Lower Calf Creek Falls - Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT

Date: 4/23/2016

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.

Requirements for the perfect camp site - trees for hammocking!

Playing cribbage while waiting for the sun to set over the rim

The next morning it was only a short drive to the parking lot, and we were one of the first to arrive.

The parking lot by the trailhead and campground (on the right)

The parking lot by the trailhead and campground (on the right)

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.

Hiking along the creek between the canyon walls

Such a warm day in April, can't imagine how hot it gets in the summer!

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!

The trail is mostly flat with a couple uphills and soft sandy spots

The trail is mostly flat with a couple uphills and soft sandy spots

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.

Our first glimpse of the waterfall above the trees!

Our first glimpse of the waterfall above the trees!

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.

The classic view of the impressive Calf Creek Falls!

The classic view of the impressive Calf Creek Falls!

These trees couldn't have been in more of a perfect spot

These trees couldn't have been in more of a perfect spot

We were one of the first to get there, and it was nice to enjoy the falls before the crowds got in

We were one of the first to get there, and it was nice to enjoy the falls before the crowds got 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!

Related Sites:

American Southwest

Climb Utah

Utah.com

World of Waterfalls