Upper Bells Canyon Trail

HARD 119 reviews
#8 of 25 trails in

Upper Bells Canyon Trail is a 8.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sandy, Utah that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

8.9 miles
4,199 feet
Out & Back





nature trips



bird watching






wild flowers



no dogs

Once past the second falls, the trail follows a series of carins set by the Wasatch Mountain Club in conjunction with the Forest Service. This mapped route is a close estimate of that route. It is not recommended for novice hikers. At the Upper Reservoir one can continue to other high points in the Wasatch back country that will require mountaineering and or good navigation skills.

2 months ago

Did this on 1/11, the path to lower falls is packed and wide, a little icy at parts - microspikes were ideal, but not necessary for this section. Heading uphill after lower falls the path is much less used - snowshoes were pretty necessary, otherwise you'd be sinking 8-12" with each step. I couldn't get much past upper falls without sinking a lot, even with snowshoes, that section is clearly not travelled much in the winter.

5 months ago

really hard, not like a stair master, much higher steps and increasing elevation. met several people from sea level states, requires lots of breaks to 'catch your breath.'

6 months ago

so this Trail is definitely rated difficult I hike quite a bit 3 or 4 days a week and for some reason this Trail just kicked my butt I think part of that is that it's very boldery all the way up through the second upper waterfall and the amount of climbing up and over rocks and boulders that's involved it's like doing a stair climber for 3 miles. I underestimated the amount of energy and pace that takes. I was about 1-1.5 miles an hour. to be fair I didn't make it all the way to the reservoir but now knowing what to expect I'm going to give this one another try. def make sure to have enough water least 4lit and snacks..

6 months ago

Did this hike to day and it is for sure one of my all time favorites I will be going up this trail again for sure. Have plenty of water with you.

7 months ago

Loved this hike! The views are amazing and you get rewarded with a reservoir. We recorded 15 miles in and out. Bring extra water. Maybe there are different trails? Regardless - it’s awesome!!

7 months ago

This hike is one of my favorites I’ve ever done. Today was my second time to the upper reservoir, and I’ve decided it’s what I hope heaven looks like someday.

Today our GPS said we did just shy of 10.0 miles to the upper reservoir and back. The elevation climb is 4000 feet. Basically this trail is straight up and straight down. It’s not for the faint of heart.

My friend and I are experienced hikers and it took us about 3 hours to get to the upper reservoir. We did stop at the lower falls for about 20 min on our way up. Overall we finished our hike in 6:00 hours spending 40 minutes eating at the upper reservoir.

7 months ago

Okay, new favorite hike. Except my friend and I were grossly underprepared for how much water we needed. We hadn’t really researched this hike before hand and thought it was much shorter than it was. However, going the extra mile(s) (LITERALLY) made all the difference. It was so worth it even though I can’t move today. Perfect Mt. Timp. training(which is what we’re doing). There are parts where you have to practically boulder. So be prepared for your arms to get a work out as well, especially if you’re shorter like me. Bring LOTS of water. We spent the entire day, from 6:30am-8:30pm hiking and exploring the trails off it and the waterfalls., making our hike at least 9.5 miles long. We were taking lots of breaks for fuel and hydration. If you go when it’s super hot like we did, make sure you dip your hat in the water anytime the river meets the trail. For me, this is the hardest hike, or even any kind of physical activity, I have ever done. To be able to accomplish it made me feel really great about myself because I actually had it in me to do something this hard. Every step of the way is worth it, bringing all new kinds of beauty.

8 months ago

What a beautiful beastly hike. Definately rated hard, moreso an "extreme" hike. Took us 3 1/2 hours moving constantly to get to the top. Our fitness trackers from the parking lot (overflow) to the upper reservoir said about 6 miles (one way) and about 450 floors. The trail narrows after the lower falls and definitely criss crosses. All trails go UP to the same place! When you reach the large granite rock "garden" or slide/field, stay to your left. It's a little less than a mile from the top. The mosquitoes were pretty heavy. Bring Deet! Bring plenty of water (we sure enjoyed a bottle of Gatorade too).

Take your time coming down. Hard on your knees and ankles.

We didn't see any snakes.

Much cooler at the reservoir (almost 20 degrees cooler than the valley).

Happy Hiking!

8 months ago

This is one of my favorite trails but there's a rock field in the middle that can be really confusing (I've done this trail twice and I got equally confused both times!). Just keep your alltrails map handy to reassure yourself that you're headed in the right direction, and you'll quickly find yourself back on the dirt trail. It's worth it.

