Enjoy the unique waterfall and swimming at Upper Calf Creek Falls

Tom’s Experience hiking to the Upper Calf Creek Falls:

The Upper Calf Creek waterfalls aren’t nearly as spectacular as the Lower Calf Creek Falls, but is still one of the best hikes in Escalante and there are great pools to play in during the hot summer months. The trail to these desert waterfalls is very steep but it is also a lot less crowded. Round trip this hike is 2.2 miles but it is very steep.

Hiking down to the Upper Calf Creek Falls

From the parking lot, hike southwest down a steep cairn-marked trail, that eventually leads to a sand trail near the canyon bottom. The trail is well marked with cairns the whole way and is pretty easy to follow.

Upper Calf Creek Falls TrailEventually, the trail forks. The right trail leads to the upper waterfall and the left one leads to the lower waterfall. We took the right fork first and saw the upper waterfall. The pools to swim in are interesting because they don’t seem very deep at first but there are many holes that you can jump into and the water level will be over your head. The way the water ran down the white sandstone rocks was very pretty, and people could slide down the natural made water slides if they wanted.

Swimming in Upper Calf Creek FallsThrough the trees is the uppermost waterfall which is small but still worth seeing. We hiked back and visited the other fork of the trail which leads to the lower waterfall.

Small Upper Calf Creek falls

The lower waterfall was a pretty area with plenty of poison ivy but the poison ivy was easy to avoid. This waterfall is much larger than the upper waterfalls however the pools aren’t as nice to swim in. The way back to the top was very steep and has no shade.

Upper Calf Creek falls WaterfallDogs are allowed on the upper calf creek falls trail but be careful of the heat coming back to the car, since the trail is so steep it could easily cause heat-stroke.

Tom’s Rating:

Getting to the Trailhead: 

Head east out of Escalante and follow highway 12 for about 20.6 miles. There will be a dirt turnout on the left hand side that leads to a dirt parking lot and a trail sign and register for the upper calf creek falls. The sign can be hidden behind some trees so be on the lookout. We missed the turnout the first time on the freeway and backtrack a little bit to get it right.

GPS: Trailhead =  37.859445,-111.437881             Falls = 37.855262,-111.451829

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Hike to the unique and beautiful Lower Calf Creek Falls

Tom’s Experience hiking to the Lower Calf Creek Falls:

Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the prettiest, if not the prettiest waterfall in Utah, in my opinion, and is one of the best hikes in the Escalante area. It is downstream from the Upper Calf Creek Falls.

Hiking in Lower Calf Creek Falls Canyon

I love how the colors from the red rocks, the green moss and the white water come together. I think it is a place that is definitely worth visiting at least once.

Escalante Hikes

Before you begin, be sure to grab a trail guide because there are several markers on the trail that point out different Indian ruins and other interesting features along the way.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

The trail to Calf Creek Falls starts from the campground and follows the Calf Creek stream up through the red canyons. Most of the trail is fairly level as it follows the stream up the canyon to the waterfall. We passed numerous trees and enjoyed the steep canyon walls that we were hiking in between. The trail is about 3 miles to the falls. You can swim in the falls if you are hot and dogs are allowed on the trail but must be leashed anywhere in the Calf Creek Falls State Park.

Calf Creek Waterfall

It is a very popular trail and we passed dozens of people on the way to and from the falls. The trail is fairly flat the entire way, so a wide range of ages could do it, but it is longer than expected. There is a small fee to park in the campground parking lot that pays for the fresh water and the outhouses. Getting a campsite in the campground can be difficult as it is very popular.

Returning to Lower Calf Creek Falls Campground

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: Head east out of the town of Escalante about 15 miles on highway 12. There is a large sign for the Lower Calf Creek Campground but it is a little low off of the road so you need to be sure you are looking for it. There is a lot of parking but it fills up quickly. The Lower Calf Creek Falls trail starts from the campground and there is a small fee to park there. There are restrooms and drinking water available at the trailhead.


Lower Calf Creek Falls Trailhead = 37.795766,-111.413605

Lower Calf Creek Falls = 37.829201,-111.42013

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