Miles: 5.84 round-trip
Elevation Change: 200 ft.
Trail Type: Out and back
Trailhead: Google Maps
One of the most popular trails from our trip, Lower Calf Creek Falls is well worth braving the crowds to enjoy a 130ft. waterfall in the middle of the desert. Bring the hammock and a hat, and go early or on a weekday for maximum enjoyment :)
We actually arrived the afternoon before, and the number of cars parked were backed up almost to the entrance. Although the amenities were nice, the campground here seemed so full and busy. We decided to hike the next morning, so we headed up the Scenic 12 to Hell's Backbone to camp for the night. We actually found lots of free campsites on the rim overlooking some Box-Death Hallow Wilderness plains.
The next morning it was only a short drive to the parking lot, and we were one of the first to arrive.
The trail guides at the trailhead will help you spot the granaries and pictographs during the hike. After paying the 5$ fee at the self-pay station, started up the trail.
As the trail heads north from the campground, there isn't have too much change in elevation, but the majority of the hike is in the sun, so it can get pretty hot!
Look out for poison oak as the trail starts to run closer to the creek, and keep an eye out for lots of different kinds fish in the creek's shallows! As the trail dips down, you start to hike through more marshy greenery.
Finally we arrived at the falls, and the mist flying out from the force of the falls felt great after the hot hike. We found two trees perfectly placed for the hammock, and we got to enjoy the falls before the hoards of people arrived at once.
The waterfall pouring into pool made the perfect swimming pool, but today the water felt too cold to swim in.
Once it started getting crowded, we packed up and started our hike back out. And bringing the hammock was key! It was such a great feeling lay back and take a mini nap in the shade after a hot hike.
We actually stumbled upon the trailhead for Upper Calf Creek Falls as well! We were looking for a campsite along the Hogsback further up the scenic highway 12, and we ended up at the trailhead for Upper Calf Creek. The hike seemed like it would be very steep, and the waterfall is only 88 feet tall but you wouldn't have to deal with the crowds of Lower Calf Creek!