Nature’s Masterpieces: Exploring the 13 Best Waterfalls in Utah

Utah’s not just all about those epic red rock canyons and arches; it’s also home to some pretty amazing waterfalls that are worth checking out. Whether you’re up for a serious hike or just want to take a quick detour on your road trip, there’s a Utah waterfall with your name on it. In this article, we’re going to walk you through the 13 best waterfalls in Utah that you’ve got to see to believe. From easy-to-reach spots perfect for a family outing and picnic to more hidden gems that require a bit of effort to find, we’ve got something for everyone. So, grab your water bottle and let’s dive into where you can find the best waterfalls in Utah.

Fall colors cascade springs

Lower Calf Creek Falls

  • Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Southern Utah
  • Height: Approximately 126 feet
  • Access: Accessed via a 6-mile round-trip hike on the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, which is well-marked and offers a moderate trek.
utah with kids calf creek escalante

Nestled within the vast landscapes of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Lower Calf Creek Falls is a breathtaking sight, with water cascading down 126 feet into a striking, green-hued pool. This is one of the best desert waterfalls in Utah. This oasis in the desert is accessible via a 6-mile round-trip hike that meanders through a canyon with a flowing stream, offering views of ancient rock art and even a few beaver ponds along the way.

Calf creek falls by escalant utah

Despite its remote location, the well-maintained trail and the inviting nature of the falls make it a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Swimming in the pool at the base of the falls is a refreshing reward after the hike, especially during the warmer months. The water in the waterfall is FRIGID except for later in the summer months, but you’ll have plenty of time to dry off on the hike down. The falls are named after the calves that early settlers used to graze in the area. The best times to visit are during the spring and fall when the temperatures are cooler and the desert landscape is alive with color. You can also consider visiting Upper Calf Creek Falls if you’re in the area, which is accessed by a trailhead a little farther north. Upper Calf Creek Falls is less visited and is a smaller waterfall.

Read Next: The Family Guide to Lake Powell

Provo River Falls

  • Location: Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, along the Mirror Lake Highway
  • Height: Series of cascades over a short distance
  • Access: Easily viewed from the Mirror Lake Highway, with nearby parking making the hike only 0.15 miles from the parking lot

The Provo River Falls are a series of small but beautiful cascades located along the Mirror Lake Highway, making them easily accessible with just a short walk from the roadside. These falls offer a picturesque setting perfect for picnicking or a brief stop to stretch your legs during a drive through the Uintas. This is one of the easiest waterfalls in Utah to access with the falls being about 0.15 miles from the parking lot.

Each cascade on this short hike has its own unique character, and visitors can enjoy several small pools and natural water slides. The area is especially popular in the summer when the weather is warm, and the water provides a cool place to relax. In the autumn, the surrounding forests turn a vibrant array of colors, making it an ideal time for photographers. Fishing enthusiasts will also find the Provo River downstream to be a great location for trout fishing. While you are in Provo check out BYU’s Monte L. Bean Museum.

Stewart Falls

  • Location: Near Sundance Resort
  • Height: Approximately 200 feet in two tiers
  • Access: A moderate 3.5-mile round-trip hike from the Stewart Falls Trailhead, accessible from the Aspen Grove parking area.

Stewart Falls, located near the base of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Range, is one of the most scenic and photographed waterfalls in Utah. As a local, I think it’s one of the best mountain waterfalls in Utah. The falls plunge over 200 feet in two tiers against a backdrop of rugged mountain peaks, offering a dramatic scene especially during the spring runoff when the water flow is at its peak. The water can be very swift during the runoff, so use caution when crossing the river below the falls.

The hike to Stewart Falls is family-friendly and provides opportunities to see wildflowers (typically in July), wildlife, and changing leaves in the fall. This area is not only popular for its scenic beauty but also for its geological significance, with layers of sedimentary rock visible around the falls. Winter transforms the falls into a stunning ice sculpture, attracting ice climbers and winter hikers (though make sure to check avalanche conditions before attempting a winter hike here). The trailhead is located near Sundance Mountain Resort, adding to the appeal with options for dining and other outdoor activities post-hike.

Bridal Veil Falls

  • Location: Provo Canyon, Utah Valley
  • Height: Approximately 607 feet in two main tiers
  • Access: Easily accessible from a parking lot off Highway 189, with paved pathways leading to the base and a trail for views from the top.
bridal veil falls utah

Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon is a majestic two-tiered waterfall, easily one of the most accessible and family-friendly waterfalls in Utah due to the paved pathway leading to its base. Standing at 607 feet, it’s among the tallest waterfalls in the state, offering a spectacular view year-round. The waterfall is fed by snowmelt and spring runoff, making spring the best time to visit for those wishing to see it at its most powerful.

