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Upper Calf Creek Falls

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (12)

A short, steep trail over slickrock leading to a refreshing waterfall and pool.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Point to Point

6,498' 1,981 m

High

5,928' 1,807 m

Low

1' 0 m

Up

570' 174 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

43%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall

Description

From the trailhead, descend steeply over slickrock passing rounded basalt boulders erupted from the Boulder Mountain area around 20 million years ago and transported to Calf Creek by debris flows and floods.

They (the basalt boulders) originated in the high basalt and andesite that flowed approximately 20 million years ago northwest of Boulder. Geologists long thought the boulders had moved from Boulder Mountain in Ice-Age glaciers and streams that carried the rocks down valley. Recent studies show that the glaciers were small and the streams lacked the power to move boulders nine feet or more in diameter such as those found around Fruita (this is about Capitol Reef – but same story as Escalante especially if you read further.

Large landslides occurred and the remains of these slides (huge chunks of basalt and andesite) mantle the slopes of Boulder and Thousand Lakes Mountains. Some of the slides flowed into the heads of the Fremont and Escalante Rivers and were liquid enough to move as debris flows for tens of miles down canyons like wet cement in a chute. Such dense flow can raft boulders without rounding them. Some debris flows incorporated enough river water to become floods that spread boulders through Capitol Reef and farther east of the park.

After an initial steep descent and contemplating these boulders, the trail becomes gentler, and passes by juniper and pinyon trees. Once the trail meets the top of the inner canyon, the Upper Calf Creek Overlook Trail forks to the right, and follows the top of the canyon lip to an overlook of Upper Calf Creek Falls. Follow the main trail to the left, and descend towards Calf Creek.

The trail ends at a small pool and beautiful waterfall, surrounded by seasonally lush grasses and cottonwood trees. During warm summer days, you can enjoy a dip in the pool.

Contacts

Shared By:

Sarah Baker

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 12 votes

#5865

Overall
  4.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
58%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
8%
Trail Rankings

#219

in Utah

#5,865

Overall
53 Views Last Month
1,680 Since Mar 29, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
40%
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50%
10%

Photos

Upper Calf Creek Falls. with permission from G Eaton
May 9, 2016 near Loa, UT
View down into Calf Creek Canyon.
Apr 27, 2016 near Loa, UT
One of the small pools just above the waterfall.
Jun 11, 2017 near Escalante, UT
View of the falls from the trail.
Apr 27, 2016 near Loa, UT
Upper Calf Creek Falls.
Apr 27, 2016 near Loa, UT
Looking downstream at Calf Creek Canyon.
Jun 11, 2017 near Escalante, UT

Weather


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Check-Ins

Mar 21, 2020
Dan Moody
2.5mi
Sep 14, 2019
Will Schott
Jul 22, 2019
Doug Price
tough trail with very steep beginning and end. beautiful pools at destination 2mi — 11h 42m
Apr 26, 2019
Pritha Golden
1mi — 9h 44m
Sep 16, 2018
Carine Istas
Jun 3, 2018
Dominic Furano
This hike leads to a fun destination but the hike out is pretty steep and tough. Bring plenty of water.
May 28, 2018
Cindy Lyons Peterson
May 5, 2018
Michael Bobbe