weather icon Partly Cloudy

Lower Calf Creek reveals rare Southwest waterfall

Waterfalls are rare in the Southwest except for seasonal examples that appear after snowmelt or briefly after a heavy rain. For that reason we treasure the few that put on their show year-round, including Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

The Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail is one of the most popular in the park, and for good reason. Besides standing beneath the 126-foot waterfall and taking a dip in the natural pool below it, you will travel through a Navajo sandstone canyon that flanks Calf Creek intermittently, and be able to see two prehistoric granaries and a spectacular pictograph panel.

Elevation gain is slight on this well-worn trail, making it a good choice for families, assuming children are up to walking six miles round trip.

The trail head is in the back of the Calf Creek Campground at an elevation of about 5,400 feet. Expect afternoon temperatures in June in the 80s or 90s, which make for a warm hike, so head out in the morning.

On your return there are a few places you can access Calf Creek itself for some needed relief from the heat by soaking your feet. Don’t plan on drinking this water, you will need to bring along all you will need .

Be sure to pick up the interpretive brochure from the campground hosts or at the trail head. This will give you information on some of the highlights you will find on the trail including where to look for the evidence of prehistoric and historic use.

You wouldn’t want to miss seeing the ruins of two American Indian granaries, thought to have been built hundreds of years ago. There are also three red pictographs on the canyon walls that appear to be depicting warriors.

If you bring along binoculars they will come in handy to get a better look at these sites.

As you follow the trail up Calf Creek, in the last segment approaching the falls the vegetation becomes denser with mature deciduous trees, and you will feel the temperature drop. Look along the creek for small ponds where beavers have built dams.

You will get a quick glimpse of the falls above the tree line and then after traveling through the worn path under the canopy of trees you will be at the sandy edge of the large natural pool created by the waterfall.

You will find maidenhair , scarlet monkey flowers and alcove columbines growing in the cliff walls surrounding the waterfall. Wade into the large pool below the falls and lie back for a refreshing all-over soak. Or simply sit on the sandy bank and let the mist from the fall settle onto your skin like the cooling dew of a mountain morning.

Calf Creek Campground has 14 campsites and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Call 877-44-6777, or visit www.recreation.gov for more information.

Many of Deborah Wall’s columns were recently compiled with new information and photos in “Base Camp Las Vegas” and published by Stephens Press. She is the author of “Great Hikes, a Cerca Country Guide.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Registration begins for youth sports

Registration is now being accepted from those interested in participating in Boulder City Parks and Recreation Department’s 2023 youth basketball or floor hockey leagues.

Trail provides glimpse into dam’s history

A trail passes through tunnels of Lake Mead history and hints at the challenges of taming a once-wild Colorado River to harness its water and power. The mostly flat Historic Railroad Trail allows walkers and bicyclists to travel back to the early 1930s on a path where tracks once guided trains hauling materials and critical components for Hoover Dam’s construction.

City Recreation

Youth sports return for fall

Pickleball proves popular; city to add courts

The sport of pickleball is expanding faster than the dry areas at Lake Mead, with over 5 million players nationwide. Boulder City has noticed this and, in a recent City Council meeting, approved $160,000 of the American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 relief funds for additional courts in the city.

Fishers angle for best spot

Anglers covered the shorelines at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Saturday, June 11, as Boulder City hosted the Southern Nevada free fishing day event.

94-year-old still out on the green

Feeling younger than ever, 94-year old Virginia “Birdie” Hurst is an avid golfer who has no plans to slow down.

Catalina evokes visions of romance, nature

For many who grew up in the 1950s or ’60s, the name of Santa Catalina will always evoke the vision of California at its most romantic, thanks to the Four Preps’ influential pop song of the same name. But the actual island has helped city folk enjoy romance, nature and elegant surroundings in their preferred proportions for nearly a century.

Waterfall standout of Grand Staircase-Escalante

While it would take a lifetime to see all the extraordinary wonders of the 1.87-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, even on a short visit you can hike to some of the highlights. One of the standouts, that most people are eager to visit, is Lower Calf Creek Falls.