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Lower Calf Creek Falls

The hike is well worth the beautiful sight of a cascading waterfall and some refreshing diving afterward


Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Lower Calf Creek Falls makes up a part of perennial Calf Creek Falls slicing 214 feet (65 m) through the canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Southern Utah. The lower tier is much more popular than the upper one due to a longer drop of 126 feet (38 m), better access, and easier hike. Moreover, the stream plunges into a crystal clear, shady swimming hole, often shrouded with mist and pleasantly cool even on the hottest days.

When is the best time to visit Lower Calf Creek Falls?

The best time of year at Lower Calf Creek Falls is spring and fall due to comfortable temperatures and moderate crowds. The best light for photography is between 10 am and 2 pm because of the canyon walls. Despite hot weather, summer is still the favored season, allowing the folks to fully appreciate a refreshing dip at the waterfall base. If you choose summertime, visit mid-week, for weekends are jam-packed. Also, bring sufficient water with you. Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail is accessible year-round, and the waterfall flows all the time, making winter an option too. However, you might need to wear anti-slip gear at some parts if you hike during the cold season.

How to get to Lower Calf Creek Falls?

The waterfall is reached by the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, which starts at the Calf Creek Campground on Utah Scenic Byway 12. The highway sits 11 miles (18 km) south of Boulder and 15 miles (24 km) east of Escalante. The 6-mile (10-km) out-and-back hike along Calf Creek requires 3 to 4 hours to trek, depending on your pace. Even though the trail is relatively flat, sandy sections make it moderately difficult to complete. Note that besides nature sceneries, the hike features pictographs and remains of an Anasazi Indians granary that is quite noticeable along the trail.

Things to do at Lower Calf Creek Falls

The first thing you'll probably want to do as you reach the site is to crane your head up to the top of the waterfall and feel the mighty spray of the water on your face. Well, kids go ahead kids and rush straight into the pool! So put on your swimming apparel before you set off for the hike. Afterwards, you can enjoy a picnic at the side of the Lower Calf Creek Falls and return the same way you came there. Also, you might want to challenge yourself with another hike to the Upper Calf Creek Falls or check out The Hogback, an excellent vista point nestled nearby along Highway 12.

Where to stay at Lower Calf Creek Falls?

The best choice would be Calf Creek Campground offering 13 camping sites, a day-use picnic area, and a trailhead. When possible, get there early, since camping is on first come first served basis, and parking is limited as well. Also, if you're more into hotels, then please get familiarized with the lodging options on the Lower Calf Creek Falls map below.

Practical info

How long does it take to hike Lower Calf Creek Falls?

About 3 to 4 hours

Can you swim in Lower Calf Creek Falls?

Yes, you can plunge into a refreshing swimming hole below the waterfall.

How do I get to Calf Creek Falls?

By the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, which starts at the Calf Creek Campground on Highway 12. That's 11 miles (18 km) south of Boulder, and 15 miles (24 km) east of Escalante.

Why is Escalante called the Grand Staircase?

For the series of topographic rock formations which progressively rise in elevation from south to north resembling staircase.

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