Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bells Canyon Waterfall

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Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
Bells Canyon Waterfall is in the canyon just south of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and apart of the watershed, so dogs are banned from this trail. The trail passes Bells Canyon Reservoir, passes the waterfall, and actually leads to an upper pond, 4.5 miles one way. This was our goal on Saturday, but as we quickly got soaked from the downpour of rain at 7am, we knew that wasn't going to happen for us.

Most people hike to the waterfall, and at only 2.3 miles one way, it makes for a great after work hike, or a family hike on weekends. However, this trail is very popular year round and every day, so even if you arrive early (like we did), the parking lot can still be full. Bells Canyon gives you a little taste of everything the Wasatch Mountains have to offer - a beautiful meadow with flowers in Spring time, a stream, a reservoir, giant slabs of granite, shade, and of course, a 40 ft waterfall as your reward.

From SLC, head south on I-215 and take exit 6 for Wasatch Blvd. Head south on Wasatch Blvd, past the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and the 7-11. Turn right on Wasatch Blvd, then left on E Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd. The TH and parking will be immediately on your right, with the "Granite Trailhead" sign. There are restrooms available. No fees required.

Distance: 5 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,390 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? No, dogs not allowed
Kid friendly? Yes
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Pulling into the trailhead at 7am - the parking lot was already half full.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 The trail starts to the left of these signs reminding you that dogs aren't allowed.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Working our way up the small switchbacks. We can see that we were all covered head to toe in rain gear.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Looking across to where the trail leads.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 At about 0.6 miles you will reach Bells Canyon Reservoir. This is a great spot to take the little hikers, and just explore around here.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Once you reach the reservoir, head left up the wide old, dirt road. A few minutes up this road, look to your left for the Bells Canyon Trail sign, and take this. The clouds were really starting to sock in the canyon.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Cross the bridge. I always make fun of this bridge saying, "I guess the forest service had to make some cuts and not finish the other railing on the bridge!" haha
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 It was raining so hard the trail turned into a river!
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Still smiling even with the rain.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Stopping to admire the beautiful, raging stream.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 After you cross this little stream along the trail (which seems to run year-round), the trail split will be to your left. If you head right, the trail begins to get even steeper, and you know you went too far.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Hike your way down to the base of the falls. Be careful, as everything is slippery and wet, especially during a rainstorm! This is where you want to keep a good eye on kids.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
 Bells Canyon Waterfall was raging!
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail guide
Hiking back down, and seeing Bells Canyon with mist and fog. We could tell that it was snowing up higher, and were glad we decided to turn around at the falls. Once we got back to the car, my shoes and rain gear was soaked through! I was really cold.
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail map
Bells Canyon Waterfall trail map, looking East.

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3 comments:

  1. I just did this hike on Saturday - how funny! It was gorgeous and a great hike :)

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    Replies
    1. It's a great hike - even in the rain! LOL - Alicia

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  2. I like this hike. It will probably be mobbed over the Labor Day weekend, but maybe Friday won't be too bad...if it doesn't rain:) I'd like to go all the way to the upper pond. Thanks!

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