Pine Creek Falls

Zion National Park / Washington County, Utah, USA

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 1.5
The Pine Creek Waterfall in Zion National Park

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Pine Creek Falls was a pleasant little waterfall downstream from its technical slot canyon near the giant alcove known as Great Arch (not really a natural arch as the name implied). What stood out to us about this waterfall was that we typically didn't expect to find quiet waterfalls like this in Zion National Park (a park not exactly known for waterfalls). But perhaps that was the very reason why this quiet little spot was the perfect escape to enjoy the relative quiet and cool off from the desert heat.

Julie and I visited this waterfall back in April 2003. Based on our sample size of one, we can't say much about the reliability of its flow. However, I wouldn't bet that it would flow year round given its somewhat small flow. That said, there might be a bit of a flash flood danger upon a visit here when the falls might flow reliably in the Summer or early Autumn months from the desert thunderstorms during the monsoon. Thus, our Spring visit might have been well-timed to allow us access to the falls while still flowing somewhat satisfactorily.

Anyways, I suspect that the reason why this waterfall wasn't very well known was because it wasn't all that easy nor obvious to reach (despite the 1.5 difficulty rating I gave it). First, it wasn't easy to find as there was no signpost indicating its presence (see directions below). Second, we had to exercise a little patience with the rough parts of a combination of scrambling and route-finding on the short but faint 1/4-mile path to this pleasant 30ft waterfall.

During the short scramble, I recalled we had to go around a pretty large stagnant pool that was wall-to-wall. Fortunately for us, we were able to do some rock scrambling to go around the pool and avoid a chilly swim, but this would illustrate the degree to which the weather and conditions could easily affect how easy or hard this excursion can get.

Finally, we were aware that there was another more strenuous way to reach the waterfall, but that would require technical gear as it would involve canyoneering through the Pine Creek slot canyon. While canyoneering is a pretty popular cult sport in the slot canyons of the desert southwest, this probably wouldn't be an option for those of us who haven't taken up the sport.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Here's a broad look at the Pine Creek Waterfall and its chilly pool at its baseHere's a broad look at the Pine Creek Waterfall and its chilly pool at its base
Looking towards some impressive sandstone cliff formations further up the road to the tunnel from the Pine Creek Waterfall scrambleLooking towards some impressive sandstone cliff formations further up the road to the tunnel from the Pine Creek Waterfall scramble
Chances are that if you're adventurous enough to explore Pine Creek and its waterfall, you're probably adventurous enough to do the 5-mile round-trip hike and climb to the summit of Angels Landing in the main part of Zion National Park to get this vertigo-inducing viewDeep within Zion Canyon, we were adventurous enough to do the 5-mile round-trip hike and climb to the summit of Angels Landing in the main part of Zion National Park to get this vertigo-inducing view
View of the Great Arch (the Great Alcove?) seen from the switchbacks on the Zion-Mt Carmel HighwayView of the Great Arch (the Great Alcove?) seen from the switchbacks on the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway. If you made it this far, you missed the switchback by the bridge you're supposed to park the car to do the Pine Creek Waterfall scramble

This is the Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel at the top of the switchbacksThis is the Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel at the top of the switchbacks. If you're intending to do Pine Creek Falls and you made it this far, you definitely went too far up.

Made it to the Pine Creek FallsMade it to the Pine Creek Falls

On our way out of Zion National Park's east entrance, we noticed this cool formation known as the Checkerboard MesaOn our way out of Zion National Park's east entrance, we noticed this cool formation known as the Checkerboard Mesa


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Pine Creek Falls was just east of Zion Canyon within the boundaries of Zion National Park. Coming from Los Angeles, we'd drive east to the I-15 then northeast all the way to St George (about 5.5 hours drive without traffic or under 2 hours past Las Vegas). Just north of St George, we'd then drive east on State Highway 9 and take it for about 40 miles (just under an hour) to the town of Springdale. Beyond Springdale along Hwy 9, we'd continue driving for about 2 miles past the Zion Visitor Center (roughly a half-mile east of the turnoff for Zion Canyon).

The short scramble begins from a large turnout on the State Highway 9 just before the first switchback (there's a bridge over pine creek just besides the turnout) as you head east from the Zion Canyon junction. By the way, this part of Hwy 9, ultimately makes its way up towards the Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel with views of the Great Arch.




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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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RELATED PAGES



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