About Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls was a long cascade surrounded by the red cliff scenery that was prevalent in Cedar Mountain (which also harbored the mini Bryce Canyon-like cliffs of Cedar Breaks National Monument).
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 the mountain was known for.
By our wild guess, we suspect that the cascade was probably on the order of 200ft in overall height or so.
However, as you can see from the photo above, we never really got a clean look at the entirety of the falls due to the trees getting in the way.
Nevertheless, it’s not often that you get a combination of such red cliff scenery with a natural waterfall, and that was the biggest reason why we made the detour to explore it.
About the hike to Cascade Falls
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.
The hike to the very brink of the falls was around 1.1-1.2 miles round trip, and it took us a little over an hour or so to do.
This included the time spent taking pictures.
We also had to take our time with this hike because of the thin air from the high altitude of the trail at about 8,900ft in elevation.
Our hike took place on Memorial Day Weekend in 2017, but I’d imagine that snow can impact access to this waterfall given the high altitude and how much snow Cedar Mountain would get.
This was why the Dixie National Forest literature recommended that the Cascade Falls hike was a Summer only hike.
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.
However, the rest of the falls was pretty much cascades, which we weren’t safely able to get in front of without going off trail.
Cascade Falls Trail Description
At the trailhead (see directions below), we were already treated to nice views in the direction of the cliffs of the Kolob Terrace (part of Zion National Park) 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).
Initially, the trail 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.
This was 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.
From the lookout at the top of the falls, we could see where the stream from Cascade Falls would eventually reach the North Fork of the Virgin River down by the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park.
Cascade Falls resides in the Dixie National Forest near Cedar City in Kane County, Utah. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The nearest city to Cascade Falls was Cedar City so we’ll describe the directions from there.
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.
First, we’ll describe the Navajo Lake Road route.
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).
Then, we 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.
The Duck Creek Visitor Center Route
As for the other route from the Duck Creek Visitor Center, we’d follow unpaved Forest Road 059 for about a quarter-mile.
Then, we’d keep 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.
Next, 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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