A Hike to Calf Creek Falls (on the day before the government shutdown)
Anne and I have just returned from what is turning out to be our annual Utah vacation. It’s the 3rd year in a row for us to fly from DFW to Grand Junction, rent a car, and head out across the Colorado Plateau. So far, it’s not even close to getting old – there’s so much to see and do, even when the government shuts down and the national parks close their virtual doors. (Stupid government!)
Lots of adventure photos to post, but I’ll start with one of the highlights of our trip: the hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, which originates at the Calf Creek Recreation Area (under BLM administration) off Hwy. 12, south of Boulder, Utah.
The drive from Torrey south along Hwy. 12 is itself a thing of beauty and wonder, particularly in the Fall, as the high country aspens spread their cloak of yellow gold across the mountainous terrain.
Arriving at the campgrounds, we located the trailhead and packed enough water and food for the six mile round-trip hike along a riparian strip centered on the perennial flow of Calf Creek.
The often-shaded trail is framed by sandstone domes and cliffs reminiscent of Capitol Reef or Zion. In other words: magnificent!
Wildflowers bloom along the sandy pathway, and the careful observer will spot ancient pictographs upon the far canyon walls (at trail marker 8, if you forgot to pick up the printed trail guide).
The payoff comes, fittingly, at trail’s end, where a 126 ft. waterfall plunges into a green pool below the overhanging sandstone cliff face.
Arrive before noon and you’ll be assured of enough sunlight on the falls for photographic opportunities. Shadow began to creep across the falls at around 1:30 p.m. while we were there (on Sept. 30), but by then we’d had time to enjoy a leisurely repast (including Subway sandwiches we’d purchased in Torrey) and taken plenty of photos.
There is no particularly difficult terrain to contend with on this hike, but distance itself provides considerable challenge for all but the most physically fit: slogging through the frequently unconsolidated sand saps one’s energy in effective fashion.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have visited this wonderfully inspiring locale, and recommend it to anyone seeking a less-frequented destination outside of the more heavily-trampled trails in the nearby national parks.
Once Congress gets their act together, that is.
If you’re still here, I can only assume you’d like to see more photos of the waterfall. So here you go: