Cascade Falls

Dixie National Forest / Cedar Mountain / Duck Village / near Cedar City / Kane County, Utah, USA

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 2
The full extent of Cascade Falls on Cedar Mountain seen amongst trees

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Cascade Falls was our excuse to break up the very long drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. While you don't need to make such a long drive to reach this waterfall, it was conveniently within an hour's drive east of Cedar City, and it was a pretty easy yet scenic hike amongst the red cliff scenery that could be experienced in the nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument. In a way, it was kind of like a mini-Bryce Canyon to us, except on this hike, we were able to hike amongst such cliffs with a waterfall attraction to boot! As for the waterfall itself, it was the result of an outflow of Navajo Lake through sink holes at the east end of the lake. The water then found its way through old lava tubes (hinting at the geologic history of Cedar Mountain) before emerging as the Cascade Falls amongst the layers of red cliff that Cedar Mountain was known for. The stream would eventually reach the North Fork of the Virgin River down by the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park (though this waterfall and trail was part of the Dixie National Forest and not part of the National Park itself).

By our wild guess, we suspect that the cascade was probably on the order of 200ft or so, but as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, we never really got a clean look at the entirety of the falls due to the trees getting in the way. The trail itself brought us to the very brink of the falls, where we could see the water shoot out of the red cliffs then cascade further below us as it made its way well downstream. The vertical drop of the falls as seen from the top of the falls was probably on the order of 5ft or so. The rest of the falls was pretty much cascades, but from what we could tell, we weren't able to safely get in front of the cascade without going off trail, which we don't recommend doing, especially since we were bringing a little kid.

At the trailhead (see directions below), we were already treated to nice views in the direction of the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace in the distance. Once we had our fill of the views from here, we then took an obvious trail headed in the northwesterly direction (to our right as we faced the cliffs) where the trail pretty much followed along a ledge the entire way. The trail initially followed a forested area until it reached an intermediate lookout point with a railing at about a quarter-mile from the trailhead. Beyond the lookout, the trees then became more sparse as the narrowing trail hugged ledges along a very scenic stretch of red cliffs. When the trail briefly re-entered a grove of trees, that was when we started to get our first partial looks at the Cascade Falls. The trail then resumed hugging red cliffs before descending briefly under an overhang with a bench, where the trail then climbed up some steps and traversed a fairly rocky section as it made its final approach to the top of the falls.

Overall, we hiked around 1.1-1.2 miles round trip, and it took us a little over an hour or so (including the time spent taking pictures). We also had to take our time a bit because of the high altitude of the trail (the trailhead was at about 8,900ft in elevation and the end of the trail was at about 8,800ft), especially if we had been sitting in the car at lower elevations for such a long time. At these high elevations, we were able to do this hike on Memorial Day Weekend in 2017, but I'd imagine snow can impact access depending on how much snow Cedar Mountain would get. This was why the National Forest literature on the Cascade Falls Trail recommended that this was a Summer only trail.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

The turnoffs for Cascade Falls was just a short distance further east of the south entrance to Cedar Breaks National Monument, which featured dramatic red cliffs like a mini-Bryce CanyonThe turnoffs for Cascade Falls was just a short distance further east of the south entrance to Cedar Breaks National Monument, which featured dramatic red cliffs like a mini-Bryce Canyon
While the Cascade Falls Trail featured views way out to the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park, that section of the park also featured the eccentric Subway hikeWhile the Cascade Falls Trail featured views way out to the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park, that section of the park also featured the eccentric Subway hike
Further to the east of Cedar Mountain was Bryce Canyon National Park, which featured many hoodoos of several different red, pink, and white colorsFurther to the east of Cedar Mountain was Bryce Canyon National Park, which featured many hoodoos of several different red, pink, and white colors
Prior to reaching Cedar City on the I-15, there was also a well-signed turnoff for the Kolob Finger Canyons Section of Zion National Park, which featured sandstone cliff formations like thisPrior to reaching Cedar City on the I-15, there was also a well-signed turnoff for the Kolob Finger Canyons Section of Zion National Park, which featured sandstone cliff formations like this
This was the end of the road at the trailhead for Cascade FallsThis was the end of the road at the trailhead for the falls

Looking back towards the bathroom facility along the unpaved Cascade Falls RoadLooking back towards the bathroom facility along the unpaved road to get here

This was the end of the road at the trailhead for Cascade FallsThis was the end of the road at the trailhead for the falls

This was the view towards the reservoirs by the Kolob Terrace as seen from the Cascade Falls TrailheadThis was the view towards the reservoirs by the Kolob Terrace as seen from the trailhead

Julie and Tahia starting the hike towards Cascade FallsJulie and Tahia starting the hike towards the falls

Initially, the Cascade Falls Trail meandered amongst trees while still offering a glimpse of the valley below in the direction of Kolob TerraceInitially, the trail meandered amongst trees while still offering a glimpse of the valley below in the direction of Kolob Terrace

At about a quarter-mile from the trailhead, there was this lookout peering towards the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace way in the distanceAt about a quarter-mile from the trailhead, there was this lookout peering towards the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace way in the distance

Looking along the red cliffs in the southeasterly direction from the lookoutLooking along the red cliffs in the southeasterly direction from the lookout

Beyond the lookout, the trail then descended into this scenic stretch of red cliffs where the trail narrowed as it clung to the slopes and dropoffsBeyond the lookout, the trail then descended into this scenic stretch of red cliffs where the trail narrowed as it clung to the slopes and dropoffs

Julie kept herself between Tahia and the dropoffs to ensure she wouldn't get too close to the edgeJulie kept herself between Tahia and the dropoffs to ensure she wouldn't get too close to the edge

When we did this hike, some parts of the trail were still a little muddy from the snowmeltWhen we did this hike, some parts of the trail were still a little muddy from the snowmelt

This was our first glimpse of Cascade Falls amongst the treesThis was our first glimpse of Cascade Falls amongst the trees

We never really got a clean look at Cascade Falls due to the trees in the wayWe never really got a clean look at Cascade Falls due to the trees in the way

The red cliff scenery continued to get even more scenic the closer to the falls we wentThe red cliff scenery continued to get even more scenic the closer to the falls we went

One of the parts of the Cascade Falls Trail where it hugged the nearly vertical cliffsOne of the parts of the trail where it hugged the nearly vertical cliffs

This little gully was where a temporary waterfall was flowing though it was hard to see in this photoThis little gully was where a temporary waterfall was flowing though it was hard to see in this photo

The trail went underneath one of the overhangs of red cliff on its way to the top of Cascade FallsThe trail went underneath one of the overhangs of red cliff on its way to the top of the falls

Julie and Tahia at the overlook at the top of Cascade FallsJulie and Tahia at the overlook at the top of the falls

Checking out where Cascade Falls emerged from the cliffsChecking out where the falls emerged from the cliffs

Direct look at the small vertical drop where Cascade Falls emerged from the red cliffsDirect look at the small vertical drop where the falls emerged from the red cliffs

Angled look at the small vertical drop where Cascade Falls emerged from the red cliffsAngled look at the small vertical drop where the falls emerged from the red cliffs

Looking downstream from the overlook of Cascade FallsLooking downstream from the overlook of the falls

Looking back at the trail that we took to get to the top of Cascade FallsLooking back at the trail that we took to get to the top of the falls

Tahia and Julie going back across the red cliffs on the return hikeTahia and Julie going back across the red cliffs on the return hike


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Detailed 360 degree sweep from the overlook revealing the falls, its downstream cascades, and the vista towards the Kolob Terrace in the distance


Long video showing the obstructed entirety of Cascade Falls before walking the scenic last section of the trail then ending up at the overlook where we get to experience the falls up close as well as the expansive vista downstream


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The nearest city to Cascade Falls was Cedar City so we'll describe the directions from there. Cedar City was right on the I-15 about 52 miles (about an hour drive) north of St George and 252 miles (about 3.5 hours drive) south of Salt Lake City.

The most straightforward route would be to leave the I-15 at the exit 59 towards 200 North (UT 56) in Cedar City. We'd then drive east on 200 North for about a mile before turning right onto Main Street (I-15 Business Loop). After roughly a quarter-mile south on Main Street, we'd then turn left onto East Center Street (UT 14). We'd then follow the UT14 for roughly 25 miles to the junction with Navajo Lake Road on the right. We could also drive another 2 miles further east on UT14 towards a four-way intersection, where the turnoff on the right had some signage for the Duck Creek Visitor Center. We'll first describe the Navajo Lake Road route.

Once on the unpaved Navajo Lake Road, we then drove for 0.3 miles before encountering an easy-to-miss spur for the Forest Road 053 on the left. We then followed the rougher Forest Road 053 for about 1.1 miles towards its junction with Cascade Falls Road (near the seasonal Cow Lake). We then turned right onto the much smoother Cascade Falls Road for the last 1.6 miles to its end, where there was ample room for parking. The drive between Cedar City and the trailhead took us a little under an hour.

As for the other route from the Duck Creek Visitor Center, we'd follow unpaved Forest Road 059 for about a quarter-mile then keeping right to follow Forest Road 370 (North Fork Road) for about the next 1.4 miles to its junction with the Cascade Falls Road on the left. Then, we'd follow the smoother Cascade Falls Road for the final 1.6 miles to its end.

For additional context, Cedar City was about 171 miles (2.5 hours drive) northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, 154 miles (under 3 hours drive) northwest of Page, Arizona, 287 miles (4 hours drive) west of Moab, Utah, and 439 miles (about 7 hours without traffic) northeast of Los Angeles, California.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.


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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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