If you think you’re going to do this hike without getting your feet wet, you are wrong.
The first part of the trail looks more like a dirt road than a trail, but after about 10 minutes you’ll hit the first cross of the river. So long as you’re following the river, you’re going in the right direction. There are a few different ways that you can go after you get to that point, just make sure you’re aware of private land around.
The fun part of this trail is how many times you cross the water. Definitely bring water shoes with you for this trail, or be prepared to get your feet wet. We had full intentions of bringing our water shoes, but forgot them back at the house. We tried for the first little while to avoid getting our feet wet, but that dream quickly ended, and I finished the hike with very wet shoes. Besides the fact that you’d have to do a little scrambling up the side of the hill, and hopping from rock to rock across the water, there’s no way to get to the end without crossing through. You might as well get it over with at the beginning.
The farther up the trail you go, the colder the water gets, so be prepared. I’m sure it also depends on what time of year you are there, but in mid-April, the water at the end was still pretty icy.
The entire hike is beautiful. Kanarraville is just one or two exits north of the Kolob Canyon section of Zion, and you can see a lot of similarities between this hike and Zion.
The hike is rewarding, but if you’re going to do this hike, you must go all the way to at least the first falls. You will reach the slot canyon not too far from the falls, and at this point, you have no choice but to walk through the river. If you’re walking at an average pace, it’s about a 5 minute walk through the river to the first waterfall. Or maybe it just felt like 5 minutes because the water was so freezing cold. Either way, be prepared for some numb feet before you reach the end. The sun coming through the slot canyon against the first waterfall is stunning.
Once you hit the first fall, there’s a small ladder to the side you can take up to continue going. We went up the first fall, but didn’t go around the second or third ones. I’m not sure exactly how far the trail goes, as the main attraction is that first fall. Once you’ve climbed the ladder, there’s a little bank where you can get your feet out of the water and warm them up enough to get the feeling back.
Finding the trailhead is pretty easy once you get off exit 42 on the I-15. You’ll go east, then head north and follow the signs for the trailhead. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the freeway. Parking is $10 a car, and it seems like they are pretty strict about not parking on the streets of the city, so don’t try and avoid the fee. We got there around 8am and it was definitely the right time to go. On our way back down, we ran into quite a few groups, and the parking lot was much more crowded. I bet during the summer months, it’s even busier.
From the trailhead to the first falls, it’s about 1 3/4 miles. For the most part, the trail isn’t very steep, but it can be rocky at parts, so make sure you are prepared. Don’t wear flip flops, and instead have a good steady pair of water shoes or shoes that can get wet.
This is a hike I would highly recommend to anyone who’s ok with a bit of a rocky road. It’s definitely not easy, but worth every step. Be careful with young kids or dogs, as the path through the water can be a little slippery, and some sections require you to climb over rocks, roots, and other obstacles.