Squirrel Canyon – Water Canyon Loop

Tom’s Experience hiking the Squirrel Canyon – Water Canyon Loop:

This 9 mile loop lets you explore two different canyons in Southern Utah. The hike can be longer depending on how many side trips you would like to add on. To start off from the lower parking lot you will head east and drop down into a wash and back up the other side. There are a few four wheeler tracks you can follow as well as a fence you need to cross. After that you follow the canyon up river.

Squirrel Canyon

We never got our feet wet but we did need to be careful. Continue up canyon for about 1.4 miles until you come to an intersection. From here you start to head more north and head up the canyon on the left of the fork. From here you follow the canyon up. We were not able to find great trails until we were almost out of the canyon. It may have been due to the leaves covering the trail but I’m not sure how great the trail is overall.

Water Canyon Trail

The trail begins to get steep as it climbs up the side of the canyon to the top of the cliffs. From here the trail is much more level. Follow the better marked trail and it will eventually meet up with the Canaan Mountain Trail. This trail leads to the top of Canaan Mountain as well as over to Water Canyon. You can turn off the trail between here and the entrance to Water Canyon if you would like to visit Water Canyon Arch.

Hiking Water Canyon

You can find directions at this website if you want to do the arch plus it has great directions for the whole loop. If you don’t head to the arch you continue the way you were heading. The trail is hard to follow at times as it is on slickrock and there aren’t very many cairns. Eventually you should be able to see Zion National Park off to your right in the distance which is very pretty. You will also shortly come to some really neat white domes.

The White Domes Water Canyon

I thought these domes were one of the highlights of the trip and a great place to stop for lunch. They are very large and tough to capture with a camera. If you would like to head to Canaan Mountain the White Domes are where you leave the loop trail to head off to the mountain summit. From the white domes you drop down into Water Canyon. There are a few cairns but not too many. You head down the slickrock towards the slot canyons but be sure not to enter the slot canyons, instead, stay to the left of them.

Water Canyon Arch

This will lead into a wash that you follow for quite a bit. Eventually you will reach a fork where two washes intersect. From here you have about .2 miles until you leave the wash following a trail on the right of the wash. This trail is difficult to see and follow but it will lead up towards top rock. From top rock the trail winds its way down the steep cliff faces and is truly and amazing trail. This will let you out into Water Canyon and follow the trail from here out to the road. It is about a mile from the end of Water Canyon down the dirt road to your car. Dogs are allowed on this trail.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: From Hildale, Utah, turn north onto Utah Drive and reset your odometer. Follow this road 1.8 miles until you reach a stop sign. Continue straight through the intersection. At 2.8 miles there will be two dirt roads on the right. Take the second dirt road called Water Canyon Road. The road will be come very sandy so 4 wheel drive is recommended. At 3.5 you come to an intersection  but continue left on the main road. A short distance further there is another intersection, stay right this time. After that just a little further and you will arrive at another intersection, take a right and the parking lot is right there next to an old fence.


Lower Parking Lot:     37.026332,-112.952918

Squirrel Canyon Entrance:     37.040688,-112.940891

White Domes:     37.062793,-112.983897

Water Canyon Exit:     37.037905,-112.954967

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Hike to the wonderful Grass Lake

Tom’s Experience hiking to Grass Lake:

Grass Lake is a pretty lake located in the Desolation Wilderness. The trail has a 700 foot climb and is only about 5 miles round-trip. Grass Lake Tahoe

You start at the Glen Alpine Trailhead also known as the Lily Lake Trailhead which is just up the road from Lower Glen Alpine Falls. You can also reach Aloha Lake from the Glen Alpine Trailhead which is 6 miles one-way.

Glen Alpine Springs Grass Lake

The trail to Grass Lake is fairly well marked but a map or gps can still be very helpful. The trail at the trailhead starts out on rocks which are the remains of an old road as you walk past the outskirts of Lily Lake. After about a half a mile you will end up at a waterfall called Modjeska Falls, or Upper Glen Alpine Falls.

Upper Glen Alpine Falls Grass Lake

It is named after a 19th century Polish Opera Singer, Helena Modjeska, who performed at the nearby springs in 1885. You will pass numerous summer cabins along the trail all the way until you reach Glen Alpine Springs which was once a little resort.

Hiking to Grass Lake

Water from the springs was actually bottled and sold in the early 1900’s. From here the trail continues on to a fork that is marked by a sign. To reach Grass Lake take the left fork. You will need to cross over the stream a time or two but we were able to stay on logs or rocks and didn’t get wet.

Grass Lake Tahoe

Grass Lake is a great spot to stop for lunch, there are plenty of trees for shade and the lake isn’t too crowded. There is also a large waterfall on the far end of the lake that leads into the lake which was really cool. Dogs are allowed on this trail.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: From South Lake Tahoe, follow the 89 northwest for about 3 miles and turn left onto Fallen Leaf Lake Road. Follow this very narrow road for almost 5 miles and you will come to a fork in the road that has a sign. Take the left fork past the fire station up a winding road and past a bridge to the parking lot. Parking is very limited so go early for the best luck.


Glen Alpine Trailhead:     38.877061,-120.080116

Grass Lake:     38.871122,-120.110039

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