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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Horsetail Falls Hike Utah

Horsetail Falls.  Alpine, Utah 

Stop #3 of the Katie Utah Waterfall Tour
(yeah, that's a thing). 
After a trip to Adams Canyon Trail- Adams Waterfall and 
Donut Falls,I was ready to hike to another Utah Waterfall.  


Trailhead: From SLC, 15-S to exit 284 (Timpanogos Cave Exit). Drive about 5 miles then turn left onto N Alpine Highway 5300 W . When you reach the roundabout, take the second exit (the option straight through). Turn right onto E 200 N, then left onto N 200 E, which will turn into Grove Drive. If you plug in "Grove Drive" in your GPS. That is where you want to be. The trail head is at the end of Grove Drive. You will see a large dirt parking lot, and the trail head is to the right/front of the lot. 

Distance:  4 miles round trip, 1,621' of elevation gain.

Dogs?: Yes, allowed off leash.

Level:  Moderate.  While the hike is short (2 miles each way) it climbs up rather quickly, 1,621 feet in 2 miles.  

Notes:  The heat made this hike quite tough.  There wasn't as much shade as we had hoped, and accessible water for the dogs was about over a mile in.  I would suggest doing this hike in the spring or fall, or if hiking in the summer, in the early morning or late afternoon hours.  If you chose to do it during the hotter hours, bring plenty of water for you AND your dogs.  

There were a bunch of cars in the parking area, yet we only really saw two groups on this hike.  See that little horse trailer?  Two horses went back in there.  Two guys were out on a long trail ride with their horses and I was quite stunned to watch TWO horses fit in that itty bitty trailer. 

You will see an old post (with nothing on it) that signals the start of the trail. Follow the dirt trail up and soon you will come to a pretty meadow.  

There isn't much in terms of shade at 3 pm, so we stopped in the little patches we found to give the dogs some water and cool down.  The nice dirt trail gets pretty rocky pretty quick. 

Finally you will come up to your first stream.  You wont hit water untiil the tail end of the hike so bring plenty of water.  This stream was easy to cross, and there is a log in place for spring/high water crossing.  

Shortly after, you will get your first view of Horsetail Falls. Keep climbing up the rocky trail.  There are a few split offs, but most of them get to the same place, or are blocked off with logs.  When in doubt stay left. 

Make sure you take a look down the canyon to see the gorgeous views down below!

Soon, you will see this sign.  Stay left to head to the waterfall.  To head to the top of the fall, keep heading up.  To head to the base of the falls, look for a trail that dips down about 15' past this sign to the left.  

It is a quick steep drop off with slippery rocks so be careful getting down here. Once you get down this drop, you will be doing a little bit of bush-wacking, following some really narrow trails that will lead you to the base of the falls.  

Finally, you will get to the gorgeous horsetail falls.  The base of the falls was nice and cool, with a light spray from the falls and cool breeze.  I played around with my shutter speed to slow down the motion of the falls and you can see the difference in the two pictures (post coming soon!).

This picture of me by the fall shows you the size of this gorgeous waterfall.  It was running quite fast and strong so I don't recommend getting too adventurous in here.  

Just beyond the major fall, there is a very fast quick and steep drop off where the fall continues down the canyon.  Don't get too close! 

Ollie got stuck on his adventurous log crossing endeavor.  We stopped here for a bit to soak our feet and relax by the fall.  

Olive seemed a little nervous by the noise and fast moving water and preferred to watch the fall from a safe distance ;) 

After lots of pictures and spending some time cooling off and enjoying snacks, we started to head back.  Horsetail Falls was really a gorgeous unique waterfall and worth the hike!    

On your way out, keep an eye out for these guys grazing on the right of the road by the trail head :) 


  1. I LOVE the idea of a waterfall tour! This one's gorgeous -- as are the rest of the views!!

    1. I know! I have been slacking- need to see more waterfalls- there are SO many here! So different than east coast hiking!

  2. So pretty! And fun for the whole family ;)

  3. it's crazy how much i miss this utah scenery!!!

    1. aww- You have a beautiful state! It is so different than what I am used to. Beautiful and different :)

  4. Lots of people the day you went! I love this trail. Did you see the plaque of where the little boy died down by the base of the falls? Alicia @

    1. I did not! How sad! It was actually pretty empty the day I went, just me, Thatcher, Amanda, her fiance and one other group we saw at the falls. LOVE your pictures of the falls in the winter, how cool!


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