9 months ago

great hike!

10 months ago

I loved the hike and the views were worth it!!! I’d definitely go again!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The track was pretty well cut all the way to the waterfall this morning despite the recent storms. The snowshoes were definitely helpful but you could pull it off with spikes if you're just going to the falls. The waterfall was completely covered in snow and not the giant icicle I thought it would be. Still amazingly beautiful. Soaked it all in with a little breakfast at the top of the falls.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

this was an amazing ass buster trail.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

One of the hardest hikes in the slc area in my opinion. Steep and rocky. Tough on the knees, feet, and ankles, for me anyway. But, so beautiful! The views of slc are great. Upper falls aren’t as spectacular as lower falls, but still worth the challenge.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The description in this app is a little misleading on the 6.2 miles out and back. That mileage is to the upper falls and not the upper lake. As one of the other reviews said it is a good 9 1/2 to 10 miles out and back to the upper lake and it is a real scramble on some sections of the trail. I'd definitely do the upper falls again, not sure I'd do the upper lake again.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Challenging, but worth the stretch to the upper waterfall!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

hard hiking Love it! the view is beautiful

Friday, July 14, 2017

This hike is fantastic. Many people are turned away from Bells Canyon because the lower reservoir is extremely crowded, but once you hike above the lower falls, you probably wont encounter another soul. Study your maps carefully, because it is easy to miss the upper reservoir. We ended up hiking around it on accident, and could only see it from a distance. There are beautiful places to camp all around.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Challenging but beautiful. The lake is a nice reward for the first climb.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

hiked up to the upper falls yesterday. Still a lot of water coming down from the mountain over both falls. Not too many people beyond the first falls cutoff. There is a nice water flow over slick rock just beyond the upper falls on the trail. Pictures uploaded.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I've done it several times, love it, tree cover makes the hike

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Amazing hike that takes you up into some splendid high mountain terrain. Once I got to the rock hopping part I lost the cairns but found it doesn't really matter. The lovely Lone Peak granite is of such great quality and very amenable to alternate routes and exploration. Several times I thought I was about to be cliffed out, only to look over the edge and see convenient, easily climbed ledges.

From the trailhead to the upper reservoir and back I logged 10.1 miles, 4660 ft elevation gain.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Great waster fall to finish and steep push at the end

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Made it to just past the Upper Fall. It was an absolutely beautiful hike. There is still a fair amount of snow and spikes are helpful.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Definitely still a lot of snow above the first waterfall. But below that first one it is all gone and the trail is finally starting to dry out.

Monday, April 17, 2017

hiked to the 2nd (Upper) waterfall today. No snow until you passed the first falls. Finally found the 2nd falls since the trails leading to it were snow covered. Not an easy hike to the 2nd falls since some scrambling was needed. However, it was definitely worth it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Loved it

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fun to see the frozen falls. Hiked to the bottom

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

If hiking in the winter I recommend yaktrax if you want to make it to the falls
last summer :
Bell Canyon Trail has been my go to trail for the last few years! Both trail heads are very easy to find although I do tend to use the Bell Canyon Granite Trail Head the most, lactated at the beginning of Little Cottonwood Canyon on 9600 south. The other trail head is called Boulders Trail Head located on Wasatch Blvd just south of Bell canyon Granite Trail Head.
It took me roughly 20 minutes to hike to the lower reservoir witch was surrounded by thick green foliage giving the water a cool reflection of greens and blues. The parking lot was not completely full but there was still quit a lot of people enjoying the Water and the many look out points overlooking the reservoir and also, all of, salt lake valley.
As you fallow a wide trail around the north side of the reservoir you will come across a smaller trail that branches of slightly to the left, there will be a sign that states "Bell Canyon Trail" Fallow that marker Two miles up and you will reach the First waterfall! The last half mile before reaching the falls is steep remember to bring water and to have had a good meal prior to hiking :) Fueling your body right is key to making it to the falls as a happy hiker.
It took me an hour to hike up but I hear that it can take around two hours to reach the falls for some. It took thirty minutes to hike back to the first reservoir with running the first twenty minutes. It made for a nice run for an experienced trail runner.
I spotted dear, squirrels, rabbits, a small dark colored snake and heard a rattle warning a few feet off the trail.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What a great hike. Not for the faint of heart. Thank you Maggie Cloud for going with me. Once you get above the lower falls there is some beautiful country to see.

Load More