About Little Adams Falls (Adams Canyon Lower Falls)
Little Adams Falls (also called the Adams Canyon Lower Falls) was an inviting 20ft waterfall that seemed to be way overlooked.
This was especially the case when you consider how popular the larger Adams Falls was.
I suspect the reason for its obscurity was that it didn’t have a sign for it.
Indeed, it felt like it was pretty much found by locals in the know or people willing to do a little exploring of the unmarked side trails in Adams Canyon.
As you can see in the photo above, the Little Adams Falls may be diminutive, but it was attractive in its own right.
In fact, on my second visit to Adams Falls, it was on a nearly triple-digit Summer afternoon so the heat was brutal.
However, feeling the North Fork Holmes Creek at this waterfall without even having to go the full distance to the larger Adams Falls was the big payoff under such conditions.
Now while this place seemed to be overlooked, it wasn’t totally unknown as I shared this place with at least two families that also seemed well aware of this spot.
If I was just content to visit this small waterfall and head back to the trailhead, then this hike would only be about a mile round trip with 240ft elevation gain.
That said, if you’re already here, you mind as well do the full and rewarding hike to Adams Falls using the Little Adams Falls as a stopover before continuing on.
I only decided to make this smaller waterfall its own entry on this website because it could be a reasonable short destination for those not wanting to do the more ambitious hike to the larger upper waterfall.
Little Adams Falls Trail Description
Like with the main Adams Canyon Falls hike, I had to start from the same trailhead and go up the same 10 sandy switchbacks.
However, at nearly a half-mile from the trailhead shortly uphill from the 10th switchback, I reached a rest bench, where there were a pair of unmarked trails deviating to the right.
This was the departure point from the Adams Canyon Trail as I could take either of the two spur trails by the bench on the right (they eventually converged), and followed it towards North Fork Holmes Creek.
These trails eventually curved to the left and followed a small canyon upstream almost the next half-mile before I spotted a steep but well-used path that scrambled down to a secluded cove containing the Little Adams Falls.
At the time I showed up, which was around 4:30pm in mid-August 2020, there was a faint rainbow starting to show up in the waterfall’s mist.
After having my fill of the Little Adams Falls, I had a choice of going back the way I came or continuing up some scrambling trails to try to rejoin the Adams Canyon Trail well upstream.
I learned the hard way that it wasn’t easy to find the continuation trail so I wound up doing the sure thing by backtracking to the bench, and then resuming the Adams Canyon Trail from there.
Little Adams Falls (or the Adams Canyon Lower Falls) resides near the city of Layton in Davis County, Utah. It is administered by the Davis County government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Little Adams Falls or the Adams Canyon Lower Falls shares the same trailhead as that of Adams Falls.
So to drive from downtown Salt Lake City, I drove north on the I-15 for about 16 miles before leaving the interstate to go onto Hwy 89.
Then, I drove about another 6 miles along Hwy 89 before turning right onto a short access road leading to Eastside Drive.
Note that there were stop signs on this road though Hwy 89 kept moving at high speed as it didn’t have one here.
This was the first right turn after the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy 89 and Oak Hills Drive.
There was also a water tank on the northwest corner of this intersection, which could be another telltale landmark when looking for the Adams Canyon Falls Trailhead.
Once I made another right onto Eastside Drive, I then drove the remaining 0.4 miles to the Adams Falls Trailhead on the left.
While the unpaved parking lot was fairly spacious, when I showed up at 7:45am, there were already dozens of cars here.
When I returned to the trailhead shortly after 11pm on a Saturday, Eastside Drive was full of cars parallel parking both north and south of the formal trailhead parking.
This attested to how popular this hike was.
In any case, this drive from downtown Salt Lake City took me about 30 minutes.
To give you some overall context, Salt Lake City was about 302 miles (over 4 hours drive) north of St George, 234 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) northwest of Moab, 215 miles (3 hours drive) south of Idaho Falls, Idaho, 421 miles (over 5.5 hours drive) north of Las Vegas, Nevada, and 688 miles (over 9.5 hours drive) north of Los Angeles, California.
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