In the winter, a good portion of the falls freeze over, creating a popular spot for ice climbers. The base of the falls is a great place for picnics, and the mist from the waterfall provides a refreshing break on hot summer days. For a nice grassy area, hike the path just down the canyon to Nunns Park. When the runoff is at its peak, the path near the falls is usually soaking wet from all the mist, so come prepared to get a little wet. There is a small parking lot near the bottom of the waterfall that fills up quickly, but if you continue on the access road, there is more parking up the canyon. This Utah waterfall can also be easily viewed directly from highway 189 driving up Provo Canyon on the south side of the road. There is also an upper falls that can be accessed by a steep hike up Provo Canyon.

Emerald Pools Waterfall

  • Location: Zion National Park, Zion Canyon
  • Height: 360 feet tall
  • Access: Accessed via the Emerald Pools Trail, ranging from easy to moderate hikes to the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools.
emerald trails hike zion national park

Zion National Park’s Emerald Pools is a network of trails leading to three distinct pools, each accompanied by its own set of waterfalls and unique landscape features. However, the standout feature is the giant waterfall at the upper Emerald Pool. The lower pool is easily reached and is known for its stunning waterfall that cascades over a rocky ledge, creating a lush, oasis-like environment even in the heart of the desert. The middle and upper pools offer more secluded settings, with the upper pool’s waterfall dropping directly out of a sheer rock face.

These pools are named for their vibrant, emerald-green waters, a result of algae growth on the rocks below. The hike through Zion to reach these pools showcases the park’s incredible geology, including towering cliffs and rock formations. Visiting after a rainstorm can be particularly rewarding, as the waterfalls swell with runoff, though hikers should be cautious of slippery conditions. The Emerald Pool waterfall in Utah only flows seasonally or after a storm, so there is usually not water coming off the falls in fall, winter, and early spring.

Adams Canyon Waterfall

  • Location: Near Layton
  • Height: About 40 feet
  • Access: A moderate to strenuous 3.5-mile round-trip hike on the Adams Canyon Trail.

Adams Canyon, part of the Great Western Trail, features a stunning 40-foot waterfall that plunges into a clear, cold pool below, making it a popular destination for hikers and photographers alike. The hike to Adams Canyon waterfall is challenging, with a trail that winds through a scenic canyon filled with pines, rocky outcrops, and wildflowers in the spring.

The waterfall is at its most impressive in the late spring when the snowmelt increases the water flow. The area around the waterfall is a great place to cool down during the hot summer months, and many hikers enjoy cooling off with a dip in the pool beneath the falls. Autumn brings a display of fall colors that enhance the natural beauty of the hike. The canyon is also a habitat for wildlife, including birds of prey, which can often be seen circling overhead. The waterfall and surrounding canyon have become a favorite among locals for its natural beauty and the quick access to adventure from the city. If you are looking for more things to do in Layton check out our list of favorite hikes in Layton.

Kanarraville Falls

  • Location: Kanarraville, just south of Cedar City
  • Height: Multiple cascades through a slot canyon most around 10 feet
  • Access: A 3.5-mile hike one way through a stream in a slot canyon, requiring a permit.
Kanarraville ben, narrows

Kanarraville Falls is a stunning slot canyon waterfall located near the small town of Kanarraville in Southern Utah and is one of the best slot canyon waterfalls in Utah. The hike to the falls is a 3.5-mile trek through a narrow slot canyon, requiring hikers to wade through the stream, making water shoes and waterproof gear essential as you’ll be doing a lot of hiking on slippery rocks. The journey through the slot canyon will take you through towering canyon walls and hanging gardens that are all stunning.

Once you get to the main waterfall, you can climb up a wooden ladder to keep exploring the slot canyon. You’ll be hiking in and through the water, so dress accordingly.

The waterfall has a beautiful cascade that spills over rock terraces, creating a series of natural pools. The popularity of Kanarraville Falls has grown significantly, leading to the implementation of a permit system to protect the delicate ecosystem. The best time to visit is from late spring to early fall when temperatures are warmer, making the water more tolerable. Photographers are particularly drawn to the canyon for its dramatic light and shadow play, capturing the ethereal beauty of the falls and its surroundings.

Donut Falls

  • Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon
  • Height: Approximately 35 feet
  • Access: An easy 3-mile round-trip hike suitable for most ages and skill levels.
Hiking Utah's Donut Falls

Donut Falls is one of the most unique and popular waterfalls near Salt Lake City, named for the donut-shaped hole in the cave roof through which the water falls. The trail to the falls is a relatively easy 3-mile round trip, making it a popular choice for families and casual hikers. The waterfall is most impressive in the spring and early summer when the snowmelt feeds the creek, creating a powerful flow through the “donut” and into the pool below.

The area around Donut Falls is rich in wildlife, and hikers often spot moose, deer, and various bird species along the trail. The moose here can be aggressive so make sure to give them plenty of space and never get between a calf and a mother.

