Friday, June 9, 2017

Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls

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Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
Upper Calf Creek Falls is neighbor to Lower Calf Creek Falls yet sees less than half the visitors. This hike is only 1.2 miles to a beautiful waterfall, and deep pools above the falls that make for a great swim. The terrain is quite different from Lower Calf Creek Falls. The lower trail follows the bottom of a canyon, with tall red sandstone walls, and a lush green creek. The upper trail is more exposed, following a trail of old volcanic rock and is on top of the canyon. The rock at the pools above the falls is smoothed out over time, but be careful at the base of the falls - poison ivy lines the alcove.


You can easily hike both Lower & Upper Calf Creek Falls in one day. 6 miles for Lower and 3 for Upper make for a total of 9 miles in one day. I recommend hiking Lower first so there are less people in the morning hours, then head over to Upper afterwards. After hiking both trail, I highly recommend eating at The Burr Trail Grill - the burgers are sooo good! Plus they allow dogs on the patio!

Use this map if you are driving from Boulder, UT.

Use this map if you are driving from Escalante, UT.

Distance: 3 miles RT
Elevation gain: 537 ft (on the return hike)
Time: 1-2 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? None
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
There is no sign for the turn off on HWY 12, but it's between mile post 80 & 81 on the West side of the road. You'll turn onto a dirt road, which ends in a dead end almost immediately. 
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
The trail starts on the West side of the parking area, with a registration box.
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
As soon as you start the hike, you immediately descend about 200 ft. The rock is really sticky and grippy, but it's still a good idea to wear shoes with good tread. I hiked down in my Chacos because I knew water was ahead.
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
There trail has a lot of old lava/volcanic rock.
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
The wind picked up in the afternoon so much that it made Charlie's ears fly!
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
#Selfie on the trail!

Eventually you'll reach a small split in the trail (not signed). To get above the falls head right. 
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
The pool above Upper Calf Creek Falls is a great little swimming hole. 
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
These pools were really interesting - right where Charlie is stepping is where the pool drops off a shelf and looked to be about 8 feet deep. 
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
After you are done swimming at the top, head down to the base of the falls. Under this alcove was a ton of poison ivy - be careful!
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
Upper Calf Creek Falls is an 88 ft waterfall.
Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
The first time I hiked to Upper Calf Creek Falls was Memorial Day weekend in 2015 right after a big rainstorm (you can see my photo of Lower Creek Falls raging here). There was so much rain in the area that a second waterfall formed just to the left of the main Upper falls. Look how green everything looked! The temperatures were also much cooler in the 50F's.

Upper Calf Creek Falls Trail Map
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Hiking to Upper Calf Creek Falls, Escalante, Utah
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2 comments:

  1. We thought about this hike, as well, while at Lower Calf Creek and actually drove to the trailhead. But we decided to head to Hell's Backbone Grill to eat instead:) This is the best restaurant we have ever eaten at in our travels. It is a farm to table, sustainable foods place. Amazing!!

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    1. Can't wait to try Hell's Backbone! Next time definitely hike here! -Alicia

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