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Hiking Camp Creek Falls in Southern Utah

Updated: May 8, 2020

If you are looking for a mini adventure with minimal effort, than look no further than the Camp Creek waterfall! Located as far northwest in Zion National Park as you can possibly go, this short and easy trail will take you straight to a 75 foot waterfall. Conveniently located just off of I-15, this is the perfect detour for people who want to get out of their car and stretch their legs for a few minutes between adventures.

Location: Behind the Chekshani Cliffs subdivision, just south of Kanarraville, Utah

Duration: Half a mile round trip, and that is being generous

Difficulty: Easy, peasy

Cost: Not a straight answer on this one, I'll discuss further below

When to Visit: Spring, but it is always open

Good to Know: Out and back trail with no permit required. The water level varies from non-existent to a decent flow depending on time of year

First of all, if you have previously googled this hike you are likely perplexed by my claims of it being"easy" and only half a mile. The Camp Creek Falls hike, in its entirety, is considered a strenuous back country hike that goes for a few miles and usually requires bushwhacking because it is seldom used and is not maintained by the park. I've never done the full thing, just the short jaunt to the waterfall, so that's all we'll be talking about here. If you want to try your hand at the full hike, this is the best article I could find about it.

How To Get There

The best thing about this hike is its location. You can go from cruising down the interstate to trail head in all of 5 minutes. From I-15 you'll take exit 42 and head east, following the signs to Kanarraville. At the stop sign, turn left onto Old Highway 21 and head north (again, this is following the signs to Kanarraville). Roughly 1.5 miles after turning onto Old Highway 21, you will make a right turn onto 1925 south to enter the Chekshani Cliffs subdivision. Drive to the stop sign, from this intersection you will make a left hand turn onto Wipishani Lane. Continue on this road, even after passing the dead end sign. This road will turn to dirt and end at the base of the mountain where you can park in a dirt lot.

Pro Tip: Just before it turns into a dirt road, you will drive over the creek and whatever water is left at that point actually passes over top of the road. Don't worry, there's never enough water to make driving through it concerning, and this crossing is an excellent gauge as to how much water will be coming over the fall!

The Trail

The trail head is located in the southeastern corner of the parking area. You'll pass through a gate that alerts you that you are now entering Zion National Park, and are therefore subject to the park rules. This is where to pay or not to pay is the question. I guess technically you should either pay or have a parks pass...however....there is no one there to collect payment, and the odds of you coming across a ranger while on this hike are lower than you winning the lottery. I have a parks pass, so this is a non-issue for me. For those of you that don't, I'll leave it to your discretion. My guess is you would have to go to the Kolob Canyons visitors center and let them know where you are headed? I don't know, and I'm not going to judge you if you don't check in. I will, however, judge you if you don't practice Leave No Trace while here. Harshly.

But back to the trail! From trail head to the waterfall you are looking at maybe .25 miles one way, and I feel like that is being very generous. Aside from a small, albeit steep hill that may be a little difficult for some with physical limitations to ascend and descend without help, this is an easy and flat trail that small kids and grandparents should have no problems navigating. You will cross over the creek a few times, but have no fear, it's easy to keep your feet dry as these are small crossings.

Once you get to the waterfall, explore! Your options are limited, as you are in a canyon with high walls on either side with only one way out, but you can walk up behind the waterfall to see water seeping through the rock, or climb trails to high ground on either side of the waterfall. The pool of water at the bottom of the fall is shallow; I recommend hiking in water shoes so you can play in the pool and get close to the fall without concern to the well being of your kicks.

When To Go

If you want to see the waterfall in action, your best bet is to go in the spring when the snow is melting and creating a runoff. You can get lucky other times of the year, of course. Usually after a rainstorm, but this comes with the risk of flash flooding {not that i would be too concerned about that here, but still, you never know}. I've seen pictures of it in the winter frozen over with ice climbers having a go, but the one time I visited in winter it was bone dry, so I don't know how that works. The trail is always accessible, but spring is definitely the time to visit!

The entire hike can be as quick as 15 minutes if you are in a rush, but give yourself at least 30 minutes to really enjoy it. I often include this hike with a day of adventuring to other nearby trails like Kanarraville Falls or Spring Creek, which are just minutes to the north, or a hike in Kolob Canyons, which is minutes to the south. Red Cliffs isn't too far down the road either. Point is, no matter what you've got going on that day, if you find yourself driving past exit 42 in southern Utah, you have time to include this trail, so pull over and take a hike!

{as always: practice LEAVE NO TRACE. stay hydrated. tell someone where you are going. wear appropriate clothing. be mindful of the weather. be nice to fellow hikers. have fun, make good choices, & hike smart}

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