Faux Falls

Kens Lake / Spanish Valley / Moab, Utah, USA

About Faux Falls


Hiking Distance: 1.25 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 60-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-04-20
Date last visited: 2017-04-20

Waterfall Latitude: 38.48094
Waterfall Longitude: -109.41166

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Faux Falls was another one of the waterfalling surprises during our return trip to Moab, Utah.

Like the name suggests the waterfall was technically not real (“faux” is French for something that’s not genuine).

Faux_Falls_049_04202017 - Faux Falls backed by scenic cliffs
Faux Falls backed by scenic cliffs

This waterfall was created by a diversion tunnel siphoning some of Mill Creek that eventually fed Ken’s Lake.

By the way, Mill Creek was the same stream responsible for the presence of Mill Creek Falls.

With water being such a precious resource, the state of Utah was no stranger to diversions resulting in waterfalls.

After all, we’ve seen at least two instances of this at the “Fremont River Falls” and the “Mossy Cave Falls”.

Faux_Falls_059_04202017 - A kid enjoying the base of Faux Falls in high flow during my April 2017 visit
A kid enjoying the base of Faux Falls in high flow during my April 2017 visit

However, Faux Falls had the scenery to augment its scenic allure, and we generally thought of it as on par with other diverted waterfalls like Cascata delle Marmore in Terni, Italy and Oxararfoss in Iceland.

Yet, perhaps what this waterfall had going for it in addition to scenic allure was the chance to beat the desert heat of Southeastern Utah by being refreshed from the waterfall’s spray or dipping the feet in a calm part of the diverted stream.

There were even campsites between Ken’s Lake and the waterfall trail (or road) making this one of the better recreational spots of this region.

Hiking to Faux Falls – walking the 4wd road

I began my hike from a little parking area right before an access road became 4wd (see directions below).

Faux_Falls_017_04202017 - Walking the half-mile 4wd road to get closer to Faux Falls
Walking the half-mile 4wd road to get closer to Faux Falls

The 4wd road was a very rocky and sandy half-mile stretch that I didn’t have the confidence to take a high-clearance passenger vehicle through.

I felt that I had to walk the 4wd road because it was a very rocky and sandy half-mile stretch that I felt was walkable.

Perhaps you can argue that with a lot of real slow and careful driving, this half-mile stretch was doable, but for the few minutes saved, legging this out suited me just fine.

Faux Falls was already visible from the start of the 4wd road, but it pretty much went in and out of view until I got towards the end of the road.

Faux_Falls_037_04202017 - Following a very sandy stretch of the 4wd road as Faux Falls was consistently visible up ahead
Following a very sandy stretch of the 4wd road as Faux Falls was consistently visible up ahead

That was where the falls became more consistently visible once again.

At the end of the road, there was a little sandy cul-de-sac where a wooden fence marked the beginning of the official trail.

Hiking to Faux Falls – the actual trail

Even though the view of Faux Falls was already pretty impressive from the end of the 4wd road, I continued on the short trail.

It descended to a junction where I first went left to access the base of the waterfall.

Faux_Falls_041_04202017 - Context of Faux Falls at the end of the 4wd road and the start of the official trail to get to the waterfall's base
Context of Faux Falls at the end of the 4wd road and the start of the official trail to get to the waterfall’s base

I saw people on the other side of the rushing stream so it was possible to cross, but it would require getting wet during my April 2017 visit.

Still, that would be a worthwhile trade if you came prepared to get wet, especially if the goal was to cool off by the falls in the first place.

Anyways, back at the trail junction, the main trail then ascended alongside the cascading waterfall, eventually reaching the brink of the main section of cascades.

The trail actually continued to ascend maybe less than 0.2 miles beyond the waterfall.

Faux_Falls_052_04202017 - Getting closer to the bottom of Faux Falls. Note the people standing further above for a sense of scale
Getting closer to the bottom of Faux Falls. Note the people standing further above for a sense of scale

It eventually reached some kind of pullout and gate near the diversion tunnel that was responsible for the existence of Faux Falls.

