Hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls in Utah-Panergy
Where Is Lower Calf Creek Falls?
Calf Creek is a stream located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah.
There are two waterfalls in the stream that you can hike to - the upper falls and the lower falls.
Both hikes are beautiful, but the lower waterfall is much bigger and easier to access. This trail guide is for the lower falls.
The trailhead for Lower Calf Creek Falls is just off of Highway 12 between the towns of Escalante, Utah, and Boulder, Utah.
Fees: The cost is $5 per vehicle. You’ll park in the parking lot by the restrooms right before entering the campground.
Camping: Camping is available for $15 per night on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrive early if you plan to camp because this area is very popular and the campground fills up quickly. Check Calf Creek Campground updates and alerts for the latest information on camping.
The parking area is well marked. The trailhead is located in Calf Creek Campground.
There are bathrooms and water available at the trailhead parking area.
Distance: about 6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: I consider this an easy hike (but keep in mind that difficulty ratings are subjective!)
Hike Type: out-and-back
Dogs: Dogs are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash.
Parking: There’s a small parking area at the trailhead as I mentioned above, however, due to the popularity of this hike, the parking area fills up quickly.
Best Time Of Year To Hike
I think this hike is best done from Spring through Fall.
I’ve hiked it in the Spring and Fall months, and I think the Fall might be my favorite. In the Fall, the canyon looks so beautiful from all the changing leaves.
The Summer months are very hot, but it does make a swim under the waterfall so refreshing and enjoyable! In the Spring, it was still way too cold for me to take a dip.
The trail doesn’t have much shade, so keep in mind that hiking in the intense summer heat can be an added challenge.
You’ll start by walking along the campground road until you see the official trailhead on your left.
At the trailhead, there’s a sign-in box along with pamphlets about the hike.
Along the hike, there are several points of interest marked by wooden numbered posts. The pamphlets provide more information about each spot.
There are 15 signposts where you can learn more about the landscape and the people that once lived here.
Make sure to stop at wooden post number 9 and see if you can find the pictographs across the canyon (pictured above).
The entire hike is relatively flat through packed dirt and sand, with a few small hills to go up and down.
Once you get to the waterfall, you can take a swim in the water if you’re up for it!
If you don’t feel like going for a full swim, don’t worry, the mist from the waterfall will help keep you cool.
Once you’ve had enough time at the waterfall, turn around and hike back the way you came.
Hazards And Challenges
A Remote Desert
This is a large and remote area and cell phone service is unreliable. Gas, food, and other services are not available at the trailhead.
Always make sure you are well prepared with your hiking essentials, navigation, water, food, and clothing. Tell someone back home where you are going, and when they can expect to hear from you.
Extreme Weather Conditions
The weather dramatically impacts this landscape. There can be extreme heat, limited shade, and dangerous thunderstorms that often produce torrential rain leading to flash floods.
Always check the weather and be aware of changing conditions and flash flood warnings in the areas that you will be hiking.
Summer essential equipment：