About Faux Falls
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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