I was actually at that pullout earlier when I drove up there accidentally after missing the correct turnoff for the trailhead.

So I guess that could be a possibility in terms of shortening the hike or if parking was unavailable at the official trailhead.

Overall, I had spent about 75 minutes away from the car.

Faux_Falls_004_04202017 - Looking downstream from the top of Faux Falls towards Ken's Lake and Spanish Valley in the distance
Looking downstream from the top of Faux Falls towards Ken’s Lake and Spanish Valley in the distance

By choosing to walk the half-mile 4wd road, that made the 1/4-mile hike to get close to the falls become more like 1.25 miles round trip.

Timing a visit to Faux Falls

It was hard to say how seasonal or how often Faux Falls would flow, but it was definitely gushing during our trip in April 2017, which was a high rainfall year.

I had to believe that the amount of snow we saw that was still on the neighboring La Sal Mountains had something to do with it.

Either way, when the falls would flow, it was said to be the biggest waterfall in the Moab area.

Faux_Falls_078_04202017 - Looking further upstream at the stream, which was sourced from a diversion of Mill Creek eventually tumbling towards Faux Falls
Looking further upstream at the stream, which was sourced from a diversion of Mill Creek eventually tumbling towards Faux Falls

While there were a couple dozen people coming in and out of the waterfall’s vicinity, it didn’t feel like there was a big crush of people here.

As a result, this place could very well still be like a local’s secret.

Authorities

Faux Falls resides in the town of Spanish Valley in San Juan County, Utah. It may be administered by the government of San Juan County. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Faux_Falls_001_04202017 - Looking towards the top of Faux Falls after accidentally arriving at this gate when I missed the turn for Ken's Lake Campground and the Faux Falls Trail
Faux_Falls_010_04202017 - While I was up near the top of Faux Falls, I got this look across the sloping cascade of Faux Falls backed by attractive slickrock cliffs
Faux_Falls_019_04202017 - When I finally recovered the Faux Falls Road, I then decided to walk the remaining half-mile to the actual trailhead. Here's a closer look at the kind of surface I would have had to be dealing with had I chosen to drive the 4wd Faux Falls Rd instead of walking it
Faux_Falls_022_04202017 - I kept right at this sign to continue to Faux Falls as the path on the left appeared to access the creek as well as some trails linking with the Ken's Lake campsites
Faux_Falls_088_04202017 - Looking back at some jeep making the rough drive to get closer to Faux Falls as I was walking the Faux Falls Road
Faux_Falls_023_04202017 - Much of the 4wd Faux Falls Rd was sandy, which was another things that I wasn't sure a 2wd vehicle could confidently handle
Faux_Falls_029_04202017 - Looking ahead at Faux Falls starting to become more prevalent the further along the Faux Falls Road I went
Faux_Falls_031_04202017 - Approaching the Faux Falls while walking the sandy Faux Falls Rd
Faux_Falls_034_04202017 - Partial view of Faux Falls as I continued the walk along Faux Falls Road
Faux_Falls_039_04202017 - Continuing the sandy walk towards the end of the Faux Falls Road as the waterfall appeared to be getting closer
Faux_Falls_051_04202017 - Closer look at the Faux Falls in context with the impressive pinnacles behind it when I finally started to walk the final stretch of the official trail
Faux_Falls_062_04202017 - Looking upstream at the base of the main drop of Faux Falls
Faux_Falls_066_04202017 - Some colorful wildflowers in bloom near Faux Falls in late April 2017
Faux_Falls_070_04202017 - While ascending alongside Faux Falls, I got these interesting partial glimpses of the waterfall backed by some of the sandstone pinnacles in the background
Faux_Falls_072_04202017 - Looking in the distance towards some people trying to walk towards the source of Faux Falls near the base of the cliffs
Faux_Falls_077_04202017 - Looking downstream across the brink of the main drops of Faux Falls towards Ken's Lake in the distance with a sudden pop-up thunderstorm blowing into the area
Faux_Falls_080_04202017 - Looking in the distance towards Ken's Lake from the brink of Faux Falls
Faux_Falls_082_04202017 - After having my fill of the top of Faux Falls, I then returned back along the main trail to the end of the Faux Falls Road, where I then had to walk back on this road to regain the car
Faux_Falls_084_04202017 - This couple was headed back on the 4wd Faux Falls Rd towards their truck, which saved them a bit of walking time
Faux_Falls_087_04202017 - The high clearance truck making its way out of the 4wd Faux Falls Rd