In the winter, the falls and surrounding area become a popular spot for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing, though caution is advised due to avalanche risk. The limited parking area fills up quickly, especially on weekends, so arriving early or visiting on weekdays is recommended. The unique geological features around Donut Falls, including the cave and hole through which the water cascades, offer a fascinating glimpse into the natural forces that have shaped the landscape.

Fifth Water Hot Springs Waterfall

  • Location: Diamond Fork Canyon, Spanish Fork Canyon
  • Height: Various small cascades into the hot springs
  • Access: A moderate 4.5-mile round-trip hike to the hot springs and waterfall.

The Fifth Water Hot Springs, located in Diamond Fork Canyon, are renowned for their beautiful turquoise hot spring pools and the stunning waterfall that feeds them. The hike to the hot springs is about 4.5 miles round trip and offers a moderate challenge with rewarding views and the chance to soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters. The waterfall is a cascade that flows into the largest of the hot spring pools, providing a natural spa-like experience in the midst of a forested canyon.

The different pools all have varying temperatures allowing visitors to find the perfect spot to relax. The best times to visit are during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. The area is also known for its vibrant fall colors and abundant wildlife. Visitors should be aware that the trail and pools can be crowded, and parking is limited. The falls are still accessible in the winter, though the trail can get incredibly icy, so microspikes are necessary. The natural beauty and serene atmosphere of the Fifth Water Hot Springs Waterfall make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique outdoor experience.

Bell Canyon Waterfall

  • Location: Near Sandy, just south of Salt Lake City
  • Height: Approximately 30 feet
  • Access: Accessed via a moderate 2-mile hike from the Bell Canyon Granite Trailhead.

Bell Canyon Waterfall, located just south of Salt Lake City, offers a relatively accessible escape into nature with its scenic beauty and the soothing sounds of falling water. The hike to the first waterfall is about 2 miles round trip and takes hikers through a verdant canyon with stunning views of the Salt Lake Valley. The waterfall, which is most full in the spring and early summer, cascades into a clear pool, creating a picturesque setting for photography, picnicking, or simply enjoying the tranquility.

Bell Canyon

The area is known for its wildflowers in the late spring and vibrant fall colors, makign this hike incredibly beautiful and popular. The trail continues past the first waterfall to Upper Bell Canyon Reservoir and several other waterfalls for those seeking a more challenging adventure.

Waterfall Canyon

  • Location: Ogden
  • Height: Approximately 200 feet
  • Access: A moderate to strenuous 2.5-mile round-trip hike from the trailhead on 29th Street.

Waterfall Canyon, located in Ogden, is home to a spectacular 200-foot waterfall that is one of the best waterfalls on the Wasatch Front. The trail to Waterfall Canyon is a moderately challenging 2.5-mile round trip that offers stunning views of the Ogden area and the surrounding mountains. The waterfall is at its most impressive in the late spring when the snowmelt from the mountains feeds the falls, creating powerful flows.

The canyon is also a popular spot for rock climbing, with several routes offering a range of difficulties. The trail can be steep and rocky in places, requiring good footwear and caution, especially near the waterfall where the mist can make rocks slippery.

Archangel Falls

  • Location: Zion National Park, en route to the Subway
  • Height: Series of cascades over slickrock
  • Access: Accessed via a strenuous approximately 9-mile round-trip hike from the Left Fork Trailhead on Kolob Terrace Road. A wilderness permit for the Subway in Zion National Park is required.

Archangel Falls, less often spotlighted than some of Zion National Park’s other natural wonders, offers a stunning desert waterfall experience, particularly for those interested in the quieter, less trodden paths of Zion. Since this waterfall is located on the way to the Subway, very few people come here daily, so if you can secure a permit, there’s a good chance you’ll have this Zion waterfall to yourself.

Located on the way to the famous Subway section of the Left Fork of North Creek, Archangel Falls is not a singular, dramatic plunge but rather a series of cascading terraces that flow over slickrock, creating a breathtaking natural water sculpture. The falls are most notable for their unique, layered rock formations, over which the water flows gently, creating a mesmerizing effect of light and water. The hike to get here and back out is strenuous, dropping down a steep and boulder filled switchback area. The summer temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees here and until you get to the river, the hike is very exposed to the sun, so it’s recommended to not visit this waterfall during the summer. Lastly, it’s crucial to check the weather forecast before embarking on your hike, as conditions can change rapidly in this region that is prone to flash flooding.

Each of these Utah waterfalls showcases the diverse beauty of Utah’s landscapes, from serene forested pools to dramatic desert cascades. Visiting these waterfalls offers not only a chance to see some of the state’s most stunning natural features but also to learn about the geological and ecological processes that have shaped them. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk to a tranquil pool or an adventurous hike through a rugged canyon, there is so much diversity in Utah’s waterfalls that you won’t be disappointed whichever you choose to visit.

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