and walking can be strenuous, especially in hot weather. In contrast, the falls provide a delightfully cool, shady haven which makes the hike well worth the effort.

1 day ago

Moderate difficulty with a great view to see at the end!

hiking
2 days ago

I didn’t start hiking until 11:00 AM on a day that hit 100 degrees. My saving grace was that I soaked my cotton shirt with water from a sink in the restroom at the beginning and did that twice more along the hike. I did have to pay attention to where the trail went close to the river along the way. There are points of interest that are marked by numbers but the best one was the petroglyphs on the opposite side of the canyon.

Needless to say the hike was definitely worth it when my son and I arrived at the waterfall. We stayed there for 4 hours and built a sand castle. I regretted not bringing my light weight hammock since there is a great spot in the sand and trees next to the pool.

This is one of my favorite spots on this planet to hike to. We stayed at the Falls long enough that we were mostly in shade on the decent (hard to call it a decent since there is so much up and down in the sand). Also, there were trout in the pool at the bottom of the falls. It made me wish I took my fishing gear.

8 days ago

Beautiful! I went in July midday and wasn’t prepared for how hot the sand was and how hot I would be. It’s difficult hiking 5 miles in sand. Thankfully I stuck with it and was able to cool off in the waterfall. So worth it in the end but pretty miserable for the beginning. There was more shade on my hike back. Some people had dogs with them and I just felt so bad for those puppies.

hiking
12 days ago

Just beautiful!

hiking
15 days ago

9/29/18 - This is a fairly popular hike... it was hard to find a place to park at the trailhead. A $5 fee per vehicle is required to be paid. It is a bit more strenuous than the elevation profile might let on. The mostly sandy trail adds significantly to the effort required, especially in the heat of the day. There is also a lot of up and down that wore on me after a while. Quite a few hikers, including my wife and I, treated it more casually than we should have, in terms of water that we packed in. Even for a relatively-cool September day (low 80s), each person needs at least 1.5-2 L of water. That was what we had total, and had to ration it going back... that made the trip less fun overall, and I felt a little unwell when it was all done. Sand accumulation was a big problem for my wife and her running shoes. It wasn’t so much for me, as I had shoes better suited for walking and hiking. We had to stop about every half mile to empty sand out of her shoes.

Warnings aside, the waterfall is definitely worth the trip. Very picturesque. It was taller than I expected it to be, and the pool is clear and COLD (almost painfully so, especially after a hot, sandy hike) at the base of the falls. The pool has a smooth, sandy bottom that is easy to walk in barefoot. The pool itself is surrounded by quite a few trees and tall-ish cliffs, which combined with the cooling effect from the water spray coming from the falls, makes it a welcome respite from the heat of the trail, which is more exposed.

hiking
16 days ago

It was a great hike. It was a little bit long for carrying a baby on my back and my 4 year old got tired pretty quick, but the falls were really spectacular. The water was really cold, as expected, but the kids still had a lot of fun. There are some great views on this hike.

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike. Awesome scenery.

hiking
26 days ago

The falls are definitely worth it but take the time to enjoy the rest of the hike as well. Very large and visual pictographs, exceptional rock formations and clusters of plant life not often seen in the desert. It is a busy trail but late in the day it was very manageable.

hiking
27 days ago

I took this hike in the middle July, which made the arrival to the falls well worth the hike. The trail is mostly sandy and rocky. The sand can get hot towards the middle of the day, but people hike in sandals and chacos nonetheless. Consider getting booties for your dog, and have something to carry their feces in (unfortunate but courteous), a mason jar typically works. There isn’t a substantial amount of elevation change either during the hike. Upon arriving to the falls, it is very much an oasis, with plenty shade from trees. The water is very cold, as it should be. It’s fun swimming as close to the falls as possible too. During the hike back, I encountered some light rain, so be rain ready too. Be sure to check out the upper calf creek trail if you can. As far as traffic goes, be sure to arrive as early as possible if you want to have good parking. During the time I went, the crowd was small enough for everyone to swim and play around. I’d estimate 50 or so other hikers at the falls. The weather at the time was about high 90s during the day, and lower 70s at night. Be sure to take lots of water too.

1 month ago

Awesome hike. Easy trail. Bring at least 2 liters of water and definitely jump in the water. It’s like an ice bath, but you gotta do it lol . I tracked it at a little over 6 miles.

1 month ago

the falls are beautiful. the hike is predominantly in sand which made the experience slow going.

hiking
1 month ago

Exceptional beauty relative to the geology and flora. The falls are gorgeous and offer a great respite on a hot day. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the shade. Another wonderful Utah experience.