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


I drove to Faux Falls from Moab.

Starting from Main Street (US191) in the main part of town, I continued driving south along the US191 for about 7 miles south of town.

I then turned left onto Old Airport Rd (there was also signage pointing the way to Ken’s Lake).

Faux_Falls_093_04202017 - Looking towards one of the picnic areas and campsites near Ken's Lake
Looking towards one of the picnic areas and campsites near Ken’s Lake

Next, I drove for about 0.6 miles on Old Airport Rd to a T-intersection, where I then turned right to go onto Spanish Valley Drive / La Sal Loop Rd.

I would continue driving along Spanish Valley Drive for about 0.6 miles before keeping left at a fork, which now put me onto Geyser Pass Rd / La Sal Loop Rd.

Then, I took this road for the next 0.9 miles before turning left at a four-way junction to go onto Flat Pass Rd (County Road 125).

Afterwards, I drove along this unpaved road for the next mile before turning left towards Campsites 13-16.

Faux_Falls_014_04202017 - This was the parking area where I left the 2wd vehicle and chose to walk the last half-mile to the actual trailhead for Faux Falls
This was the parking area where I left the 2wd vehicle and chose to walk the last half-mile to the actual trailhead for Faux Falls

Almost immediately after going on this turnoff to the Ken’s Lake campsites 13-16, there was the trailhead parking on the right next to some signage.

I wasn’t confident in my vehicle’s ability to withstand the rough conditions of the last half-mile (Faux Falls Road) so I walked the remaining half-mile to the end.

Overall, it took me 15-20 minutes to make this drive between Moab and the 2wd trailhead parking by Ken’s Lake campsites 13-16.

Note that if you happen to miss the turnoff for campsites 13-16, then the Flat Pass Rd would continue climbing up to a different pullout with a gate well above the top of Faux Falls.

Faux_Falls_081_04202017 - Looking back down the unpaved road (that I accidentally took when I pissed the main turnoff for the Ken's Lake Campground) from a spur trail leading to the top of Faux Falls
Looking back down the unpaved road (that I accidentally took when I pissed the main turnoff for the Ken’s Lake Campground) from a spur trail leading to the top of Faux Falls

I saw at least one lady park here and scramble her way down a trail-of-use to the waterfall itself.

It was quite possibly less than a quarter-mile round trip from there.

For geographical context, the town of Moab was about 113 miles (under 2 hours drive) west of Grand Junction, Colorado, 54 miles (under an hour drive) north of Monticello, 234 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) southeast of Salt Lake City, 339 miles (under 5 hours drive) northeast of St George, and 725 miles (over 10 hours drive) northeast of Los Angeles.

Full sweep showing Faux Falls and its surroundings from the end of the 4wd road


Video showing the base of the main drop of Faux Falls from a couple of different spots


Video showing near the top of the falls from a couple of different spots


360 degree sweep from an unpaved road near the top of Faux Falls providing views over the falls as well as Kens Lake well downstream. This view overshot the turnoff for trailhead parking

Related Top 10 Lists

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations



join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


Tagged with: spanish valley, moab, kens lake, san juan county, utah, waterfall



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls
Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.