Hidden in the desert of Southern Utah is a significant waterfall that has several thousands of gallons of water rushing out of the side of a cliff and down the side of Cedar Mountain. This water source is one of the headwaters of the Virgin River, and comes directly from Navajo lake above it. A relatively easy quick half-mile hike will get you there to see it, and the whole experience can be had in under an hour.
|Elevation Range:||90 ft|
|Low Elevation:||8840 ft|
|High Elevation:||8930 ft|
Cascade falls is an amazing hike that can be completed in less than an hour. It features a great trail, awesome views, and an incredible amount of water all in a short distance.
Cascade falls is formed by water seeping through the lava rocks in Navajo Lake. The water seeps through and collects to form cascade falls, which can be a very large amount of water in the spring, or a good amount of water during the summer. With the dike built across Navajo Lake, if the east side of the lake is dry then the water coming out of the cliff will be minimal. The water coming out of the side of this cliff starts part of the Virgin River
After arriving at the parking lot for the hike, the trail head is marked by a large forest service sign on the right (west) side of the trail. The Virgin River Rim trail comes through this area as well, but it is set back from the edge about 100 yards - so if you are pulled up all the way then you are at the right spot.
The hike goes at a more or less level range all the way from the trailhead. After a slight incline through the aspens and fir trees, you will start to see glimpses of the great view below. The trail overlooks the Kolob Terrace and Zion National park below, in addition to offering views of Strawberry point to the west and lower Cedar Mountain to the west. Several hundred yards in, there is a diversion from the trail with benches and a fenced lookout point that offers a direct view of all of these amazing features. Even from this lookout point, if you glance to the west you can see and hear the waterfall from the water exiting the falls - if you are there when there is enough runoff, of course.
The trail will continue westward, with some minor ups and downs and some minor wooden water crossings that go over small runoff trickles. The trail is fairly exposed after this point, so don't underestimate the need to stay hydrated at this elevation.
Right before the trail makes its last climb to the overlook on the falls, there is a small grotto next to a trickle of water that you can stand under to cool off with.
After a few minutes rest in the shade, start working your way up the trail. The trail is formed with wood steps at this point, and works it's way towards a platform that brings you right up the where the falls come out of the side of the mountain. You can get a great view of the water right at the mouth, and as it starts tumbling down the mountain for thousands of feet at a 45 degree angle. If you like, you can work your way down the steep path right before the platform to see the falls from below. Be careful though, the path is steep, rocky, and slippery.
Once you have had your time at the falls, turn around and make your way back to the trailhead the way you came.
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- From Cedar City, UT, head east up Cedar Canyon on Hwy 14
- After 20.5 miles, turn right onto Navajo Lake Rd
- Take the next left after 0.3 miles
- Follow this road for about 1 mile until it tees with another dirt road just above a meadow
- Turn right and head south for 1.5 miles until you arrive at the parking lot
Zion-NationalPark.com - Always a great source for local information