1 month ago

Sooo beautiful. Yes quite a few people, but you don’t notice. Worth every step.

1 month ago

Easy, but worth it

1 month ago

This is one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be (I’m an avid hiker). I did this hike in the afternoon in late August and it was fine. There was a decent amount of shade on the way there and on the way back it was mostly shaded. The falls were so beautiful! I’m so happy I did this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Stunning hiking trail, $5 for the day and $15 for overnight camping. If you go early and the sand is wet from a recent dew or rain shower, it makes the hike a tad easier.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views the entire way and access to water virtually whole time courtesy of a stream running alongside the trail. At least 3/4 of the trail is sand so took little longer than usual. Not much tree coverage so expect to be exposed to the elements. But the falls are oh so pretty! Refreshing dip on a hot day.

2 months ago

It was hot going but the water was cold. Was a great hike.

2 months ago

Did this on 25Jul18. (5th time I've done this) Waited out a thunderstorm and the trail had puddles in some spots. A portion of the trail close to the falls was washed out and there are a couple of rocks to hop on in the river, to get across. Also falls were fuller than I've ever seen them. Roaring, really. Amazing as always hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is relatively easy with very little elevation gain, but be prepared for sandy trails. Can be very hot and sunny at midday. Falls are gorgeous and a great place for a wade to cool down!

Awesome well worth it

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked July 9th. Yep, the sand was a butt-kicker, and the 102F heat didn't help matters with very little shade on the trail. That said, highly recommended trail. It turned out to be 6 miles round trip. Payoff at the end is so worth it. Plenty of space at the falls to lay on a towel. The pool at the falls started to shade around 1pm, and by 2:30 was fully shaded.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved this hike. It feels long when it's got in the summer, there's not a lot of shade. The places we found shade were really humid. This was a pretty easy hike. There is hiking through some sand and up rocks, but it wasn't bad. Definitely bring yourself a lot of water if you are planning on going in the summer, without cloud cover. If you bring kids, there are frequent access spots to the creek so they can cool off. There are fun places for them to explore and climb around on.
At marker 8, there are pictographs- when you see the bench.
So worth it once you finally get to the end of the trail- the waterfall is beautiful, water is cold. Kids can play/slide on the rocks to the right. The water is deep enough to swim in closer to the falls. Feels long, but it's definitely worth it!

3 months ago

Go in the late afternoon to walk in the shade, and enjoy the colors. We went after 6pm. Amazing!!! We went the weekend after 4th of July and the temp was nice. Still hot, but the shade was great! BRING CASH!!!! $5 PARKING FEE IN CASH! Honor system.

walking
3 months ago

NO SHADE. While only 6 miles and 500ft of gain, it makes you work for every inch. Sandy paths and jagged rocks.

But totally worth it. Take a lunch. Sit by the falls. The pond is deep enough I couldn’t stand up and I’m nearly 6fy.

hiking
3 months ago

Started at 9 am it took us 3 hours rt. Sandy trail which made the hike a little harder. Well worth the prize at the end of. the trail. What an amazing waterfall.

hiking
3 months ago

All I can say is amazing!!

hiking
3 months ago

I first hiked here in college with a group of friends about 12 years ago in 100+ degree weather. The falls were even more beautiful this week than I remembered them. The trail was harder than I remembered it. The sand makes it tough to walk and even a 85 degree day is still tough to hike in here. Stop often, bring as much water as you can carry, bring food, a towel to wet in the steam along the way to keep cool, and enjoy the hike. Check out the petroglyphs at marker 8.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike is well worth going to the falls. Started later in the early evening around 5:30pm ended around 8:20pm, the trail was 80% shade, which caused us to chase the light. The sand is tough, just allow time to go slow and steady. We saw a snake and wild turkey. My daughter (17) and myself (late 30s) did fine, but we had over 16L of water and almost finished it all. Please bring more than you think you need of water.

3 months ago

Absolutely stunning trail! It was about 3 miles up/down. The sand made it a little more difficult. There were definitely spots where the sun was beaming and there were some folks that took just one bottle of water, NOT RECOMMENDED!! I went with 2 friends and there were some spots were we had to take some breaks. The waterfalls at the end is breathtaking, as the temperature went down a nice 10-15 degrees and felt amazing. Not a lot of bugs due to the heat, which was nice. There were some areas were you hear animals moving in the brush, but they were just little lizards scurrying around.

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