Dog-Friendly, Waterfall, and Free
Let me say this is the Trifecta of Hiking.
At least, when you are on a budget and bring your dog everywhere.
And we all love a gorgeous waterfall at the end of a hike.
After mountain biking, we wanted a short trail where Olive could spend some time in the water before heading back to the campsite. And lets be honest, there is just something about hiking along water that sings to my soul. And when it ends at a waterfall? Bonus. Not only is this a great hike year round, but this hike is perfect for the hot summer months of Moab. There is water a majority of the way for your dog (no hauling drinking water for fido), and you have to cross the stream in several spots, forcing you to cool off in the stream.
With that being said, while the weather was gorgeous at the end of February (68 and sunny)for this hike, the water was absolutely freezing. We had to cross the stream twice, and each time your feet went numb in that freezing snowmelt run-off. I mean, painfully numb.
While the water was cold in February, the trail was also relatively quiet, with just a few groups of hikers along the trail. Unfortunately, the trail seems to be very busy in the summer, and can be mobbed by the disrespectful masses. As always, practice good trail etiquette, and leave no trace behind.
If you plug in "Powerhouse Lane, Moab" in your GPS, you can easily find this trail. Follow your GPS to Powerhouse Lane and the trailhead is at the end. Or if you are the old fashioned type, leaving downtown Moab, head south on 191. Turn left onto Sage Avenue and right onto Holyoak Lane. Two blocks down the road on your left you will see Mill Creek Drive. Drive a half a mile and turn right onto Powerhouse Lane. Follow Powerhouse lane to the end to reach the trailhead. There are bathrooms are the trailhead, but they were locked in February. Once you are at the trailhead, follow the main wide trail heading straight past the gate.
The trail is relatively flat, and is roughly 2 miles round trip. You will have to cross the stream in at least two sections, so wear water shoes or be prepared to take off your shoes to cross. This trail is dog and family friendly. There was also a sign warning about poison ivy, although I did not see any in February.
After following the path for a few minutes, you will come across this painted mural. I really thought the quote by western pioneer Aldo Leopold was fantastic and sadly true. Soon after you will pass a man-made waterfall where an old mill once was. Apparently people stopped to wade and swim here, but we followed the trail 1 mile to the natural waterfall.
Once you reach the waterfall, there is a deeper pool beyond the rocks where people swim. I also read that people jump off the waterfall, but I am not sure the depth of the water and I would not recommend it. The water was really cold in February so we did not go in. However, a few drunk adolescents that seemed to be playing hooky decided to go for a dip. With enough liquid courage, no water is too cold I suppose. This spot is packed on the summer weekends, but I can see why. It is a great spot to cool off with your pup in some cool water on a hot summer day. Please Please Please hike your trash back out.
Return back the way you came, and take in the gorgeous views of the canyon, the creek, and the dam along the way.