Calf Creek Falls

Calf Creek Falls has made multiple “Best U.S. Waterfalls” lists, and it is right in our backyard!

Overview: This desert waterfall attracts visitors from across the globe due to its beautiful colors, impressive height and unique location. Lower Calf Creek Falls is an impressive 126 ft. tall waterfall that forms a deep pool all around it. Zach actually braved the freezing water to swim right up to the falls. (How can water located in the middle of a desert be SO COLD?!)

I (wisely) opted out of the freezing swim and sat on the shore to soak up the view.

Other than the caterpillar apocalypse, the trail wasn’t bad! It was pretty long, but it cut across some beautiful red rock country. We also saw some Native American petroglyphs on the canyon wall.

If you are down near Bryce Canyon, you definitely need to take the time to stop and hike Calf Creek Falls (there is also a Calf Creek Campground you can learn more about here).

Lower Calf Creek Falls is quite possibly the most impressive waterfall in Utah. We’ll be adding it to our list of “The 5 Most Impressive Utah Waterfalls in Utah” now that we have completed it! Check out other hikes on that list by clicking here.


  • Do NOT hike this in the May, unless you can stomach hundreds of caterpillars falling on your head from the trees! The whole time we were excited to reach the part of the hike with trees, just to find out that they were infested with millions of caterpillars! The first couple of spottings were cool, but once they were covering the trail, hanging from thin webs from the trees and falling in our hair…it was a lot less fun. I felt like Ron in the second Harry Potter book: “Can we panic now?” It was pretty gross, and everyone else on the trail seemed just as surprised as we were to find a caterpillar apocalypse (or as Zach says, a ‘caterpocalypse’) awaiting them on the trail. Some people just ran as fast as they could, while others fended off the caterpillar webs with sticks.
  • This trail is very sandy. Make sure you are wearing good shoes and be prepared for quite the leg work out! They say this trail is family friendly, but I can see the combination of the length, heat and sand making this harder on younger kids.


Trail Details:

Length: 5.4 miles round-trip to/from falls.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Dog-Friendly: Yes, but must be leashed: Dogs on the GSENM (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument).

Location: If you are headed eastbound from the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center in the town of Escalante, follow Highway 12 for 16.7 miles until you come to the turnoff for the Calf Creek Campground, on your left.

If headed southbound from Torrey, UT (near Capitol Reef National Park), follow Highway 12 for 49.1 miles until you come to the Calf Creek Campground, on your right.



  1. laura says

    We were just trying to decide which hike to do with our Danish exchange student, during her last week in Utah. Then I saw your post! Sealed the deal. We have been here before. SPECTACULAR! There are also Indian granaries that can be viewed from the trail. Between the desert, waterfall, and Indian stuff, I feel like this is one of the BEST HIKES EVER! We are also going to see if we can sneak in the UPPER falls as well–harder to find but great for those who want to do a little “cliff diving” into a pool.

    • wADMIN says

      I was wishing we had time to see the upper falls! (We actually split the day between Calf Creek Falls and Kanarraville.) Good for you for showing them around Southern Utah! Sounds like that student is lucky to have you as a host fam!

    • wADMIN says

      I think they might be a type of Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar (more common in Southern Utah), but I’m no Lepidopterologist, so don’t take my word for it :). -Zach


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